The Art n Feminism workshop in Kenya is a 2-day event that seeks to host a panel discussion and an audience comprising of feminists in the creative space for a conversation on the role of art in championing feminism and advcaning gender equity.
Day one will focus on the panel discussion while day 2 will be reserved for an introduction into Wikipedia editing.
The Workshop will create collaboration between Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya and other potential partners in the Coastal region of Kenya as we seek to introduce more editors to Wikipedia in the region.
The Wikimedia UserGroup in Kenya has been keen on championing diversity and growing swahili wikipedia, hence from 2022, our projects have spread to the coastal region of Kenya, which is home to native, indegenous swahili communities.
Goals & Objectives
- Mapp Out content gaps in the area of Gender, Arts & Feminism -eg topics, biographies etc.
- Raise awareness on Wikipedia Projects the UG is involved in and how participants can participate
- Engage and reach out to potential partners. We are already in communication with a hub in the region (Swahili Pot) which has shown interest in collaborating with the UG.
- Increase contributions by Wikipedia editors in Kenya on Swahili Wikipedia
1. Recruit 20 new Wikipedia Editors
2. Increase knowledge on matters Feminism, Gender and the Arts.
3. Increase contributions on Swahili Wikipedia;
- New pages created -
- Pages improved-
- Images uploaded on Commons-
The workshop will be held for two days; Day one we shall have a moderated panel discussion with speakers in the field of Feminism, Gender and the arts. On day two, we shall introduce participants to Wikipedia on day two and identify content that need to be improved focusing on topics related Feminism, Gender and the Arts.
Break Out Session: The workshop will also incorporate a break out session that will give representatives of the participants room to highlight their work at the grassroot levels and present their recommendations.
We have identified the following potential partners to provide speakers for the panel discussion.
- Swahili Port Hub
- Jamii Consultancy
- The Amplifier Youth Organization
- Coast General Hospital Youth Centre
- Federation of Women Lawyers- Kenya (FIDA)-Coast Region
- Safe Community Youth Initiative Kenya
- Kesho Kenya
- Found Her Narrative
Social Media Channels
NOTES - Art & Feminism in Kenya Workshop
Introduction The Art + Feminism Workshop in Kenya brought together nine organisations at the Coastal region of Kenya to key among other things; -Mapp Out content gaps in the area of Gender, Arts & Feminism -eg topics, biographies etc. -Increase knowledge on matters Feminism, Gender and the Arts. -Raise awareness on Wikipedia Projects the UG is involved in and how participants can participate
PANEL DISCUSSION Particpants were randomly asked what they understood by Art & Feminism:
“It is getting a fair and not equal opportunity as the other gender. Getting a representation of women/ people who identify themselves as women out there and giving them fair opportunity to express themselves in various spaces.’’ “When there is a job opening and Daniel is to bring his credentials so Doris should also have same opportunity without having to meet the boss outside.”
“Feminism is a good thing because it involves advocacy on equal access to spaces of leadership and social paces too, making the system have resouirces that are equally shared without having one gender dominating over the other. Everyone of us should be a feminist to make this world a better place” Panelists thoughts about Art & Feminism & Why they felt the need for the conversation
Rachel, Advocate-FIDA “The reason it is important for me to have this conversation is to feel and have that power to occupy those that we have been limited by the society to occupy.” Winnie Kabintie, Senior Regional Communication Specialist- Wikimedia Foundation for Africa “This topic is so timely because when we talk about gender gaps on Wikipedia or even in the digital space,it is important for us to know how we as gender advocates can leverage on Wikipedia as a resource to champion information literacy and knowledge equity. How do we contribute to shrinking these gender gaps; by writing more biographies on women since only 30% of biographies on Wikipedia are of women”
Jackson Nyawa, Founder and CEO- Jamii Consultancy “At this time, women have realized they have opportunities in several spaces, but the challenge is other people don’t believe that women should be where they should be. We should task ourselves with talking to those who believe women can’t do better. Currently the Kneyan government went and extra step and introduced a position, Woman Representative, in the County Assembly and also a 30% gender representation which is also protected by the Kenyan Constitution. At Jamii Consultancy, we do focus on education from early childhood and also mentor the girl child together with the boy child”
Geoffrey Komu, Executive Director- The Amplifier Youth Organization “As an organization we have been on the forefront in championing and pushing for gender equality and we have gender champions who have been very vocal in matters gender equality. This topic is timely because we still have beliefs and cultural practices that oppress one gender and lifts the other. We shouldn’t also ignore the misconception of FEMINISM which has made many think of it negatively. For those who are championing for gender equity shouldn’t be too aggressive and end up creating a notion of battle of the genders.”
Dr. Dorcas Chebet , Pwani University "It is actually wrong for an African Woman to refer to herself as a FEMINIST because feminism is a foreign concept. Its context is White supremacists’ female movement. It was formed as a secular movement by white women because they were not allowed to vote, to be economically empowered, socially empowered and to go to school. They started to fight for their rights as a feminist’s movement. A second wave took on which was known as feminists theoligists which again took three directions. 1. Radical Feminist theologist 2. Reformist Feminist Theologists 3. Liberal Theologists Women have been stereotyped, socialized not just to be ashamed of their sexuality, but to be ashamed of their power to transform the world."
Anderson Foster, Program Coordinator Coast General Hospital Youth Centre We can have all gender equity, but without respect the whole concept will be a failure. Feminism is all about having respect towards women and their experiences.
What are the personal experiences and input from the participants?
“We have been having a challenge is making a female the chairperson of our residential committee. We are still pushing to make them agree to a female chairperson”.
“At the work place, people tend to see women differently as far as work performance and delivery is concerned. Women and men are wired differently but that shouldn’t be a reason to doubt women’s capabilities at work place.”
“The organization I worked for, struggled to find a replacement when I left bcause the only available qualified person for that position was a female and then never believed a lady could hold a veterinary position. One doesn’t need to bring feminism in the game to get that job, but get that job because you are qualified for it.”
“As a peer educator, there’s a lot to learn from the community circles. Some are elevated because they are more vocal then others. The other issue is the demeaning way men perceive women by sexualizing them and ‘cat calling” women when walking in the streets. We have empowered the girl child to speak up without being rude or disrespectful to the men.” Would we refer to a girl who has been empowered to speak up, has confidence and knows her rights as a feminist?
Dr. Chebet: - Pwani University
Feminist is not a bad word, it only becomes bad when used to make a woman feel bad about herself. It is not wrong to be referred to as a feminist because not many know the history of the word feminism. Feminism is a movement that empowers both women and men.
Winnie Kabintie: - Feminism is a process that justifies the end or the outcome. A feminist is that person who actually champions for equal opportunities.
Rachel Wahome:- (FIDA):-
You don’t have to go through a special kind of education or studies to become a feminist. Women can be feminists and strong without losing their feminine structure. If you empowera woman, shell break the society barriers. In some communities, women are not allowed to speak in a gathering where men are also in attendance. Another challenge faced is the number of songs, statements and imagery that are used, but in real sense they objectify women.
Questions' “How do we reach out to those communities that are ‘disconnected’ to the rest of the society due to poverty or ignorance? The communities that find child prostitution is normal as long as they are getting either food or money out of it.” “How do we help in making the authorities move with speed in gender-based cases especially if the victim comes from a poor background or the perpetrator is an influential person or in authority?” Winnie Kabintie: - -There are so many NGOs working in the grassroots, but it seems there is still lack of information or information not reaching the grassroots as desired, where is the gap? -Lack of knowledge causes the gap. Victims have less to no information when they are seeking help and some don’t have the money pay for medical services and also the police ask for bribes from victims who can’t even afford bus fare before writing reports -Illiteracy also contributes to the gap. Victims withdraw the matter from the courts due to shame and justice ends up not being served. Courts are taken to the grassroots and less accessible areas, but most of the time the victims or their families end up withdrawing the matter. They also believe that witnesses are also arrested. - It is also a problem of cultural barrier. When dealing with gender-based violence, women in some communities believe it is ok for their husbands to hit them. - Poverty is also a major contributor of the gap. How can you empower someone who hasn’t eaten, who doesn’t have a roof over their heads, who doesn’t have clothes?
Introduction to Wikimedia and closing
Winnie Kabintie Wikipedia, is a free online encyclopedia and it's a platform that is there to champion knowledge, which means that regardless of your education level, gender orientation and academic levels, you can access the platform, access information, in a language that you understand. As Wikimedians, we are trying to make sure that our local, even indigenous languages are included, because in some areas some people cannot speak or read Swahili or English, but understand their indigenous language. It is important to have as much information as possible in the language they understand. Whenever we do our campaigns, we always ensure that we are also empowering people to be creators of information by giving you the skills and the knowledge to even know that you can contribute that information. It's one of the platforms that we can really use to ensure that all generations are having access to information, but as much as everyone has the ability to contribute to the media there are guidelines like any information that goes into Wikipedia has to be verifiable. Which means it has been corroborated by multiple sources. Verifiable sources can be a publication by legal scholar or articles in media publications. We also have tools that even check for plagiarism. Not everybody also qualifies to have a biography on Wikipedia and we have a policy called Notability, which means this is a person who is notable i.e., they are well known. There's also fairness; Information has to be written from a neutral point of view. You can write about anything, any topic, any information that you feel deserves to be shared or written about.
Thank you so much. We come to the close of the workshop.
Opening Remarks by Carol the Facilitator
Members of the Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya with the panelist
Participants from Pwani University with the Panelist
Art + Feminism in Kenya Participants