Advocacy: Changing Laws and Political Landscapes for Gender Equality
Thursday, May 30, 2019
10:30am–11:30am (Nova Scotia time)Webinar link:

Dr. Mamatha Achanta of India and Ms. Abiodun Essiet of Nigeria
Activists and Advocates of Equality and Justice

Advocacy is a process by which an individual or group aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy for systems change should aim to improve respect for and to protect women’s human rights. Indeed, it has proven to be an effective strategy to have women’s voices heard through series of actions resulting in changes in political landscapes and in new legislation to improve the lives of girls and women. While systems advocacy works to improve the system to the benefit of individuals, a long-term approach to problem-solving requires sustained effort—the kind of effort put in by these two activists in India and Nigeria.

In this webinar, Mamatha and Abiodun will present their experiences
in bringing about changes in legislation to stop early marriage in India and changing the political landscape in Nigeria to be more gender equal. They will present an advocacy agenda that can bring about more inclusion of women in governance and raise awareness on the need to strengthen women’s leadership.

Dr. Mamatha Achanta, is a women and children’s rights activist, pro-bono lawyer, and founder of Tharuni, a non-government organization working for the welfare of adolescent girls and women for more than 18 years. She co-founded Network of International Legal Activists (NILA) to help the nonresidential Indian women who are facing marital and labour problems in other countries. Mamatha has conceptualized Bharosa—an integrated support centre to access justice for child abuse and rape victims without getting re-victimised during the legal process.

Abiodun Omowunmi Essiet is the Executive Director of Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls, an organization committed to promoting safe spaces for girls and women in society. Abiodun is also the National Director on Women, Gender, and Development Affairs of African Youth for Development Commission, Nigeria and a resource consultant for the European Center for Electoral Support in Nigeria. As a young female politician and a member of the ruling party in Nigeria, Abiodun is a gender activist, a women leadership fellow of Coady International Institute, a community development expert, and an agent for social change.

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