Chrisanta is our partner charity, One Girl's CEO. As a gender equality specialist with over 12 years’ experience leading complex participatory action research and evaluations across diverse global cultural contexts in Australia, Asia, Africa, the UK and the Pacific - she is a wealth of knowledge and enormous inspiration.
Her passion for Gender Justice and Women’s Rights needs to be shared, and what better day to do so than International Women's Day.
Tell us a little about yourself, and what path led you to becoming the new CEO of One Girl.
My path to becoming the new CEO at One Girl has involved many twists and turns drawing on my lived-experience as well as my professional and technical expertise.
My path begins with my grandmother and mother, whose strength, resilience and persistence ensured that their daughters were educated, as well as, challenging the status quo to break down the barriers they faced as women.
As a young African girl, I observed the gender inequalities that existed in the patriarchal society I grew up in. I was particularly bothered and questioned why girls did not have the same privileges and opportunities to an education as boys did. The gendered stereotypes, cultural attitudes and norms ensured that boys’ education was prioritised over girls.
Professionally, I have worked with a number of international NGOs around the world as a development practitioner as well as taught international development studies across a number of Universities in Australia.
At One Girl we want to break down the barriers that girls face in accessing an education. It is therefore an honour for me to be part of the One Girl tribe on this journey.
There are some incredible milestones for One Girl since launching, could you share some stand-out stats with us around educating girls on menstrual hygiene and tackling period taboo?
One Girl works with girls and young women to promote menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and tackle period taboos.
In 2020, One Girl distributed 22,290 pads to girls in the One Girl scholarship program. We also created safe online spaces for girls and young women to participate in menstrual hygiene management classes through our new program Girl Tok. By educating girls and their community – we have begun to see a shift from menstruation being seen as a shameful, embarrassing and an unspoken taboo. This is a gradual shift – long game – as we are talking about shifting attitudes, beliefs and cultural norms. As noted by one of our Girl Tok scholars, “I share my ideas and thoughts on menstruation with friends and family members and I have attained boldness which means we now discuss menstruation with my parents.”
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is particularly special to me this year because it is about ‘Choosing To Challenge’ myself as a woman in a leadership position.
IWD is about celebrating women, and continuing the good fight to break the barriers of gender stereotypes and inequality. It has been a long journey for women, but it has certainly been one of strength, resilience and hope.
Can you tell us a bit about your IWD event this year? How can people get involved?
To celebrate IWD, we are asking the One Girl community to join us in taking powerful and tangible action by making a donation to our IWD Appeal! Donations will go towards the Girls Emerge program.
Girls Emerge is a program that was developed to support young Ugandan women in challenging their access to rights, gendered career pathways and gender stereotypes. Beyond education, One Girl is supporting young women and girls to learn critical life and technical skills – so they’re fully equipped to find valuable and sustainable work within their communities.
The program supports these incredible women to develop valuable skills and secure sustainable, paid work – whilst completely shattering the status quo when it comes to women in the workforce! To join the movement and #ChooseToChallenge alongside One Girl this IWD, you can make a donation to support Girls Emerge here: https://www.onegirl.org.au/iwd2021
Support young women and girls to build successful, strong and independent futures for themselves. Donate to our Girls Emerge program in Uganda.