Empowering women in Cameroon has been a major challenge in an environment where discriminatory practices still put them in the shadows.
However, Cameroon has been dealing with with women’s inequality as one of its major strides to implement the sustainable development goals for a better nation where both men and women are partners for a prosperous nation.
Like the government, several local groups, civil society organisations and strong-willed persons have been making enornous strides to empower women in Cameroon.
One of such organisations, the Veraya Impact, will be officially launched on Saturday June 30 in Cameroon’s economic capital Douala.
“Veraya Impact is an organization that brings women together, giving them the opportunities to practice and build their public speaking skills, that way; they express their ideas and passions to the world,” Sandra Sangbong, the brain behind the project says.
“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent,” the Veraya Impact summarizes its vision through this slogan.
Sandra, a lawyer at the Cameroon and Nigerian bar says young women in her environment often find it difficult to shake off the shackles and express their talents because they lack the art of public speaking-at times their voices are completely subdued.
“When you talk of empowering women, there is no way you can separate from Gender inequality , because it is all about making a woman’s voice heard, because women have always been in the background,” Sandra says.
“It is also about their rights and making the world know that women also have a lot to contribute, they make great leaders and have brilliant ideas.
Though there are labour laws in Cameroon to honor gender equality and provide equal access to employment and equal wages for equal work, women are either still being employed in informal sectors or find it difficult to gain employment due to their status.
The Veraya Impact comes as another arm to forster the fight for gender equality at all strata of the society through public speaking.
“When we talk of empowering women through public speaking, politics is a key part of it because it is something that needs a lot public speaking,” Sandra says.
She adds that human rights, agriculture…etc are all sectors which the Veraya Impact will be exploring to empower women in through public speaking.
Today, the organisation is launched for professionals and women cutrting across all sectors of the society and Sandra hopes to take the Veraya Impact to schools and universities across the country. According to statistics, the literacy rate for the 15-26 age group is 72 percent for males and 59 percent for females.
“Our goal is to bring out potentials in every woman, so we want to start with women professionals. We will also find time to visit universities reach out to female students, we will even start from Secondary schools. This is to change the mindset of women that is why it is necessary to start with the younger generation.