#SayHerName: An Intersectional and International Perspective on #BlackLivesMatter

In 2015, Sandra Bland died of asphyxiation in police custody.  However, her death was ruled as suicide by police authorities. Most people did not believe this and took to the streets. This was how the #SayHerName movement started.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Alesia Thomas, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Darnisha Harris, Kathryn Johnston, Kendra James, Korryn, Malissa Williams, Miriam Carrey, Pamela Turner, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Shantel Davis, Shelley Frey, Shereese Francis, Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith and many more. These are all Black women murdered by police in America.  These are a few of many names that did not get the same media attention as the Black men murdered by police. I only recognize two of those names: Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.

The HBO film Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland covers the story of Sandra Bland and the protests after her death.

Breonna Taylor was killed during a “no-knock” raid and was shot eight times. Her house was identified as part of a drug investigation but no drugs were found in her house. Because there is no video footage of her death and Sandra Bland’s death, they haven’t received the same attention as the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.

A case unrelated to police brutality is Monika Diamond’s. Monika Diamond was a transgender woman and LGBTQ activist who was shot and killed while being treated in an ambulance. The man who initially attacked her eventually murdered her while she was being treated by the paramedic staff.

As we are all enraged at the violence displayed against Black men in America, let us not forget Black women and Black transgender women. As Malcolm X said in 1962, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” This rings true today for Black women and Black transgender women all over the world.

Violence against women is the fundamental form of patriarchy. Its effects is especially seen in Black communities.

In America, domestic violence is the main cause of death for Black women between the ages of 15-34. Not only that, it took a long time for Black girls and women to be taken seriously in terms of the multiple allegations against R. Kelly. My own country, South Africa is the femicide capital of the world. What I have observed about gender based violence here is that mainly white women and middle-class women get the media attention, as seen with Reeva Steenkamp and Uyinene Mrewetyana.

The impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown

Since this lockdown, gender based violence has escalated.  In the UK, an NGO called Refuge reported a 700% increase in calls from domestic abuse victims. Black women in Brazil are the ones who suffer the most under gender based violence.  In South Africa, it is reported that gender based violence cases increased by 500% since the lockdown was implemented at the end of March. I cannot help but worry about the Black and Coloured women in rural areas and townships of this country that are unable to call authorities.

What about the LGBTQI+ community?

Since we are also celebrating Pride Month, let us not forget the violence against the LGBTQI+ community all over the world. South Africa is the only country in Africa where same-sex marriage is legal. Despite this, there is still violent homophobia especially against Black lesbian women. Gender reaffirming surgery is very expensive and unaffordable to most transgender people in South Africa.  They are also shamed and discouraged when they go to Home Affairs to change their names. In the rest of Africa, homosexuality is taboo and sometimes punishable by death.

Be intersectional with your activism

My belief is that if you are anti-sexist, you should be anti-racist and anti-homophobic as well. You cannot want equal rights for women and not demand equal rights for Black people and LGBTQI people. Intersectionality is the only response to widespread inequality and oppression. Peace and justice is the only response to violence.

You do not have to be an expert but stay educated. Protest injustice as much as you can. Speak up as much as you can. If you are a part of a dominant culture, stop trying to control the narrative on behalf of oppressed people.

And if this final sentence applies to you, please, stop using your privilege as a weapon against historically oppressed people.

Learn more about racism and intersectionality in our campaign Antiracist Voices here.

The New Generation of Female Rappers

For as long as I can remember, hip hop has been my favourite genre of music. However, it has often been criticised for objectifying women in lyrics and videos, and music, like many industries, has been historically male-dominated. Today, there’s a new generation of female rappers changing the narrative for women in hip hop, and hopefully in society more widely.

Through lyrics and visuals, women are claiming power in their relationships, expressing their sexuality and showing pride in being financially independent. Finally, women can find the genre less aspirational and more inspirational.

For years (in my lifetime at least), the female hip hop space was dominated by Nicki Minaj. She was the one who kept me interested in the genre, along with Drake, who in my opinion is the ultimate feminist male rapper. (Just listen to songs like Fancy, Make Me Proud and Nice for What.)

The New Generation

Then along came Cardi B. She started her career as a stripper and is now one of the biggest hip hop artists in the world. Her debut album, Invasion of Privacy is probably the most feminist hip hop album I have ever listened to. She was criticised for choosing to be a mother when her career was just taking flight. In an interview, she said that she did not want to deal with having an abortion. Her parenting is constantly criticised and mocked online. When is society going to stop shaming mothers with careers?

The artist who has had the most impact this year is Lizzo – she’s had everyone singing that they’re “100% that b*tch,” – even Hillary Clinton. Her album Cuz I Love You is filled with self-love and power anthems such as Truth Hurts, Juice, Good as Hell and Tempo. Also, the girl can twerk AND play the flute simultaneously.

Real Hot Girl S***

Megan the Stallion inspired everyone to have a Hot Girl Summer. While being a skilled rapper, she is also studying towards a degree in health administration. Her lyrics are very sexual at times, but I think they’re empowering. If you’re a hip hop head like I am, you’ll know that she is an extension of Lil’ Kim or Trina. Girls should be able to talk about and embrace their sexuality in their own terms, and Megan encourages that through her music.

Honourable Mentions

The most exciting thing about this new generation of female rappers is that there are so many options now. Thank the internet. For more conscious-based rap, listen to Rapsody, who recently released an album dedicated to iconic African American women. There is also Young M.A, an openly lesbian woman, who could out-rap any of her male counterparts. What stands out the most about Rapsody and Young M.A is that they’re not hypersexualised in the way that Nicki Minaj and Cardi B arguably are. The genre has diversified so much that it has given them space to be their authentic selves. To me, that is what hip hop is about.

Two artists I also find fascinating are Doja Cat and Rico Nasty. Not only are they lyrically genius but their fashion and videos are visionary. They made a song together about boobs that gets me hyped every time. And it also has a body-positive message.

“Stripper Rappers”

Jermaine Dupri has referred to this new generation of female rappers as “stripper rappers,” simply because some of them rap about sex and money. How hypocritical.

Feminist or not?

None of these artists claim to be feminist role models, or even to be feminist, but these female rappers are changing the narrative in a massive way. Hip hop is the biggest genre in the world right now, so it’s only right that more women are part of the movement. Whether it’s music, fashion or corporate, women need to be in these spaces as equals.

Celebrating South Africa’s Women’s Day

Each year on 9 August, South Africa celebrates Women’s Day. We honour more than 20,000 women who marched in protest of the pass laws.

During Apartheid, black people were required to carry passes designed to restrict their movements. If they were found to not have their passes, police would arrest and sentence them to prison. On 9 August 1956, thousands of women from different racial and cultural backgrounds marched to the Union Buildings to deliver petitions to the Prime Minister.

What makes this day so important in South Africa’s history?

It was diverse in essence. There were women of all races and backgrounds; black women, Indian women, domestic workers with their white employers’ babies on their backs. It also went against what was expected of women at that time. They refused to be quiet and sit back while the brutal Apartheid system tore their families apart.

One of the most iconic phrases sung at the march was: “you strike a woman, you strike a rock.”

Lead by extraordinary women such as Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph and Sophia de Bruyn, women fought for a non-racist and non-sexist South Africa.

What has actually changed since then?

Sophia de Bruyn, one of the few living marchers of that day, wrote on Twitter that she is disappointed in the little progress made since then. In South Africa, rates of violence against women are so high that it is normalised in society.

Some people blame women for provoking a man. Women who are abused by their partners are unable to leave. Some people even think that violence in a marriage is normal. Personally, I feel that as a country we tolerate and normalize many things we shouldn’t. Even though we have one of the most inclusive constitutions, government and civil organizations can only do so much.

Celebrating inspiring South African women

It is important that we celebrate inspiring South African women and remain positive that we can end inequality, discrimination and violence.

To many South Africans, Caster Semenya is probably the most iconic athlete of our time. But the rest of the world demonize and mock her for…well, not being woman enough. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has subjected her to gender testing for years. If you read her posts on social media, you’ll know that she tries her best to rise above the negativity.

Lady Skollie is a self-proclaimed ‘pussy power prophet’. She is a feminist artist who explores themes of sex, gender roles, violence and heritage in her work. Nothing in her work is taboo. In celebration of 25 years of democracy, she has recently designed new SA coins. 

Then there is our very own Queen B, Bonang Matheba. She is a media personality who knows what she wants and works hard for it. She has a bursary fund that pays for girls’ university tuition costs and aims to send 300 girls to university by 2021.

Happy Women’s Day South Africa!

The Girls’ Globe Reading List

The Girl’s Globe Reading List is an introduction to some of the most important and pressing issues affecting society today. These are the voices, perspectives, ideas and opinions of women and girls from all over the world. Read, learn and feel inspired to take action!

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

1. Campaigning for Care & Compassion in Ireland

“In the final weeks leading up to the referendum, the most important conversations were happening at the school gates or at kitchen tables over cups of tea.”

by Áine Kavanagh for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

2. The Victory of Imelda Cortez in El Salvador

“This is an amazing victory in a country widely considered to have the most extreme abortion ban in the world. But Imelda’s story is a reminder of the misogynistic justice systems we live in.”

by Lorena Monroy

3. Teenage Girls in Argentina Deserve Better

“Adolescent maternity rates are higher in communities living in poverty, where girls are also less likely to go to school or have access to healthcare and contraceptives.”

by Maria Rendo

4. Women in Rural Zimbabwe are Being Left Behind

“The fact that young women and adolescents in rural and remote communities are still struggling to access modern family planning methods – or even comprehensive sex education – is overlooked.”

by Yunah Bvumbwe

5. Breaking the Silence on Vulval Pain

“For years I thought painful was how sex was supposed to feel. Other women must experience this pain and just get on with it, right?”

by Sophie Bryson

Mental Health

1. These Tools are Helping me Handle Depression

“None of this is easy, I know. I am still trying and learning myself, but here are a few tools and tips I would like to share.”

by Chloé Sénéchal

2. My Not-So-Easy Mental Health Recovery Journey

“I don’t regret getting help for my mental health, but I do wish someone had told me how long and difficult the journey of treatment and recovery could be.”

by Gabrielle Rocha Rios

3. Tips for Supporting Someone Experiencing Depression

“Try not to make assumptions about your friends, some people are really positive and enthusiastic, but it doesn’t mean they are at peace within themselves. Some of us have become masters at hiding pain.”

by Chloé Sénéchal

4. Are You at Risk of Burnout Syndrome?

“Burnout syndrome is a form of chronic stress. It is an alarm clock to a more serious problem and needs to be addressed as early as possible.”

by Tariro Mantsebo

5. Postpartum Depression: the Danger of ‘Bad Mother’ Syndrome

“As I conversed with more mothers who had suffered from postpartum mood disorders, each one of their experiences cut deeper than the last. Every woman mentioned having to bottle up her emotions and recalled blaming her own self.”

by Chaarushi Ahuja


1. Nepalese Women are Dying in the Name of Tradition

“After hearing each news report on the death of a woman or girl in a menstrual shed, I ask myself: how many more women must die before social mindsets and attitudes change?”

by Pragya Lamsal

2. Why Sanitary Products Should be Free for Girls

“I believe that it’s imperative to provide free sanitary wear for disadvantaged girls in order to help secure a brighter future for all.”

by Yunah Bvumbwe

3. Menstrual Pain is a Public Health Matter

“I believe many other doctors, both male and female, have harboured similar thoughts. As a result, women to wait longer for medical attention and sometimes receive inadequate pain management.”

by Tariro Mantsebo

4. Menstrual Cups: Breaking the Bloody Taboo

“The menstrual cup has gained a lot of traction over the past year. By some it is seen as an eco-friendly hipster trend, but for women across the world it provides a cost-effective, safe way to manage periods.”

by Terri Harris

5. Taking Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Seriously

“But PMS can turn into a debilitating and even life-threatening disorder that is unfortunately not nearly as well-known as it should be – premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

by Gabrielle Rocha Rios

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are not medical advice. If you are interested in raising your voice with Girls’ Globe, you can apply to join us!

7 Women Breaking Stereotypes in Pakistan

Pakistan remains one of the most male-dominated societies in the world, and women still tend to be portrayed or stigmatised as subordinates. In the patriarchal culture of Pakistan, women are often limited to doing domestic work and forced to hide the talents and skills they possess.

Recently, however, more and more women have been breaking stigma and stereotypes by doing and achieving things traditionally seen as being ‘only for men’.

Here are 7 Pakistani women breaking stereotypes like they should be broken! 

Namira Salim

Namira Salim is the first Pakistani woman to reach the North and South Poles and, as a Founder Astronaut for Virgin Galactic, she’s the first future Space Tourist from South Asia to travel into space. Salim started her own initiative, SpaceTrust, which promotes Space as the New Frontier for Peace via novel peace theme initiatives to inspire change, encourage dialogue and enrich education.

Samina Baig 

Samina Baig is the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits. She was awarded the Pride of Performance by the government of Pakistan, and runs initiatives that encourage women to take part in outdoor activities. Last year, Baig was appointed as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Ayesha Farooq

“Instead of looking up to role models, become one yourself”Ayesha Farooq. Farooq is the first female to become a fighter pilot in the Pakistani Air Force. She’s also made history as the first woman to be assigned to one of Pakistan’s front-line dogfighting squadrons. 

Sana Mir

Sana Mir is the former Captain of the Pakistan national women’s cricket team. She was first female Pakistani cricketer to rank number one in the International Cricket Council bowler rankings, and led Pakistan to two gold medals in Asian Games in 2010 and 2014. Mir has been vocal in recent years when speaking out against body-shaming in sports advertising.

Zenith Irfan

Zenith Irfan is the first female motorcyclist to ride across Pakistan and an all-round bad-ass. After her father’s early death, Irfan decided to fulfil his dream to tour the world on a motorbike. The journey was a huge step in a country where it can be taboo for women to venture out alone, nevermind on a motorbike, and CNN have called her “Pakistan’s boundary-breaking motorcycle girl”. 

Tahira Safdar

Justice Tahira Safdar is the first woman chief justice of any court in the history of Pakistan, currently serving as the Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court (Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province). In a patriarchal society like Pakistan, where the subject of law and the profession of judiciary are preserved for men, Tahira Safdar has set one of the finest and most inspiring examples for women in Pakistan.

Uzma Nawaz

Did you just say that car repairing can only be done by men? Well, Uzma Nawaz, the first female car mechanic in Pakistan, is here to prove you wrong.

These are just some of the women in Pakistan who have broken through in a society that’s still very much dominated by men. I find each of these women incredibly inspiring, and hope that they can be a source of inspiration for other women out there too. What are you waiting for?!

Equal Education is a Right, not a Privilege

I don’t know where you are as you are reading this.

I want you to think about your workplace, wherever that may be. At an office, a school, university, college, at home. You strive to do your best every day, you work hard, you try to have good grades/performance/stats/work ethic. You go to work (or school, university etc) every day.

Now I want you to imagine having to work under the following circumstances and really think whether you would be able to give a successful performance every day. Would you be able to reach your full potential under any, or all, of these scenarios?

  1. You have no access to electricity
  2. You have no toilets, you have to go in the field/parking lot/wherever you can
  3. You have toilets, but they are pit toilets
  4. You have no access to water

Would you be able to give your best under these circumstances? Do any of these four points make you a bit uncomfortable, or maybe even disgusted? Can you imagine having to work under these circumstances? Many people (including myself) are privileged enough not to have to worry these issues in our workplaces.

Now imagine your children having to go to school under these circumstances. Would you accept it? Would you complain? Would you want to change things?

According to Equal Education, of the 5000 schools in the Eastern Cape in South Africa, 245 have no electricity. 53 schools have no toilets at all, 2127 have pit toilets only, and 197 have no access to water. Read those numbers again.

In South Africa, we are quick to insult the percentage of ‘failed learners’ in poorer communities. But how can we expect young people to work at their best if their basic needs are not being fulfilled? I, for one, would not be able to do my best under any of those circumstances.

We are quick to judge. We are less quick to question how we can help or raise awareness. Again, I include myself.

For those of us who are privileged enough to be unable to even imagine these four scenarios being applicable to our own education, we are too comfortable. We live in accidental, and sometimes intentional, oblivion. We turn a blind eye to things when they don’t affect us.

It’s time we start opening our eyes, South Africa. It’s time we see that what affects one South African affects all of us. There are significant inequalities in our education system.

Many of us cannot afford to help financially – I realise that. But we can all speak up and bring the inequalities in our schools to the attention of those who CAN help financially. We can all make a difference – you can start by sharing the campaigns and publications of movements such as Equal Education.

Let’s start standing up for those who are not seen. Let’s start using our platforms, however small, to bring those who need a platform up there with us. Let us make space for them to speak up, let us help them to be noticed.

Let us no longer be silent on issues that don’t necessarily touch us directly.

Let us use our voices and really live out the Ubuntu philosophy – ‘I am because you are’. We need each other, every South African of every race, culture, religion, gender and beliefs.

If we speak up, I believe we will see change.

We are quick to say that things are unacceptable, that things need to change. Let’s be just as quick to help where we can, to build others up, so we can stand together.

South Africa, together we can make sure that education is equal.