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Tanya Charles

Nationality: Zimbabwean
Living in: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Twitter: @mstanyacharles

Gender and Women’s Rights Consultant

 
 

Video: Tanya talks about the AFSEE programme

Tanya’s professional and academic focus is on freeing society from the limitations of gender and sexuality stereotypes. As such, she currently works as an independent gender and human rights consultant for non-profits in Southern Africa, providing a range of services from designing bespoke training sessions on gender equality in the mining sector to forming strategies on how to tackle gender-based violence nationally.

Tanya has written about violence against women for Huffpost Women, published research reports on the linkages between policy and sexuality with the Institute of Development Studies in the U.K, and is currently a voluntary Founding Board Member of Vuka Zimbabwe, an NGO that exists to unlock the potential of Zimbabwe’s youth through training and skills development. Tanya is also a member of the Rotary Club of Belmont in Zimbabwe, where she dedicates her time to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in her immediate locale.

Tanya holds an MPhil in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town, as well as undergraduate and honours degrees in Social Anthropology and Media Studies.

 

Personal Statement

As a feminist activist who has worked in the non-profit sector over the last eight years, I have come to realise that women’s economic empowerment is critical to our enjoyment of other fundamental human rights. This was crystallised when I met a number of small-scale rural women miners who are currently earning a good living in this male-dominated industry, a contrary picture to the one I have become accustomed to seeing of unemployed women in rural areas struggling against great odds to survive.

These oppositional images have led me to one salient insight; that putting financial and material resources in women’s hands can have a more immediate and transformative impact on their lives than other pathways to realising gender equality, such as in legislative reform. The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity affords me with multiple opportunities to think more fully about how economics affects women’s lives. Through the MSc in Inequality and Social Sciences, I will be able to lay the theoretical and methodological groundwork that will be necessary for exploring questions of economy and its gendered dimensions and impacts on health, equipping me to investigate my own research interests, which centre on women in the extractive industries and the manifestations of their agency as a result of economic (in)stability. I believe there is much to learn from women who are marginally located but who manage to leverage the global capitalist market for their own betterment.

Because inequity is a global phenomenon, the global nature of the fellowship means that our learning will not be limited to the formal classroom space but through robust engagements with dynamic individuals already working to tackle disparity in their own contexts. I am looking forward to being challenged to think differently by individuals who take novel approaches to addressing inequality all over the world.

As a result of the formal and informal spaces of learning and engagement, I hope to emerge a feminist activist with significantly more than a surface understanding of inequity and how it can be addressed from several vantage points. My ultimate aim is to emerge as a feminist activist who is able to influence economic and development policies that after decades of lobbying, remain one of the least transformed arenas in achieving gender justice.