Hilda Tadria is making a difference in the lives of young girls in Uganda, but not everyone is too happy about. Tadria created the Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW) and the program aims to empower young girls with various workshops. What have resulted in the workshops include a lot of young boys being upset that their girlfriends are now breaking up with them.

“For me, that blew my mind,” Tadria told ThinkProgress. “I had never heard of it — that in the school, these boys can assume that these girls are their wives, because of course they are doing everything for them. They wash their clothes, they give them sex whenever they need it…so when the girls started dropping the boys, the boys complained that MEMPRO is causing divorce in the school.”


Tadria says her purpose in starting the program was to give young girls self-esteem and to make them realize there’s more to life than becoming a ‘wife’.

From Think Progress:

Although the sense of ownership the boys felt surprised her, Tadria has become accustomed to girls’ lack of empowerment — and has noted how quickly they stand up for themselves after she informs them of their right to say no to sexual advances or unfair expectations because of their gender. She believes that grassroots level work like this is essential to ending gender-based violence, and traveled to Washington from Kampala to urge lawmakers to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) which was re-introduced to Congress for the fifth time in March. If passed, IVAWA would ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment are factored into U.S. aid delivery programs to both government and NGOs like MEMPROW.

Tadria sees passing the bill is an obligation for U.S. lawmakers.

“The United States packages itself as the leader [in promoting] democracy and rights,” she said. “Why would they then not be interested in being the lead on violence against women?”

As a longtime feminist and activist, however, Tadria attributes the delay to one thing: patriarchy.

“Women’s rights take very long everywhere. There is a common cause of why women and men are not equal, whether it’s in the United States, England, or Africa,” she said. “There is one underlying structural cause. That’s why a law on violence against women in the U.S. will take as long as a [similar] law in the Ugandan Parliament.”

Although Tadria is glad her program has been successful, she realizes that she still has a long road ahead of her, especially since the government is still coming out of its archaic way of thinking as well.

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  • Me

    i’m not sure how to take this article. was there something wrong w/the boyfriends to begin with or are they just breaking up b/c they’re feminists now?

    • PrimmestPlum

      I took the article with a base understanding that the gender playing field in the region is severely skewed and very much patriarchal to the point where girls and women being able to negotiate their interpersonal relationships with men to their benefit, not just their families or in-laws, is a huge leap forward.

      Remember even though some women may feel they don’t “need” feminism, that doesn’t mean women else don’t.

  • Me

    my other question is if something is wrong w/the boyfriends, does the program teach the girls to communicate before they broke up or are they breaking up out of the blue w/no discussions about how the boys can support their feminist girlfriends?

    • PrimmestPlum

      It’s not explicitly stated but I imagine the majority of the “break-up strategies” are probably in place to protect the girl in the post-relationship. (i.e.: Guy gets upset about break up or some other disagreement in the relationship and either maims or kills his ex. it’s not unheard of.) Ending a relationship is hard enough as it is. Imagine the social, cultural and structural factors that are present that make it even more difficult.

    • Me

      makes sense. i just wonder if anyone is putting effort into changing the boys mentalities too. i feel like empowering girls is only half the battle if the boys aren’t taught why the girls need agency. b/c that would just create gender conflict instead of actual change & progress as a whole. boys & girls don’t have to be enemies & feminism doesn’t have to be an either/or.

  • PurpNGold1

    Good. What’s the point of being a young teen girl in school if you’re spending your free time washing some boy’s clothes and giving him sex on demand? Nice to see girls empowered to demand better, and dropping fools that can’t get with the program.

    • Kir10

      I guess it’s not enough that the feminist ideology is largely responsible for destroying the black family in America. They’re now trying to destroy the black family in Africa! You have to be careful when using social engineering to change customs and traditions. What are the young men doing for the young girls?

    • PurpNGold1

      Why do you come to a black women’s site with this foolishness? It’s the middle of the work day….so don’t you have Call of Duty to play and some taquitos to heat up?

  • [email protected]

    There is no question that oppression including gender inequality should end. Tadria is right to advocate the empowerment of young girls. Young girls worldwide have experience horrendous exploitation and violations to their democratic rights. Misogyny is evil and it must be eliminated in our world. Any relationship between people should be voluntarily not coerced; therefore if any relationship is brutal and oppressive, then that relationship is wrong. Likewise, patriarchal supremacy should not only end, but economic inequality too. Economic inequality harms a wide spectrum of people. There is no liberation unless all genders are free. Black males and black females (who are progressively minded and want real social change) should unite and fight for true liberation. True liberation has nothing to do with playing people against each other in an evil way. It is about working together, eliminating bigotry, giving people opportunities, and creating an infrastructure that totally establishes justice for all (not for some, but for all). That is the point.