I am Generation Equality: Immaculate Akello, climate change activist and lawyer standing up for rural women

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.


Originally published on UN Women's regional website for Africa

I am Generation Equality
I am Generation Equality: Immaculate Akello, climate change activist and lawyer standing up for rural women in Northern Uganda
Immaculate Akello participated in the Generation Equality Forum organized by UN Women in Kampala, Uganda on 29-31 March 2021. Photo: Eva Sibanda/UN Women.

I am Generation Equality because…

Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality:

  • Run entrepreneurship trainings in rural communities to empower rural women.
  • Advocate for fair and equal pay.
  • Run girls’ clubs in schools and inter-generational sessions to mentor young women.
  • Icon- a girl raises her arm

I speak up for women's rights because someone spoke up for me. Someone else fought tooth and nail to ensure that I have spaces that empower me, as a young woman. In that same spirit I speak for women's rights, to make the world a place where young women have their rights respected, where they are able to thrive and become the best possible version of themselves.

In my view, the four most urgent issues of our time are: climate change, violence against women and girls, ‘boy preference’ resulting in education gaps between women and men, and the gender pay gap.

Bold youth leadership for change

Firstly, I would like to ask every young person to step up so that others are not stepped on.

SDG color stripe

“Let us be bold for change.”

SDG color stripe

I would advise them to create safe spaces for women who are struggling mentally and emotionally, spaces for them to share their pain without the fear of being judged.

I would ask young people to advocate for the implementation of gender-sensitive laws and policies, and petition parliament to repeal repressive laws.

I would ask them to advocate for tax holidays for rural women-led businesses and encourage rural women to register. I would ask them to create saving schemes for rural women and offer them financial advice and trainings.

They can advocate for shelters for survivors of gender-based violence at district levels, and for increased funding towards maternal health. I would ask them to create girls clubs in schools…

The list endless, so let us be bold for change.

Rural women and climate change

Climate change is a generational problem, rural women are one of the most affected groups by climate change.

In order to address the gendered impact of climate, we should encourage families to plant more fruit-bearing trees and encourage them to find a market for those fruits. And we should establish forests that will provide sustainable firewood to rural women.

Immaculate Akello, 25, is a climate change activist and lawyer whose work is transforming the lives of rural women in northern Uganda living along the shea belt community. Akello is the founder of Generation Engage Network, an organization that champions environmental rights and environmental democracy in Northern and Central Uganda.