LabCitoyen is the program organized by the Institut français (headquarters in Paris) dedicated to major human rights topics. This year, it brought together 57 socially-engaged young people and revolved around the theme: “Women’s rights: equality and citizenship”. During one week, they learnt about these issues through a series of conferences and debates, in France (June 30 to July 6).

After workshops held at the National Assembly and at the OECD’s headquarters the participants visited the Élysée Palace. The first two days were dedicated to the representation of women in the mass media and in politics, as well as the inequalities that persist in the work place.

On day 3, the young activists went to the Palais de la Femme in order to think together about feminist struggles. There, they had the opportunity to discuss with women that sought shelter in this centre for women in precarious situations.

On many occasions, these socially-engaged citizens got to share their experiences and projects, as well as strengthen their skills, meeting leading French and international actors – like representatives of the global movement ONE campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030.

The last day, the group went to the Maison de la Femme, a centre which welcomes and supports vulnerable, violated and mutilated women. This day was particularly important to Shalom Ugochi Igwe, the Nigerian laureate of 2019 LabCitoyen. As a nurse, she wanted advice on what should be the role of the medical professionals in the care of women victims of violence. She discussed these topics with French nurses and midwives working at the centre (encouraging the patient ; involving the police and lawyer ; etc.).

We are very happy that Nigeria was part, once again, of this major international programme.