The Role of Audio Social Media Platforms in Gender Advocacy

Over the years, social media has amplified gender advocacy by giving people a platform and a level opportunity to make their voices heard. By giving people a chance to trend hashtags, host chats and stir up conversations on apps like Twitter and Facebook, social media has been an effective tool in gender advocacy. In a way, one can even say that it made advocacy a little easier because it paved the way for cross border collaborations, knowledge sharing, mentoring and access to resources between advocates.

Why Digital Advocacy?
During COVID, a lot of gender advocates could not do offline advocacy and we had to switch to digital advocacy and this shaped advocacy in a way. Now, I know we have been used to the usual social media platforms like Facebook, twitter in our advocacy but I would like to bring to the fore the use of audio social platforms for advocacy. We have Clubhouse, Twitter space and Facebook Room. Raising our voices, we have podcasts as well. As these audio social apps are gaining ground, we can also see how we can tap into them in our advocacy as youths. We might not limit ourselves to what we are used to like other social media platforms.

How Digital Advocacy Works
We have been talking about representation and women. How the media has been focusing on women’s narrative for some time now but now we can take charge by rewriting our realities. We have several thought leaders who are women reclaiming their autonomy and agency. This is a platform to use our voice. It is even audio, and it centers on our voices to create a change. There are some conversations we have been hush hush about as women on our sexuality and womanhood but through these platforms, several conversations have taken place and we are gradually seeing more women making informed decisions. Audio Social app is the big thing now and we can also see how we can explore that in our advocacy – to speak directly to different women.

The Impact of Social Platforms
These discussions have had a significant impact on the average individual. Men, women, and fellow advocates are being inspired through conversations in Clubhouse rooms and on Twitter spaces. Women now feel more empowered, and men have a new perspective on women, which helps to strengthen advocacy. It is important that women aren’t viewed through stereotypical eyes t o help them in breaking down barriers and shattering glass ceilings. Various stakeholders have taken action as a result of these discussions. The effect has been enormous.

Many others, particularly young men and women, give their voices to the advocacy against harmful societal norms, gender stereotypes, and gender inequalities as we look around. They are as committed to ending gender injustice as we are. They’re sharing their personal stories and offering practical advice. Their voices reverberate across the horizons and in people’s hearts as they talk passionately. That is extremely admirable. We need more individuals tweeting, sharing podcasts, and even hosting Clubhouse and Twitter spaces events so that we can witness a meaningful improvement in people’s lives.

The Way Forward
I believe that social media has the potential to turn the tide of equality in our favor. We will see real change in our society if we raise our voices and encourage more individuals to join us. As a result, I am asking everyone I know to join these platforms and thoroughly explore the role of Audio Social Media platforms in achieving gender equality.

Artificial Intelligence and Gender Equality!

For a long time, intelligence was only connected with humans. It was utilized by scientists to demonstrate a clear distinction between humans and animals in terms of our ability to think, be creative, imaginative, and propose solutions. These attributes are fundamental to human beings, and intellect was once thought to be unique to humans. Things have changed since then. Human intelligence is no longer the only form of intelligence. Our technological geniuses have produced Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), we see robots and computers playing the role of humans in data collection, analysis, projections, and all the rest. These devices are programmed to store memory, proffer solutions and help in decision making. They are also programmed to work as smart assistants, conversational marketing robots, autoresponders, chatbots, help desks, and the like. They even work virtually and physically to take and dispatch orders in various sectors of the economy. Nearly every field of human endeavor can and has incorporated AI into making their products and services better. In this piece, we are going to look at a few ways that AI can help foster gender equality.

Gender Equality is simply the belief that both genders are equal and should have equal rights and access to opportunities. In the society, the females are relegated and seen as subservient especially in Africa while the men are seen as kings. When a woman is ambitious or career-driven, she is seen as loud and arrogant but when the coins are turned to the side of the male gender he is seen as productive and his praise is sung by all. These subtle biases may seem insignificant but they play out in people’s perception of hiring female leaders, promoting female staff, and in some cases salaries paid to female workers.

AI can increase gender discrimination by affecting women. Since AI does tasks that people can do, it can limit women’s chances of getting into roles like customer service, support, and so on.

Can AI promote gender equality? Yes. Since AI makes tasks easier and faster and helps in data collation and analysis, AI can be used to identify areas where women are being discriminated against. An example where this can be very useful is in hiring candidates for executive roles. AI can be used to monitor the hiring processes. If any discrimination is noticed, it will be investigated and addressed. In a similar light, AI can be used to monitor bias in election primaries, access to education, or certain privileges like grants, funding, scholarships, membership of boards, and so on. AI can also make it easier to report suspected cases of discrimination or any form of ills against girls and women. People can connect with sites, software, or messaging platforms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and be led to the nearest NGO, government official, or assistance center AI by developing sites, software, or messaging platforms. It has the potential to save many girls from child labor, and child marriage, and keep them in school. In combat zones, artificial intelligence can help make access to pads and other feminine hygiene supplies easier. AI has the potential to make education and health care more accessible to girls and women in locations where people may find it difficult to travel.

Finally, UNESCO recommends that more girls and women be encouraged to pursue careers in technology, particularly artificial intelligence. When more girls and women get interested in AI, they will strive to provide solutions that will benefit other women, level the playing field, and reduce disparities. We can all contribute to ensuring that this technology brings us closer together. Let’s learn more about AI and put it into practice. Let’s also urge our young females to pursue AI training and research how to apply it to promote gender equality.

International Day Women’s Day 2022 Event

And it was a resounding success. It was a fantastic team effort among American Corner Ikeja, Boundless Hands Africa Initiative for Women & Children, African Entrepreneurship Support and Mentorship Program, Wire A and Roseline Initiative. Thank you to every one of the panelists and others who gave insightful talks on climate change and renewable energy. Thank you for accepting our invitation, Victoria Ibiwoye, Rinmicit Aboki, Toritjesu Okanlawon, and Chief Mrs. Anita Okunribido.

In addition, 22 women were honored for their contributions and impact in diverse fields. We hope that young girls will continue to see role models in women who are accomplishing amazing things in the future.

Looking forward to making more impact next year.

International Women’s Day 2022 (Five books you can do an Ecofeminist Reading of from a Nigerian Perspective)

It is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Gender Equality today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. For 2022, the UN is focusing on recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are at the forefront of climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all. As a result, the praxis of my discourse today will be centered on Ecofeminism.

What is Ecofeminism? According to www.britannica.com, “ecofeminism, also called ecological feminism, branch of feminism that examines the connections between women and nature. Its name was coined by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne in 1974. Specifically, this philosophy emphasizes the ways both nature and women are treated by patriarchal society.

As a literature student, I will be highlighting five books that one can do an ecofeminist reading of particularly from the Nigerian perspective.

1. Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary. Yellow-Yellow is a story about a biracial girl raised by her single Nigerian mother. Zilafeya’s mother ‘Bibi’ works hard to provide her daughter with the highest education possible so that her daughter doesn’t make the same mistakes she made. The mixed girl, Zilafeya, wants to leave her village and with her pastor’s help, she moves to Port Harcourt and starts a new life under the watchful eyes of Sisi and Lolo. It’s a book that deals with female sexuality, racial identity, poverty, corruption, and the Niger-Delta oil issues. It’s a thought-provoking read and would make you hungry for more works by Kaine Agary.

2. Oil on water by Helon Habila: Two journalists, young Rufus and an experienced Zaq, navigate polluted rivers in search of the truth about the white woman that has been kidnapped. These two bite off more than they can chew as they encounter the brutality of militants and government soldiers. Their story is filled with suspense and numerous twists and turns. In the end, they find that it is the kindness of strangers and other non-journalistic values that save them.

3. After the flood by Wale Okediran: The story is set after the Ogunda flood. Convinced by her friend Nana, Sade takes a night off and goes to a night party. She returns the next day to find that the Ogunda River had overrun its bank the previous night causing havoc in the community. Now, her maid dead, and Tomi, her three-month-old is missing! Bitter, Stanley, her husband, blames her for their loss and sends her away. Sade is filled with regrets and guilt about what has happened. However, she is determined to take her life back. Sade finds her life in tatters, tormented by self-guilt at the loss of her son, rejected by her so she embarks on a search with the hope that she can turn things around in her family and make them happy again.

4. The Activist by Tanure Ojaide is a compelling story set in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. It portrays environmental degradation, the schemes of multinational oil companies, poverty, and corruption among people in the community. In this story, the activist struggles to make things right for his community. He leaves his home abroad to join his people’s agitation for a safer community. It is a story of sacrifice and courage and mirrors the ills faced by people in that region. It emphasizes the need for us to have the government’s accountability to the people. It also shows us why we need to have a government that is beneficial to the masses.

5. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson is another beautifully written story set in the Niger Delta. It talks about of a family’s attempt to survive a new life, struggling to redefine themselves along the way. It’s a story that cuts across various themes of infidelity, peer pressure, religion, poverty, and female genital mutilation. When a woman catches their father cheating, she takes her two children (Blessing and Ezekiel) to a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. There is no running water or electricity in the village much to the teen children’s disappointment. Worse still, their mother has to work all day and so the teenagers are left unsupervised and at the mercy of their peers, and their grandparents. As she begins to settle in, Blessing starts to fully understand the internal and external threats facing their village.

These books are great reads and would give you an insight into feminism in Africa especially the relationship between feminism, women, and the environment. I hope that you will read it and recommend it to your friends. Feel free to share your thoughts if you have read any of them and leave a comment below. You can also add more to the list.

International Women’s Day 2022 Loading

Roseline Initiative in partnership with American Corner Ikeja Lagos, Boundless Hands Africa Initiative and African Entrepreneurship Support and Mentorship Program, Wire A presents International Women’s Day 2022.

Theme: Break The Bias: Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow.

By joining forces to support the work of women creatives, we can collectively break the bias that inhibits women.

This can only be accomplished if we picture a world that is diverse, equal, and inclusive; a world that values and celebrates diversity.

It is time to celebrate female leaders who are defying gender stereotypes in every way possible.

Please register at the link below to participate in this year’s event.

https://forms.gle/grCepN4MQGcZxUNU9

Thank you.

#IWD #IWD2022 #BreaktheBias #GenderEquality

The 22 of 2022 Female Achievers Recognition – International Women’s Day 2022

Roseline Initiative in partnership with American Corner Ikeja Lagos, Boundless Hands Africa Initiative and African Entrepreneurship Support and Mentorship Program, Wire A presents:

22 of 22 FEMALE ACHIEVERS RECOGNITION

In commemoration of The International Women’s Day, The 22 of 2022 Female Achievers Recognition is a chance to recognize female achievers who are breaking bias in their respective sectors, and they will be recognized globally for their achievemnts and impact in the community.

Do you know any female achievers who are breaking bias in any of the sectors below, and can attend the physical event in Lagos, Nigeria on March 8th?

If you do, please consider nominating her for this award in one of the categories listed below.

-Climate Change
-Agriculture
-Renewable Energy
-Community Development
-Education
-Social Development
-Entrepreneurship
-Technology

Kindly nominate your Female Achiever via link below

https://forms.gle/82hxhxvCwV6MMbAi6

Note that: Priority will be given to only those who can be present at the venue.

#IWD #IWD2022 #BreaktheBias

How Educational Institutions can promote Gender Equality

Educational institutions that are supposed to be the hallmark of enlightenment many times fuel gender inequality. It shows in the big decisions, chore assignments, and in little conversations. To achieve gender equality, we have to promote it in our schools.

Here are ways we can:

1. Encourage female leadership. Don’t automatically choose male leaders or select male candidates for leadership. Encourage girls to volunteer and participate in leadership.

2. Focus on abilities, not gender. Assign roles and responsibilities like the class captain, etc to people who are qualified.

3. When you have both male and female senior prefects, don’t say that the boy is the number one citizen of the school. Let both of them be recognized as the first citizens of the school.

4. Encourage girls to be athletic by training and organizing outdoor sports for them. Don’t call an athletic girl a “boy”. Don’t call a boy who prefers card or board games a “girl.”

5. Give everyone equal opportunities to contribute in class. Always let everyone know that they have something to contribute to the lesson or topic being talked about.

6. Divide chores and classroom duties equally. Don’t reserve particular chores for boys (maybe fetching water or cutting grasses) or girls (sweeping or mopping floors).

7. When you’re teaching about profession, show the students that women can be presidents, firefighters, judges. Also, show them that men can be chefs, nurses, hairdressers.

8. Encourage healthy competition among boys and girls. Don’t make boys feel bad when a girl tops the class. Don’t make girls feel like they’ve done wrong when they do so well in school.

9. Don’t tell girls that their education ends in the kitchen. Don’t correct them with phrases like, “Is that how you will do this/that in your husband’s house?”

10. Don’t say “You talk like a girl” or “You’re behaving like a girl” when you want to scold a boy. Stop giving them the impression that female is synonymous with weaknesses and wrongs.

11. Encourage parents to stop restricting their girls from studying science courses. This sensitization can be done through the Parent-Teacher Association Meeting.

12. Teach boys that it is okay to be vulnerable or to cry when you’re overwhelmed. Teach girls that it is okay to assert yourself & speak loudly especially when you feel insulted or threatened.

13. Teach girls to have ambition: To be unapologetic & unashamed about their dreams, their needs/wants, their values & the things they believe in or are passionate about.

14. When organizing empowerment, capacity-building or development programs for girls, don’t leave the boys out. Create similar programs that they can learn/benefit from.

15. Don’t encourage sexist language in school. Whenever students talk that way, always stop them in their tracks and school them. You can devise a sort of punishment – (eg research assignment which they have present in front of the school) for people who insist on being sexist.

The Resentment targeted against Gender Advocates: We are also fighting a just cause

I am active on social media. There, I get to table my thoughts, and share my views with like-minded individuals, receive criticism on my advocacy from genuine critics, and get tongue-lashed by narrow-minded humans.

Yet, it is what it is. I am used to the cycle, too.

 

Recently, I was on Twitter, and I came across someone who, basing his argument on the global suspension of football no thanks to coronavirus, argued that more feminists will become busy bees about advocacy, trying to win more hearts over to the cause. And from the precedents of his tweeted argument and the succeeding tweets, you could tell he had an ax to grind with gender advocacy.

 

And like nectar (or honey) to bees, many people commented their support to his assertion. You should guess what most of them would say: the trite rhetoric that they are tired of feminists and their cries for equality.

 

Was I surprised that the tweeter had such strong backing? No. Did I find it odd that the tweeter made such a baseless assertion? Yes. He is a staunch education advocate; he uses his social media platforms to champion the cause of Quality Education. He must have studied the course in school, or perhaps, he has a great understanding of the subject, thus, the reason for his religious passion. The one-million-dollar question remains: why does he have a problem with people who have gone to school to study gender studies and have also chosen to champion the cause of gender equality on their social media platforms?

I guess that is a question that requires some factfinding. 

 

Need I remind you that The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are the plans that the United Nations is working towards and hopes that the world would have achieved by the year 2030. Perhaps I should nudge you towards the reasoning that these goals are geared towards a corporate world transformation and making it a better place. They are outlined vis-a-viz: The 17 (SDGs) include GOAL 1: No Poverty, GOAL 2: Zero Hunger, GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being, GOAL 4: Quality Education, GOAL 5: Gender Equality, GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality, GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, GOAL 13: Climate Action, GOAL 14: Life Below Water, GOAL 15: Life on Land, GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions and GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the goal.

To the crux of the matter.

 

Lots of people all over the world are committed to actualizing one or more of these SDGs. They are working tirelessly, creating awareness and advocating better health care, quality education, clean water and sanitation, climate action, reduced inequality, and all the rest. Therefore, it’s only natural that some people would be at the forefront of Gender Equality advocacy as well. But there seems to be a little problem. Some people who have dedicated their lives and their social media handles to spreading the message about the SDGs they champion, seem to resent those who are championing the cause of gender equality. 

 

This (dare I say embittered) set of people regard the cause as irrelevant because they air dissenting views about some tenets of gender equality. Some others have a problem with gender equality because of some gender equality advocates that they know. Maybe their lifestyle doesn’t fit their mold, or those people have been caught in the extreme, but I have a few questions to ask. As a person who wants the world to evolve and become a better place, why should you have a problem with someone else because their SDG and their modus operandi are different from yours? Does one lousy egg invalidate an entire ideology? I have friends who went to school and studied medicine, pharmacy, nursing sciences, and all forms of health-related courses. In their way, they are contributing to the realization of UN SDG Number 3. Will their efforts be a waste or the goal for good health be a farce if a doctor or a health worker is sanctioned for unethical conduct? Will the Goal for Peace and Justice be voided if some lawyers or judges are caught perverting justice? 

 

If we can see a cause and its champions as distinct, we sure can do the same for gender equality. Gender equality is requisite to achieving progress in today’s world. You may not agree with everything gender equality represents, but that doesn’t make it any less critical than Education or Zero Poverty. I have had my reservations on some opinions people have aired per other SDGs, but rather than just talk down on their advocacy, I dialogue with the people who champion them. I try to see reasons with them, keeping an open mind because they are experts in the said field. 

It’s the same with Gender equality. As many people have gone to school, undergone different kinds of training, and are now carving a niche for themselves through the SDGs they’re promoting, gender advocates are doing the same. Some of them have studied feminism and gender studies up to the doctoral level. They are now making an impact on society while earning from it. A lot of them get paid to host or speak in seminars and conferences. They create programs that help create awareness in communities. They also create and head organizations that are solely aimed at fostering gender inclusiveness and equality in society.

What does that subtly tell you?

 

We all want the same thing. We want the world to become a better place. Whether you’re passionate about the advocacy for Industry and Innovation, Climate Action, or Aquatic Life, the goal is to transform the world into a beautiful place where everyone is healthy and happy.

I do wish that those people that are passionate about other SDGs (who denigrate and despite gender advocates) would cease. Rather, they should keep an open mind, and let’s discuss these salient issues. Asserting that people should not voice what they’re passionate about on their tweets (or elsewhere, as and when they want) is myopic and uncalled for. If you who champion education talks and tweets about it, you should not have a problem with professional gender experts tweeting what they studied in school. 

Or what is the importance of freedom of speech?

Let people speak freely, especially when you know that they mean well (even if you don’t agree with all they say). I’m pretty sure that if gender equality isn’t a worthy cause, one that should redefine the world and reorient people about many a stereotype, it won’t make its way to the UN SDGs.

 

Hence, rather than resent people who advocate gender studies or speak lowly of it, I will admonish that these humans whose thoughts are skewed and have no liking for gender studies or equality should, instead, sit on the fence in the meantime. At the same time, they need to process their thoughts and pull their heads out of their asses.

 

If they do not embrace it now, they will sooner or later, when they see the light on the road to Damascus. After all, the purpose of an argument is not to win but to review each party’s valid points and exchange perspectives.

 

For the sake of peace, we do not have to expound our aversion to what we do not take a liking to. Silence never kills.

I have said my piece, I am at peace. 

 

International Women’s Day Event 2020

The international women’s day which comes up on the 8th of March every year was commemorated today 5th of March 2020 with a program at Abadina College, UI. The program was tagged, “Generation equality: realizing women’s right for an equal future.” The program was majorly geared towards enlightening and broadening the scope of understanding of Secondary school students as regards gender equality and also bringing it into reality.

The program was facilitated by two distinguished people; Deborah Adeojo and Daniel Akinyemi, who took their time to painstakingly teach the students what they need to know about gender equality. The facilitators were also able to unteach and debunk some erroneous beliefs and notions that the students had about gender equality. More so, the students were made to realize that there is nothing more human about a man that makes him better than a woman, therefore men and women are equal. The facilitators further explained that since men and women are equal, then they should have equal rights and be given equal privileges in society.

However, the students learned these and many more in the course of the program. They were indeed equipped with the vital information they need to make gender equality a living reality. The active participation of the students was also commendable. The school authority did not fail to recognize the importance of gender advocacy, even as the principal said the school looks forward to having more of this program.

Thanks to Rebecca Bolatito-John and Oluwatosin Adebayo for coming through by coordinating the event in my absence.

DALAI LAMA FELLOWSHIP – END OF THE JOURNEY

It was a nice experience to be a fellow of the Dalai Lama fellowship. The Dalai Lama Fellowship offers emerging leaders a rigorous, interdisciplinary program on ways to be a different kind of leader, a leader that connects and cares for self, extends genuine compassion to others, and works for the common humanity. Fellows cultivate practices in mind-training for increasing self-awareness, self-care and resilience, for connecting with others and working across differences, and in building solutions for generations to come. Over the course of the year, with the support of mentors and coaches, each fellow designs and implements an original field project addressing a global challenge. Upon graduation, fellows join a lifelong community, where they connect with and support each other while continuing to advance their leadership journeys.

The program awards year-long Fellowships to next generation leaders that are working on social change projects in local communities to address one or more of the following areas: mitigating economic disparity, diminishing violence, gender inequity, improving cross-cultural and inter religious cooperation, and enhancing environmental sustainability. The fellowship is a yearlong training and community service.

I started this journey a year ago with a project aimed at ensuring girls live out their potentials and never wallow in limitations. It has been an amazing year. This program has been huge for me. The learning has been intense and been shaping my thoughts in my personal and leadership journey. I have been stirred up by the rich conversations I have had across networks. It has indeed been refreshing and intellectually stimulating. The importance of values, ethics and being mindful has made more meaning to it. To the Glory of the Lord, I have completed the program requirements and have graduated and looking forward to making the lessons learnt to be of impact to others. May God grant me the grace to pay it forward to others. Thanks  to all Dalai Lama Staff. The graduation was held at the University of Virginia, U.S.A

Find below my storytelling session presentation at the end of the Fellowship year.

I grew up in a patriarchal society in Nigeria. I grew up constantly questioning my identity and deeper than this, my self worth. Yet there is this part of me that always had this desire to be a leader and also help other girls to be leaders. This is what drew me to the Dalai Lama Fellowship Program. I wanted to learn how to be a leader and I was curious how to re-imagine it. So then I came into Dalai Lame Fellowship, and I started to learn things that I did not realize had anything to do with leadership, beginning with the power of now. As a woman who was always trying to prove her worth, one way I did that was by committing to a lot of different projects to show what I was capable of. The more I did this, the more stressed out I felt. Also as a woman trying to prove my worth, I felt I had to do this on my own; the idea of collaborating did not really make sense because then you would not be able to prove yourself.

Learning meditation and the power of now, which is stepping into the present moment, this helped me become more aware and to internally regulate my emotional reactions. And the more I practiced being present, the more at ease I felt, the more confident I felt, the more I was able to step into my own power as a woman. I began to realize that I had to believe in myself first before I could support other girls in Nigeria in believing in themselves.

As I worked on my leadership from an internal space, I started to realize that working with others was actually beneficial to the work I wanted to do externally. As of result of realizing that I did not have to lead alone, I started collaborating and developing partnerships, which allowed more creativity.  I discovered that one can achieve more when one collaborates, it is like  harmonizing ideas, one is  looking at things from multiple perspectives, one is combining resources and ideas. Two heads are indeed better than one.   I shifted from independence from interdependence. We need to work together to do things in the world.