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

International Women’s Day 2021 Event

The webinar started with an opening speech by me which resounded the essence and the relevance of International Women’s Day that is being celebrated globally. Afterward, the moderator, Ibere Chims took over by introducing the speakers.

The first speaker, Adebanke Ilori, spoke on the harmful practices that limit women, especially in the Nigerian context. She made several illustrations on practices embedded in the cultural framework in our society that limit women. She highlighted some important scenarios in the corporate world where these cultural biases still exist. An example she cited is instances where women are always called upon to serve tea in the room during meetings.

She mentioned female privileges, and this really resonated with me. Oftentimes, I have had discussions with some ladies who say that they do not really understand the fuss about women’s empowerment. To them, women have it all. She addressed this misconception by saying that some people are blind to the realities of others because they talk from a place of privilege.

Adebanke Ilori talked extensively about the place of socialization and how it hinders women in our society. She stated how Gender roles serve as systemic barriers for women in their careers and emphasized the need for recommendations to be made to ensure that this is changed. She also stated that men do not have things going perfectly for them but there are privileges they still have.

After Banke’s session, Mr. Gbenga Oni started by talking about culture and the idea that culture is shifting and is dynamic so we should accommodate that. He mentioned that our approach should not be all out for attacking culture because most times, the gatekeepers will definitely fight back. He went on to speak on the need for advocates to be conscious of the language used but in all not sounding patronizing too. He rounded up by saying that men do have privileges and that they should use their privileges to empower women.

The moderator concluded by calling everyone to do an appraisal of their biases. There were contributions from one of the participants, Balogun Solomon Ayo on the impact of religion around the discourse which was insightful.

Questions were discussed:

1. Banke addressed thoughts about Tokenism from a political perspective that it is used as a façade, as a means not to address the real issues.

2. How to localize advocacy:

a. Mr. Gbenga highlighted various steps among which are the need to engage groups like Boy’s Brigade and Girl Scout in order to take the conversation to the streets and not just for the educated ones on social media.

b. Instead of the current westernized approach that breeds suspicion, they should localize their Advocacy.

c. The current blame/shame rhetoric should be changed into a space for healing and sharing.

d. Instead of generalization of issues facing women, we should approach it from the point of view of intersectionality.

e. We should be promoting change instead of attacking culture.

f. Make this conversation a human right one.

g. We should be careful how our campaign language is phrased. For example, there is the language of the “future is woman”, most people might understand the intent, but such language is promoting resistance instead of inviting allies. The future should be for everyone.

3. “In a situation where a girl is being corrected for talking to her male counterpart (age mates and classmate) unruly, just because he is a boy. What can one do?” Someone asked. Mr. Gbenga mentioned that teachers are also influenced by cultural practice and there is the need for training of teachers in our schools to teach them about conversations around gender equality.

4. “A girl that wants to challenge gender inequality but her parents are gatekeepers of the patriarchal system and she’s still dependent on them, what can she do or navigate this?” Adebanke summed it up with the idea that slow and steady does it. Parents have grown certain mentalities and mindsets right from time so it will be unrealistic to just want to shove everything down their throat. They have imbibed a lot for years so the conversations around these things will be done bit by bit with then.

5. “How can girls be encouraged to take up roles that are considered to be for men?” Adebanke mentioned that mentorship is very important in guiding young ladies.

I am grateful to all participants who took out the time to be part of the conversation. Thank you, John Oluwadero for the opportunity to use BNI’s Global School Language Zoom details. Thank you Hammed Kayode Alabi for encouraging me to take this up. To my parents and family, thank you for being a great support system. Thank you to God who made this possible and made it a success. It can only be him. All Glory and Honour belongs t him

International Women’s Day 2021

The International Women’s Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a day where people come together to call for action to be taken towards ensuring gender equality in our communities, places of leadership, and in every aspect and sector of our economies.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. This theme is inspired by the fact that a challenged world is an alert world. And when we choose to challenge, we are able to inspire and effect tremendous change. This is why we are calling women, men, and people everywhere to challenge gender bias and all the negative stereotypes against women.

We can do that by challenging the status quo and changing our perception towards women. As people who seek change, we need to question the agelong stereotypes, societal norms, and archaic cultural beliefs that have held women back. We need to rewrite those unwritten laws and reorient ourselves and the members of our communities on the role of women in the political and socio-economic development of our communities, nations, and the world.
We need to start seeing women as humans who are capable of being the best that they can be. To do that, we should be inspired by women who have done great things in the past and women who are doing great things now. We should also look at women who have big dreams for the future and know that women can. Rather than try to put them down, we should encourage women to be the best that they can be. This is why we need to advocate for more women in leadership and to encourage more women to reach the pinnacle of their careers.

Of course, advocating for women in leadership doesn’t mean that competence will not be a requirement when you want to consider women for leadership roles. No. Rather it means that women should not be sidelined when they are qualified, they should be given their due.

As a woman, one of the things I do is to always make sure that I do my work well so that I will not close the door against anyone coming behind me. This is very important to me and I do my best to create a long-lasting impression. Over the years, I have heard some people say that they prefer to work with male colleagues because they seem to work harder and have more drive for achievement than women. Although you can’t say that for every woman, experiences tend to create certain biases in people’s minds. This is why women should endeavor to leave positive footprints wherever they go so that they won’t rob other women coming behind them.

Taking a stand on gender equality by choosing to challenge will also affect the way we raise our children and how we inspire younger generations. Rather than raising a generation that sees limitations, we will raise a group of girls and women that see endless possibilities. We will groom them to dream, think, collaborate and grow with their peers as equals. We will show them that women are humans and can be, learn, create or invent anything they want to be.

Gender Equality is everyone’s business. Hence, all hands must be on deck to advocate for and ensure that we create a world where women are free to live out their dreams and attain any heights they choose. By doing this and staying committed to it, we will shatter more glass ceilings and break the barriers restricting women from reaching their full potentials.

Do you want to see a gender-equal world? Celebrate women’s achievements. Lend a voice to the cause. Challenge negative stereotypes and take action for equality.

As we choose to challenge, we will see a better world for us all.

Happy International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day 2021 Loading

March 8 is International Women’s Day. I will be hosting a webinar on the theme: Choose to challenge gender bias and inequality.

This is an opportunity to challenge stereotypes, call for inclusion, amplify women’s voices, and to celebrate women.

We shall be celebrating all women living beyond limitations, holding up, making an impact, influencing the world, leading positively, motivating the world, transforming lives, standing tall, aiming high, breaking stereotypes, shattering glass ceilings, breaking through concrete walls, striding on sticky floors and escaping career labyrinths.

Host: Roseline Adebimpe Adewuyi

Speakers: Adebanke Ilori Oyeniyi and Gbenga Oni

Coincidentally, both are Mandela Washington Fellows which was not planned by me.

Moderator : Ibere Chims

Time: 4 pm Nigerian Time

Venue: Kindly register on Zoom (https://tinyurl.com/1xeuif5p) Men and Women are Welcomed.

#IWD #IWD2021 #ChoosetoChallenge

Profile of the Speakers
Adebanke Ilori Oyeniyi
Adebanke Ilori is a lawyer and development professional. Her 7 years of professional experience spans across politics, inclusive governance, and legislative reforms.

Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of Raising New Voices Initiative, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria, and as the Managing Editor of Lawyard NG, a platform for interactions around the practice of law in Nigeria.

In 2019, Adebanke led New Voices to conduct the national #BreakTheHold campaign providing resources to competent young people under 35 contesting to be members of the Federal House of Representatives. As a woman in politics, she was in 2019 appointed as the National Publicity Secretary of Kowa Party making her the youngest female to occupy the position in Nigeria. Nigeria currently has less than 5% representation of women in politics and she has used this role to prioritize gender mainstreaming and promote initiatives aimed at increasing women participation in politics across the Country.

As an advocate for social equality, she has championed the right of prison inmates to education in line with the UN Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners by collaborating with government and donor agencies to provide formal education to prisoners in Abuja, Nigeria. She has worked for the implementation of laws to promote the rights of children, and prevention of violence against persons. Adebanke is also a part of the coalition pushing for the passage of a new Electoral Act and co-hosts a TV program on African Independent Television to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of electoral reforms.

As a Pan African, she has facilitated extensive deliberations at the African Union on the importance of youth integration in the actualization of Agenda 2063 particularly with the promotion of intracontinental trade.

Adebanke obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and holds a Certificate in Public Management from Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s in International Development and Policy at the University of Chicago.

She is a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and sits on the boards of various non-governmental organizations in Nigeria

Gbenga Oni
Gbenga Oni is a highly skilled training development specialist and certified Master Trainer. He is motivated about providing leadership for complex sustainable development challenges, helping to connect dots and create values- a creative thinker, mentor, coach, and enabler. His purpose in life is to help people and organisations unlock their potentials. Just like a waterfall, Gbenga’s life flows in sequential progression, nourishing others as it flows along, producing vegetation & cooling-effects.

International Women’s Day 2020- Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future

Every year, March 8 marks the International Women’s Day. A day set aside by the United Nations to celebrate women and advocate women’s rights and gender equality.

This year’s theme is Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an equal future.

This year we are choosing to be that generation that finally realized or achieves gender equality by giving women their due diligence. We finally recognize that women’s rights are also human rights and therefore matter equally. To be able to think this way, we have to truly understand what gender equality is.

Gender equality is not sameness in biology or physiology. (This is the fallacious assertion that some people point out when you tell them that men and women are equal). Instead, it is the perspective that men and women are equal in value. Hence, they, both, should be taken seriously and treated with respect.

Think of it like racial equality. The concept of people having different races, and yet we find a common denominator for everyone – humanity. Equality does not mean sameness. We are different, but we are all equal. This is why we believe that people of different races, tribes and ethnic groups are equal. Does that mean they are the same? We have people with dark skin and some with lighter skin. We have people with curly hair, some with straight hair. Even among the male gender, some people are well-built, some are lean. Some are short, some are tall.

Do we now say that people are not equal because of their physical and biological differences? Who gets to decide who is superior to the other and with what parameters? The critical similarity or reason why everyone is equal in value regardless of what they are or how they look is because we are all humans. And because we are humans, we are equal in value. This is what gender equality is all about – reminding us about our humanity. Men and women are equal in value. No gender is superior or inferior to the other. That’s what gender equality seeks to ensure. Yes, there are differences, but in these differences, there is uniqueness for the two genders. At the thought of gender equality, some interpret it to mean automatically mean one gender trying to be like or the same as the other gender.

In these differences, the most important thing is to play complementary roles and to co-exist in unity. There is a need to live together in harmony, knowing fully well that the sky is big enough for everyone to thrive, be it male or female. The misconception that gender equality is commensurate to male peril needs to be buried. It is to die until its roots wither away. Many Africans think that when women have equal rights and opportunities as their male counterparts, it means less power or less relevance for men. For me, this simply means there will be an equal playing ground for everyone to thrive without bias. It merely means that fairness and justice are ensured. Gender equality does not seek to incapacitate the man or make him a being less than or of low importance to women. It aims to show everyone that humanity comes before gender.

As a generation that stands for equality, we are going to ensure that we support women by not hindering their ambition or preventing them from accessing opportunities. We are going to ensure that women’s rights are upheld with dedication, and our voices are heard. We are going to ensure that women participate in governance and have front row seats in decision-making issues. We will also ensure that women are well protected from all forms of domestic violence and abuse. We will influence capable and deserving women to get into corridors of power and are given opportunities to lead and be at the forefront of affairs both locally or internationally.

From the cradle, we would teach our children (both boys and girls) the concept of gender equality. No longer would we harp on gender roles. We would also get rid of sexist jokes and offensive stereotypes. Our children would grow up daring to dream and becoming whatever their hearts want. This is the generation we are living in today. The generation that would not see incompetence or weakness as female and logic or strength as male. The generation that would not prevent women from being leaders or shame them because they choose to focus on and prioritize their careers before marriage. The generation that would take women seriously and ensure that their voices are heard from grassroots to presidential villas.

We are all for generation equality, and we realize women’s rights for an equal future!

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.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019

#internationalwomensday
#ThinkEqual
#BuildSmart
#InnovateforChange
#Balanceforbetter
#iwd2019
On October 15, 2007, Condé Nast Portfolio Magazine published in it’s Masters of Invention Portfolio a list of the world’s most prolific inventors alive. The top 10 was dominated entirely by men. Inventions that could potentially shape the future are made mostly by men who though not necessary intentionally but subconsciously create technology that ignores women.
How can we achieve equality when we are underrepresented in the fields of science and technology? How can we build when we don’t have builders?
 
This year, we are encouraging everyone to always have gender equality at the back of their minds when they are thinking and working but more importantly we are calling on women to wake up and tap into the opportunity in technology to stem and reverse the growing gender digital divide, and build gender-responsive systems that meet our needs.
 
This year’s theme Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for change emphasizes the above. Balance for better.