Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi just delivered an excellent Keynote Speech at the ongoing 18th Annual Wimbiz Conference, and Bukky Sonibare shares the highlights with us.
While the speech has many parts, like the failures and successes for women and girls in Nigeria since the Beijing Conference, she highlighted some strategies for the future, as below:
- We must understand patriarchal powers and privilege. Patriarchy is not in our heads, it is real. It is a system of male domination, and many times women are included in this agenda. This is not about just men, but systems, structures, and institutions. Feminism is, therefore, a global struggle against these structures and systems; as feminists aspire a world of equal opportunity, rights, and control.
- Until we have legislative and policy frameworks in place, we will continue to beg. We must, therefore, all push for Affirmative Action as it levels the playing field and ensures we are part of the race on equal terms.
- As women in leadership, we must have an agenda. This agenda needs to be linked to a theory of change. The impossibility of ‘clapping with one hand’ is a example that highlights how both men and women must, collectively, work together for a ‘clap’ to happen.
- Ekiti State has some laws and policies to support girls’ and women’s right, like the Gender-Based Violence Law (2011) as aligned the VAPP and reviewed in 2019 with stiffer penalties; Equal Opportunities Law (minimum of 35%); Gender Policy (being the first state to domesticate it), and the HIV Anti-Stigma Law. Ekiti also has State shelter for women in distress, and a robust program of support for women in leadership positions. These are some laws and policies she pushed and backed as a deliberate effort at advancing the rights of women and girls in the state. Hence, shaping the future requires planning an identifiable legacy, without which we waste leadership spaces.
- Be politically engaged. Take an active interest in, and be part of, what is happening in your communities.
- Mentoring and inter-generational organizing.
- Prepare for life’s transitions. While some transitions are joyful (birthdays, promotions, etc), some are painful (like the loss of a loved one). It is, therefore, important to have a plan for your future – financial, health, will, etc.
- Bring out your wrappers. Every woman has a wrapper. Every woman needs a wrapper. This wrapper represents affection, love, respect, dignity, compassion, and empathy. Hence, we must rise and set our sight at the future. We are the change.