Bunmi Dipo-Salami

Individual African feminists

I live in Ado-Ekiti, NIGERIA. I am a public servant. At present, I coordinate programmes and projects bordering on Integration and Intergovernmental Affairs, including MDGs in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The focus of my work includes ensuring the institutionalization of appropriate structures aimed at securing a synergy geared towards the socio-economic development of the State; identifying […]

I live in Ado-Ekiti, NIGERIA. I am a public servant. At present, I coordinate programmes and projects bordering on Integration and Intergovernmental Affairs, including MDGs in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The focus of my work includes ensuring the institutionalization of appropriate structures aimed at securing a synergy geared towards the socio-economic development of the State; identifying areas of intervention and ensure the implementation of approved MDGs project; strengthening relationships with development partners and identifying new ones for improving the wellbeing of the people economic development, among others.

I am a feminist because I am unapologetically passionate about improving the status of women. I believe in the capability and potential of women and I acknowledge the role of patriarchy in the oppression of women around the world. I disagree completely with the perception of women as inferior, subordinate, and second-class citizens. I believe every woman must have a voice to make choices. I work in solidarity with other women and some men to fight patriarchy and make women visible as critical stakeholders to improve their condition and position.

The major challenges are the compartmentalization of the rights of women by feminists, thereby making some more important than others. Some self-professed feminists even believe that some rights are NOT RIGHT. Poverty is a monster that constitutes an impediment to the realisation of the vision of feminists. The over-dependence on donor funding is also a challenge to feminist organisations. Religious fundamentalism continues to grow in dimensions that were not anticipated decades ago. The list is endless!

From where I stand, I don’t see a movement yet. However, I will propose the following: (i) The Feminist Charter should become a living document that regulates the lives of feminists and goes beyond being another brochure that stays on the shelf; (ii) Our voices MUST be heard beyond the conferences and workshops that we organise for and with ourselves; and (iii) We need to broaden the scope by working with women of all ages at all levels and within all sectors. We need to stand with one another at all times.

In my own life, I try to be the change that I desire through leading by example. I focus attention on making women economically independent and equip those who need support for acquiring critical leadership skills that enable them impact the lives of other women positively. I continue to improve my knowledge of religions. I encourage other women to use their religion to their own advantage by interpreting the provisions to suit their understanding of God as the No 1 champion of justice.

Small breakthroughs inspire me. I am motivated when I see smiles on the face of a woman who took a decision to leave an abusive relationship; I am inspired when a young woman sees the big picture and dedicates herself to championing the cause of women. I rededicate myself when I see women in positions of power stand with other women. Big achievements also keep me going, such as the adoption and implementation of policy on gender equality; equal opportunities initiatives; affirmative action, etc.

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