I live in Lagos where I work as a Programme Officer with Alliances for Africa (AfA). In this role I have designed and implemented several projects and trained grassroots women on the ideals of feminism and its importance to women in Africa. I was also part of the team that advocated against the Indecent Dressing Bill that was tabled in the House of Assembly. My organisation is an active member of Nigerian Feminist Forum’s Steering Committee as well as the Feminist Media Watch which addresses the issue of feminism in Nigeria.
We urgently need to invest in creating and sustaining feminist space in Africa. As we build the movement we must encourage feminist leadership and ensure that the movement reflects and is supportive of the diversity within Africa. I think that it is necessary to identify those women who are doing various activities to uplift the plight of women in their communities but do not identify themselves as feminists, and make them part of the feminist movement in our different countries. Mentoring of young feminist to take up the feminist ideals and struggle is also very important. Young feminists should be exposed to basic feminist principles to enable them to identify if they are feminists or not.
I live and breathe feminism. Not-in-your-face feminism, but nevertheless, everyday, on-going feminism. In many areas women and men experience the same problems. However sometimes this is not the case, and it makes you question why there is a difference, whether it matters, and whether the world would be a better place if the difference did not exist. You realise that often it is the world that needs to change, rather than individual women.
I am a feminist because on so many billboards, in so many magazines and television advertisements, women’s bodies are used to sell products that have nothing to do with women’s bodies. I am a feminist because I am horrified by the fact that women are raped, that rape is legal within marriage in many countries, and that assault at home is considered “just a domestic affair”. Most women do not control whether or not their bodies are used for reproduction. I am a feminist because so many of the freedoms won by women are so new. I am a feminist in honour of women who fought for these changes and because I believe that we need to protect these freedoms. I am a feminist because though I have a son, I also have female cousins and nieces, and I want them to be free to choose how to live their lives.
For these reasons, and for many more, I am a feminist.