Grace Idaehor Osakue

Individual African feminists

A teacher by profession, I am a feminist by choice and a sexuality educator by vocation. I am co-founder of Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) Nigeria a feminist, youth development organisation whose activities I co-ordinate in Edo State; Country Co-ordinator of the International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG) in Nige ria; Principal of Itohan Girls […]

A teacher by profession, I am a feminist by choice and a sexuality educator by vocation. I am co-founder of Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) Nigeria a feminist, youth development organisation whose activities I co-ordinate in Edo State; Country Co-ordinator of the International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG) in Nige ria; Principal of Itohan Girls Grammar School – an all girls Senior High School in Benin City, and the Secretary of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Chapter of the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary schools (ANCOPSS).

I am a feminist and I live it in my beliefs, passion, daily actions and work. My feminist consciousness began when I was dissatisfied with the sharing of my father’s estate by my uncles according to a tradition that did not recognise that my sisters and I existed simply because we are females. I decided there and then to work to end that tradition and all such practices that put us down as women. Membership of Women in Nigeria (WIN) which I joined that same year (1983) gave me the platform for both training and actions to make a difference in women’s lives. Ten years later in 1993 I took the step further in co-founding Girls Power Initiative in order to engage girls at a young age as advocates for social justice, increase the numbers of young feminists and assure there are new and younger generations of feminists to continue the work after us.

As feminists, we need to keep living the talk. We do face misunderstanding from men and women around our feminist politics. We also face conservatism in political structures which makes our work of securing equality difficult. In conjunction with others, I have invested in working with policy makers and gate keepers around sensitive issues in order to create a conducive environment for the change we desire and work for to take root, mature and spread.

We can help build the feminist movement in Nigeria and in Africa by encouraging more interactions amongst African feminists to learn about what we are doing across the continent. The internet is one medium for doing this. We need to see more national feminist forums and feminist training institutes during major conferences on the continent.

I draw inspiration from the enthusiasm and actions of the girls that I work with and the feedback from the positive communities we work in. My family is also a major source of inspiration not only by the support they give me but by their words and action which show that they are also living the talk with me. I look at my granddaughter and see the beginning of even another generation of feminists in my lineage which makes me feel more energised.

 


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