I live in Nigeria although, as a transnational feminist, my work is certainly beyond the shores of Nigeria. My life’s struggle and work for about two decades has been centred around ending oppression, and promoting the recognition of equal worth of all human beings and the enjoyment of human rights by all, especially women. To me, this is what feminism is about. I share in the philosophy of gender equality and women’s empowerment irrespective of geographical location and identity, and I believe that it should be at the core of any development initiative.
As usual with African women, and as a feminist, scholar and activist leader, I wear several hats that are all geared towards making a world where all can enjoy their human rights based on the principle of equality and without discrimination on the ground of sex, gender, economic, social or political status. I currently serve as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking (2008 to 2011) and I also teach law at the University of Nigeria, where over a decade ago I pioneered the teaching of “women’s law”. As an activist, I have been involved in social movements for a long time. Through a feminist organisation known as Women Aid Collective (WACOL) I have championed the cause of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and worked to build the next generation of transformational feminist leaders. WACOL prides itself as a gender conscious organisation and is today a citadel for feminist learning and civic engagements for change.
Many would agree that the greatest problem in Africa is the lack of leadership and the governance crisis that follows from it. I have dedicated my personal and professional life to promoting excellence in leadership and investing in transformational feminist leadership through trainings for the next generations of feminists, women leaders and change agents. Furthermore, as an academic I have paid particular attention to knowledge production and have published extensively in the field of feminist legal scholarship, as well as documenting the work of my organisation and experiences as a feminist activist.
I am inspired to act in the face of injustice, oppression and inequalities, and to speak out, and make demands to right the wrong done. I am equally inspired to continue the work I do when I know that I am making a difference in my community and in the life of people, especially those in vulnerable situations or in difficult circumstances. When I see a smile on the face of a woman or a girl who has suffered violation of her rights and freedoms and whom we have helped to obtain justice, I get energised to do more. Together we can build a world where women and men will enjoy their human rights. I am also inspired by the challenges –personal and otherwise- that I have surmounted to hold on to my vision of a better world as I look into a future where women enjoy their full human rights without discrimination.