My fire for women’s rights issues was lit sometime between the childhood weekends I spent cutting out girl power quotes from Spice Girls calendars; and the teenage years I spent observing the challenges my mother faced as a widow, and as a religious leader in Nigeria. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to deeply engage women’s rights and gender issues in academic and professional spaces. Along the way, I've received humbling honors like the USA's National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Graduate Award (2012), and had incredible experiences like coordinating post-conflict humanitarian relief for women and children in South Sudan.
More than anything, I am passionate about the way women allow themselves to see themselves, the way society allows women to see themselves, and the issues that fall between these personal and political lines. I love to study the ways laws, policies, theology and popular culture influence perceptions on gender. And by studying popular culture, I really just mean: I keep up with the Kardashians, I am a shameless addict of The Real Housewives franchise, and I love Beyoncé. But, I digress...
I am constantly having conversations about what it means to be a woman today, with anyone who cares to listen. As a Nigerian-American-Christian-Professional-Twenty Something Year Old woman- I’ve found that there are no easy answers. How do I balance African traditions with American ideas? How much of what is put forth as biblical when it comes to women is actually cultural? And speaking of culture, how much of what worked for my mother’s generation works for mine? Through this blog, I hope to share some of the questions I’ve pondered, some of the answers I’ve found, and some of the struggles I’ve faced on this journey of womanhood.
There are too many questions that we women-particularly Nigerian women- don’t ask. There are too many things we don’t talk about. I have watched far too many women I love survive ordeals like widowhood, infidelity, divorce, abuse, poverty, domestic violence, single motherhood, rape, etc- and the unique sets of challenges that come with these issues in Nigerian society- in silence. There are too many things we just accept.
As a woman who has had the privilege of a good education, and who has access to the internet, I realize that I can contribute to change, no matter how small.
So here is this blog. Here is my voice.