You are Not Less ; You are So Much More #IWD2019

A short message from my heart to every woman on this special day. Happy International women’s day!

 

#XXFILES women Radio crew on Premier FM 93.5 from the stable of Radio Nigeria Ibadan

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The First Lady Mechanic in Nigeria – Sandra Aguebor #IWD2019

The International Women’s Day celebration is marked all over the world on the 8th of March every year. It is a day intended to draw attention to the peculiar challenges women face in the society and to keep tab of progress made in achieving gender equality and rights of women.

A few women making their mark in fields otherwise thought to be male terrain caught my attention and I want to bring you the story of one of them.

I present to you the woman, Sandra Aguebor known as the “The Lady Mechanic”. It is a big deal to have a woman working to repair cars and automobiles, especially in the African, Nigerian context. Sandra’s interest in car repair was sparked from as early as age 14. One day she asked her father to take her to the nearest mechanic workshop and fortunately, he didn’t frown about this and obliged her. Against her mother’s wishes and cry of, “this work is for men and not good for a woman”, Sandra started to go every day to the mechanic workshop even after school to watch and learn. Her love for the job grew and she made up her mind to pursue this career path.

Sandra Aguebor went on to become the First Female Auto-mobile Mechanic in Nigeria after graduation from school and started the “SANDEX CARE“, workshop. She offers free training empowering vulnerable girls and women with technical and mechanical skills to give them dignity and improved economic life.

Sandra soon launched the Lady Mechanic Initiative where she runs a skills acquisition programme for women from disadvantaged background and survivors of trafficking and sex slave trade; single mums and child labor victims. Because of her love for empowering girls like her who would want to pursue a career path in engineering, The Lady Mechanic Initiative also began an After School Club where Sandra and her team engaged school girls in outreaches.

Courses/training The Lady Mechanic Initiative offers
• Lady Auto-mobile Technician
• Lady Speed Boat Technician
• Lady Mechanic Professional Driver
• Lady Mechanic Speed Boat Driver
• Lady Mechanic Generator Repair Expert
• Lady Mechanic Summer School Class

The Initiative has a vision to mentor and transform 100 thousand girls/women into role models and change agents in their communities across Africa by the year 2025 through sustained innovative approaches to skill impartation and healthy mental guidance. So far about 17, 000 have benefitted from her training programmes.

Every girl can achieve her dreams – Breaking the glass ceilings. 

 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The Girl Child, An Endangered Specie in the 21st Century Nigeria: Public Lecture & Book Launch by Fill in the Gaps Outreach

The utmost responsibility of any nation is to provide security for her citizens – Prof. Stella Odebode.

As the world marked another “Day of the Girl Child” on 11th October 2018, there were many activities organized by individuals, organizations, and groups to draw attention to the challenges beguiling and preventing girls from achieving their potentials. It was also to bring to fore practices that harm the girl child’s physical and psychological well-being and to seek solutions to ending these inhuman treatments such as rape, sexual violence, abduction and kidnap, sex slavery, early marriage, lack of equal rights to education and opportunities, domestic abuse, child slavery and Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).

One of such organization, “The Fill in the Gap Outreach(NGO)”, brought together various stakeholders; students, parents and guardians, policy makers, Community leaders, development partners, and the media to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child through a public lecture. The CEO, Princess Aderonke Olajide in her opening remarks said that one of the organization’s goal is premised on filling the gaps created by unexpected pregnancy which occurs in the life of some girls for whatever reason. Fill in the Gaps provide support for such girls through ensuring safe delivery of their babies and ensuring they go back to school/learn a skill.
An interesting, informative and eye-opening lecture titled, “The Girl Child as an Endangered Species in the 21st Century Nigeria was delivered by Prof. Stella Odebode, Director Gender Mainstreaming office, University of Ibadan.

A cross of school girls present at the Fill in the Gap Outreach Public lecture

A few take away points from the lecture:

  • Globally 60% of girls are denied education as opposed to boys who are 40%.
  • Rape and sexual violence is a global phenomenon that needs to be continually addressed. Students are sexually molested by teachers, headmasters and other people who are supposed to be carers.
  • Perpetrators are hardly prosecuted which promotes the culture of silence.
  •  Parents need to be very sensitive and conscious of any signs that anyone is attempting to abuse their wards particularly extended family members living with them.
  • Prevalence of Child marriage and young mothers: According to a study carried out by Prof. Stella Odebode in Igbo Ora, Oyo state there is a prevalence of young mothers ages 11, 12 and above.
  • There is an increased incidence of school dropout and unwanted pregnancy in girls.
  • 1 in 4 children is reported as having an incidence of sexual violence.
  •  In some parts of Nigeria, 43% of girls are married off before age 18. In some other parts, 15% are married off before age 15.
  • Key ailments of girls exposed to early marriage are VVF, Anemia, High Blood pressure, premature births and even death in some cases.

Solutions

The Chairman of the occasion – Dr. Mike Omotosho , PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International, dressed in his Ghanian royal title in a pix pose with the convener & CEO, Fill in the Gaps Outreach – Princess Aderonke Olajide
  • All maternity and orphanage homes should be dully registered to nib in the board criminal activities that expose children particularly girls to any form of sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Speak up and do something about that your neighbor who is abusing his/her housemaid or child. If you notice something isn’t right and a life is endangered, do not mind your business. Remember that it could be you or your child.

You are standing under the shade of a tree because someone planted it – Warren Buffet

Dignitaries at the Lecture

Dr. Mike Omotosho, PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International – Chairman.
Her Excellency, Omolewa Yetunde Ahmed- First Lady of Kwara State – Special guest of Honour
Prof. Stella Odebode – Guest Lecturer
Mr. Oluwarotimi O. Martins – MD/CEO Midway Airlines – Chief Launcher
Chief Mrs. Ranti Koiki – CEO, Fawzy Hotels, Nigeria – Guest of Honour
Alh. Mohammed Bello – Zonal Director, FRCN Ibadan Zonal station – Guest of Honor
Asiwaju Abdlrazaq Shittu – President/Chairman, Skysite Offshore Access (WA)Ltd – Father of the Day
Princess Olabisi Sangodoyin

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Feminism: What It is; What It isn’t #Opinion

Credits: Alamy Photo Stock

I am writing this post in response to a number of misunderstandings I see in discussions about Feminism. There are arguments for and against this subject matter and I sense a lot of anger versus misconception. I will try to clear the air a bit in my discussion here.

Now note, you may not agree with all the points I will make here but it promises to be interesting, down to earth and straight from my heart. So please indulge me as I take you true “the blue waters of the world of feminism”.

My definition: “Feminism” is all about celebrating womanhood. It is a movement to give girls and women a voice where they have been relegated to the background. Feminism is empowering the female gender with opportunities and skills required for her to achieve her purpose and dreams. It is fighting for the rights of women and girls. So first of all as a woman you should revel in your gender, it is who you are by the creator’s design.

In recent times the line has become blurry and feminism has become something men feel it is all about losing control and therefore they resist almost in fear or should I say bitterness. On the other hand, some ladies use the movement of feminism as a tool to raise false alarm where it is not necessary or as means to witch hunt a man in their black books.

I believe in having a balanced view of the issue of feminism. It should not be about having a world without men simply because some of the male genders hurt women or because society tends to be a patriarchal one. Come on we all have fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and even male friends who are good people. Society will lose its balance should it try to operate with only one of the genders.

Also some weeks ago the social media was agog with a backlash against a renowned Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adiche because she challenged Hillary Clinton about why she started her Twitter profile page with the word “wife” instead of “mother” first. The argument was that her husband Bill Clinton didn’t even have the title “a husband” as an identity on his twitter page. As much as Chimamanda’s argument is valid I feel it brings up a core understanding of what feminism might mean to this dear lady that I hold in high esteem. It sounded like there was something wrong with Hillary wanting to be identified as a “wife”, on her twitter page. Interestingly I hear Madam Hillary Clinton did change that identity on her twitter page.😊

My Take on this: If a woman chose to be identified as a wife in her profile, seriously it is her right and prerogative. Is Chimamanda trying to make Hillary think less of her husband or not hold dear her family or role as a wife just to show that she is a feminist who must prove a point to her husband and society?  I don’t know, she has a right to her own opinion on the issue.

When it comes to family life we must as women recognize the role each partner has to play in the relationship and respect and love each other. If you are a Chief Executive Director in your office or organization don’t go backing orders at home to your husband! You are courting problems because one of the men’s needs is the need for respect, especially in a marriage setting. So please, by all means, write whatever you wish to be identified as in your profile and don’t let anyone bully you into his or her mold of thinking.

Some Men’s Perspective On the other hand: I have a friend on one of my social media platforms who seems to have drawn a battle line against every female in my opinion and not just us feminists. He practically attacks women and even uses words that I find insulting. I am wondering whether he is married or intends to get married. Looks like someone broke his heart and he hasn’t forgiven whoever that is and every other woman gets the backlash. I also sense that the way some of us feminist brand the flag of fighting the rights of women sounds like men are actually now our enemies. So now on the two side of the divide instead of bridging the gap we are widening it by our actions and misconceptions.

Here is my Take on what Feminism Is and Isn’t

What Feminism Is:

  • It is allowing girls to mature biologically and ensuring that she is given an opportunity to acquire the skills for a meaningful and profitable life before marrying her off. So “Child Marriage or Adolescent marriage” is an act that steals the future and life of a girl.
  • It is giving equal rights to boys and girls to get an education
  • The voice of feminism argues that equal opportunities should be given to boys and girls; men and women to flourish and become all they ever dreamed of. What this means is that If men are going to space a woman should also have the same opportunity to fly to space as long as she is got what it takes. When men are in a leadership position and a woman is got the same skills then she shouldn’t be denied stepping into that position simply because she is a woman.
  • Men and women on the same job should earn equal pay, there should be no discrimination based on gender bases.
  • Feminism promotes the well-being of girls and women and speaks against all forms of cultural, traditional and religious beliefs that cause harm to the female gender. These include issues like the right to own property and land; the right to work even though she is a wife; reproductive health rights ( Ending discriminatory and harmful practices like female genital mutilation);
  • Feminism drives and speaks for social justice

Now to what Feminism is not:

  • It is not a war with men; as women, we have fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons.
  • Feminism is not a tool of blackmail against any male a woman wishes to take advantage of.
  • It is not a flag women wave every time we want to have our way.
  • Feminism is not an excuse to not acquiring the necessary skills required to occupy a leadership position. You have got to work for it and be better than the men even so that any male chauvinist in the room will have no choice but to respect your skills and guts.
  • Feminism is not a magic wand in a marriage relationship. Be careful how you use this in a marriage situation. Except in a situation where abuse is the other of the day then a woman can speak up and say no to the injustice and harm.

As we say in debate clubs in my secondary school days: “I hope I have been able to convince and not confuse you with my arguments”. 😀Hey …I am only saying we should take things easy; we need each other. Let us all reach out across the table and try to understand one another as men and women and work together!

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com