5 Nigerian women who #pressforprogress in arts

Pulse has rounded up a list of Nigerian women who have been pushing for gender rights and equality in the arts space in celebration of International Women's Day

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This years theme "Press For Progress" focuses on the global gender cap.

With the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away and there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and actually #PressforProgress.

And with global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

Pulse has rounded up a list of Nigerian women who have been pressing for progress in the arts and cultural space.

1. Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie

Adichie is an unrepentant feminist and activist in all rights. The award-winning author has published a short book on feminism, "Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions".

Her essay, We Should All Be Feminists, adapted from her 2013 TEDx talk, has remained on the bestseller lists, particularly in Sweden, where in 2015 it was distributed to every 16-year-old high-school student in the land.

The success of We Should All Be Feminists has made Adichie as prominent for her feminism as for her novels, to the extent that she now gets invited to every damned feminist thing in the whole world.

2. Lola Omolola

Lola Omolola (born August 1, 1976) is a former journalist who founded the Female IN (FIN) group on Facebook.

Lola is the first Nigerian woman who created a place where other women can share their untold stories regarding their sexual abuses, and other challenges they are facing.

Many of the stories speak of a distinctly Nigerian experience that women face. The group was created shortly after the #BeingFemaleinNigeria hashtag trended on Twitter. The online group serves as a means for Nigerian women to express the complexities of their shared struggles. At the moment, the organization is using its very powerful platform to investigate the disappearance of Charity Aiyedogbon a woman who went missing in May 2016.

3. Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedimma Nkemdili Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction for both children and adults.

Her work often looks at "weighty social issues: racial and gender inequality, political violence, the destruction of the environment, genocide and corruption" through "the framework of fantasy."

Okorafor shares that while the themes of her stories are often multi-layered they are always grounded in "stories of the women and girls around me and also within myself.

Okorafor received a 2001 Hurston-Wright literary award for her story "Amphibious Green" and her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, including Dark Matter: Reading The Bones, Enkare Review, Strange Horizons, Moondance magazine, and Writers of the Future Volume XVIII.

Okorafor's novels and stories reflect both her West African heritage and her American life. Rather than identifying as Nigerian-American, Okorafor refers to herself as "Nigamerican" and explains the importance of her dual heritage during a 2016 NPR interview.

4. Peju Alatise

Peju Alatise is an artist and an activist. A sculptor, painter, architect and a storyteller, Alatise uses her art to reflect on societies maladies.

Her sculpture "Nine Year Old Bride" was an installation meant to address womenʼs rights. A looming four meters high by two meters wide, the sculpture was covered with thirty-eight meters of fabric, draped and wound, to reveal female forms frozen in resin.

Peju also teamed up with Art Twenty One Lagos and solicitor Edward Keazor to raise awareness of child abuse in a campaign called Child Not Bride.

5. Lola Shoneyin

Lola Shoneyin is a Nigerian poet and author who launched her debut novel, "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives", in the UK in May 2010. Shoneyin has forged a reputation as an adventurous, humorous and outspoken feminist. The award-winning author is also the organiser of Ake Books and Art Festival.

Early examples of her work appeared in Post Express in 1995, which features a short story about a Nigerian woman who leaves her husband for an Austrian woman. This story initiated dialogue about homosexuality within a Nigerian context.

Shoneyin has also written for newspapers, including The Scotsman, The Guardian, and The Times on issues such as racism, Nigeria's tradition of polygamous marriage, the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and the elections of now President Muhammadu Buhari.

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