Women who inspired us in 2018 (Nigeria)
Off the back-end of 2017 and the necessity or #MeToo and #TimesUp, 2018 has been a year of the woman, with conversations that constantly celebrate femininity.
Industry: Humanitarian, Tech
Milestone: CNN Hero of 2018
Pulse first recorded Ajayi-Akinfolarin feat in September when the story of Sharon, a 17-year old girl from the Makoko community of Lagos, known for its heavy investment in fishing, became one of the many disadvantaged girls from the lower rungs of society who learned how to code.
33-year-old Ajayi-Akinfolarin championed that cause through her non-Governmental Organization aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas, Pearls Africa Youth Foundation which has trained over 400 young girls in coding. She is also making efforts to put an end to female genital mutilation.
For this, she was named a “CNN Hero of the Year” alongside nine other people who will receive $10,000 in support of their causes. Abisoye who was born in Akure, Ondo State is also an alumnus of the University of Lagos.
Karo Omu A.K.A DuchessKK
Industry: Social Justice, Humanitarian, Legal Reform, Tax Reform
Milestone: Free Sanitary Pads for girls
Karo Omu is a married, nursing mother based in the United Kingdom. Yet, she shakes trees in Nigeria and gets things done in Nigeria. Last year, Karo noticed the recession made the price of sanitary price skyrocket by nearly 100% and she knew she had to do something.
Karo, a feminist saw her movement go from just an idea to an entire discussion that transcended social media into mainstream conversations in real life that sought to inspire legal and tax reforms for the girl child. The movement now operates under the non-governmental organization, Sanitary Aid for Nigerian Girls.
By December 25, 2018, the organization would have assisted 10,000 girls and women across many states in Nigeria with over 12,000 packs of sanitary pads. Recently, her conversations even fostered an activist campaign on Twitter where people sought to aid her cause.
In a conversation with Pulse, Karo said, “The vision for 2019 is to start producing our own reusable pads and teaching girls and women how to do same.” On how she does it, Karo says, “I do it, I have an amazing team, I can’t lie, they help me and I too don’t sleep.”
Industry: Politics, Humanitarian
Milestone: The only woman seriously running for Nigerian President
As a professional, Ezekwesili is a Chartered Accountant and founder, director of global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany, Transparency International. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. Since then, she served as the Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division from May 2007 to May 2012.
A 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Oby was a powerful voice in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, about the kidnapped Chibok girls. Currently, she is the most visible female Presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential elections.
If she is not inspiring, nothing else is.
Milestone: Produced and directed the biggest Nigerian movie of 2018
Kemi Adetiba is fast becoming a Nigerian entertainment staple, breaking barriers and making waves. Her 2016 movie, Wedding Party became the highest grossing Nigerian movie of all time in less than a year, grossing over N600 million in revenue.
This year, she has done it again with more a more vertically relatable effort that gleans political commentary, King of Boys. In a career dominated by men, she is not only making a name, she also thrives and bosses the men. King of Boys is definitely on its way to being the highest grossing movie of 2018.
Kemi is also a trained Lawyer and before this, she was a radio personality and then, a show host. Now, it seems whatever Kemi does, Kemi bosses. That is the female energy our women need.
Industry: Social justice, Creative
Milestones: Tackling patriarchy
Ngozi-Adichie is a serial newsmaker that never stops doing great things. She has come a long way from being the talented black writer who penned Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is now an accomplished public speaker, activist, interviewer, and all-round trailblazer.
This year, her visibility and credibility continue to soar, she won a PEN Pinter Prize, Everett M. Rodgers award, interviewed feminists and world leaders, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama while creating positive conversations without breaking a sweat.
If there is one Nigerian woman making things happen, it is her.
Milestone: Wrote the New York Times Best-seller, "Children of Blood and Bone," the book also glorifies Ifa.
At the tender age of 25, American-born Nigerian writer, Tomi Adeyemi has Children of Blood and Bone, a New York Times best-selling book under her belt. The book, published by Henry Holt Books For Young Readers has broken her fresh grounds.
Through 2018, the Harvard University alum has broken fresh ground after another and it looks like she’s only getting started. The book explores the fantasy theme of her Yoruba roots while infusing with tenets that the West would understand. Her story serves as an inspiration to young readers, especially women in a world where women need young role models.
Milestone: Three-year deal with EbonyLife TV to co-produce The Dahomey Warriors with Sony Pictures Television (SPT)
The Nigerian mediapreneur seems to only wax stronger as years become decades and decades become eras. A lot of people have branded her, ‘Nigeria’s Oprah Winfrey’ but such tag belies what she has achieved in her own right despite sharing a relatively similar career path with the billionaire.
Starting off as a Human Resource Management Consultant, Abudu started Ebony Life TV as a subsidiary of Media and Entertainment City Africa (MEC Africa), it now airs in over 49 countries. She, however, became vertically known across Nigeria with her hit talk show, Moments With Mo.
In March 2018, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced a three-year deal with EbonyLife TV to co-produce The Dahomey Warriors, a series about the Amazons who took on French colonialists in the 19th century west African kingdom — some of them were also women.
Year-on-year, Abudu keeps breaking fresh grounds and she plans a new programme to coach women in early 2019.
Genevieve Nnaji (OFR)
Milestone: Directed the first Nigerian movie on Netflix, ‘Lionheart’
Nnaji was already a staple of Nollywood as one of the first modern acts to break fresh grounds in the West. She appeared on Larry King Live and The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 2000s and her legacy was sealed as a legend and a role model worth emulating.
Little did we realize that she was only getting started. In 2018, her directorial debut, Lionheart was acquired by movie streaming service, Netflix and became the first Nigerian movie to achieve that feat.
Legend on legend for an already made legend.
The Super Falcons
Milestone: An 11th African Women’s Championship Title, even as the female game improves.
In November 2018, the Nigerian Super Falcons, the senior female football team won their 11th African Women’s Cup of Nations, but it was more than just another routine win for the perennial winners.
They toiled for it and showed matured heads that made even cynical men turn around to enjoy the play on show. Across the team from the ever-confident goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi, to the defensive titan, Onome Ebi, winning battles at 35, to the calm and ever technical and classy captain, Rita Chikwelu and then striding forwards; Franny Ordega and Asisat Oshoala, they were a joy to watch.
The Falcons came back from losing their opening games to beating the same foe in the final of the competition. In a country or even continent of sizeable football obsession, the Falcons showed a depth of admirable perseverance.
The women of Market March
Milestone: Starting a perpetually relevant messaging of harassment of women in the marketplace — this one will morph into more than what it is now.
In October 2018, Pulse spoke with the founder or #MarketMarch, Damilola Marcus also known as, Omoge Dami and discussed what the movement was about. Alas, it was a necessary move to cut the public physical, emotional and verbal harassment of women in the marketplace.
In Nigeria, women can barely walk in the marketplace without being touched or even abused for refusing to be touched. Dami and her, which included people from Stand To End Rape and other positive movements marched on Yaba market on December 15, 2018, and history was going to be altered forever.
It was a heartwarming public display of women fighting the oppressor and engineering a new order in one fell swoop. The march also exhibited the sad tendency of the average Nigerian man with the oppression of women.
Since then, Nigerian social media has been awash with testimonies of how women can now walk freely in the market. Dami and her team claim they are only getting started and that is welcome news.
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