On the event of the International Day of the Girl, it is high time we looked at sustainable solutions so girls do not have to continue to struggle through gender inequality in a predominantly masculine world. This means equal pay for equal work, a balanced gender ratio in leadership positions and the accurate portrayal and/or representation of women and girls anywhere.
The 1.1 billion girls in today’s world are changing narratives. They’re redefining girlhood, and they’re doing so against all the odds.
In light of this, the United States Consulate in Lagos partnered with the Africa Creative Children’s Network (ACCN) on October 11, organising an event aimed at encouraging young girls – addressing their needs and challenges – themed “No Girl Left Behind“.
The event started with video clips of prominent Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Ted Talks talking about the danger of the single story and her views on feminism. And moved onto a line up of panellists moderated by Uche Pedro (Bellanaija), Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi (founder of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre), Collette Otusheso (Head of Accelerate TV), Mildred Okwo (filmmaker), Chidera Muoka (Editor, Guardian Newspaper) and actress, Mercy Johnson-Okojie.
See talking points below:
- “It is amazing to see a vision kick off as this has, we at ACCN are very grateful to the US consulate for this invaluable partnership and support for the girl child. We are thankful for these incredible women who have given of their time and knowledge so selflessly today. Above all, we are excited to see the passion and ambition in these young girls who we are celebrating today.” explained ‘Oma Areh Executive Director, ACCN.
- “The most important thing is to ask how we can position what we have here.” There’s are a lot of sacrifices that people do in the backyard that takes them higher, and so people are not exactly eligible to question anyone’s greatness. “The narrative of ‘is it because they know someone or do things they are not supposed to do’ is all a lie“, Collette said.
- “Be the best version of yourself,” the 25-year-old Editor at Guardian Nigeria, Chidera said. “Try to make sure you know and do things that make you the best person for the job.”
- Mildred said a girl with enough knowledge to challenge the status quo cannot be put down by any man. In that instance, they immediately begin to respect you, she says.
- The U.S. Mission Country Consular Coordinator, Alice Seddon added the powerful words, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are a girl, you can’t do it. There are challenges, but there’s so much you can do.”
- Mercy Johnson-Okojie ended the session with, “I learnt to turn my weakness into wisdom. When you have a beautiful body, you are good for a night, but when you have a beautiful mindset, you are good for a lifetime.”