It is no news that women all over the world are being celebrated in the month of March. Where for this year, the International slogan stands at #ChooseToChallenge, women as far back as the 19th century have risen to challenge the status quo in a patriarchal society that doesn’t favour them.
In a very interesting Y! Women Round Table conversation powered by Nigeria’s favourite food seasoning, Knorr, Nigerian TV host, Tomike Adeoye sits with Olufisayo Bakare, Cultural gatekeeper, Tele Williams Aina, founder of Waziki Life, Moet Abebe, Nigerian media personality, and Sumbo Adeoye, founder Inspiring Change Initiative as they discuss issues women face over soup.
For the longest, women have been told and instructed on how to behave, what to wear, what to pursue as a career and a deviation from the expectations leads to name-calling and tagging for many women in Nigeria. This raises the question about why women have been told to behave a certain way for the most part.
Culturally, society has created a lot of issues for women. From the belief that men are superior in society to the idea that women have to appear a certain way, women live in a world where they are often at the mercy if these beliefs that have been labelled as standard. It’s how Sumbo Adeoye puts it; “I feel it’s a cultural script basically. but how you appear should be based on your cultural belief. I see Okonjo-Iweala wear her African attire gorgeously to her office. But they have to be a culture that accepts you for who you are.”
Women however are creating a culture that makes them comfortable in their own skin and bodies. Disrupting the patriarchal system, women are intentionally taking charge of things that concerns them.
In creating this culture, women are focusing now, on what they have to offer while maintaining the transparency of fighting against the status qu. Women are proving on several factors that beyond their bodies that have been sexualised, beyond the persistent “what’s she wearing” question, they have just as much say in the room ‘where it happens’.
Olufisayo Bakare, circling on the ‘what’s she wearing question’ stated how she purposefully took on the culture space without revealing her face for two years. For her, it was strategic to show that beyond her good looks, there was something to offer. Like her, many women are doing the same thing and breaking more and more bounds across various spaces.