“When I was 12, I escaped a traumatic abuse that left a great mark in my soul, I was scarred for life; psychologically and emotionally. I was exposed to a lot of negativity that was life-changing. I suffered abuse by a family friend, I was exposed to situations which made me very vulnerable and I was always faced with tough decisions all through my teenage years.
Facing all of these, and reporting to my parents, my guardians and older people (men and women alike), all I got were lectures – always cover your head, always wear big clothes to cover your body, do not play with boys. They were good lessons I held on to, but then, nothing or very little was done about the boys and men who molest and abuse women.
All of these put together pushed me into a state of depression and confinement, with no one to talk to. Those times, drawing was my only means of escaping from worries and depressing thoughts. From then, I began to have more and more interest in becoming an artist and sharing my thoughts through my drawings.
While growing up, I discovered my love for drawing and I thought to pursue it professionally. I got a lot of backlash on the drawings I made as a lot of comments were focused on who was actually making the drawings. Most people never believed a girl could be talented enough to make beautiful drawings. Most people did not believe in a young girl having such talent, they felt it was for boys alone.
This dissuaded me from developing my talent because not many people believed in what I could do. I still get such comments today such as, ‘You made this drawing?’ ‘You, a girl?’ ‘I can’t believe a woman made this!’ ‘How is this possible?’ ‘You are a girl!’ It is disheartening and demeaning to me that these still happen in our age and time
I advocate for Gender Equality which is giving the same rights, status and opportunities regardless of one’s gender or sex. Let us give our girls and women the same opportunity given to men to thrive and excel in every aspect of life. I believe the world will be better if men and women all have equal rights.” – Tosin Akingba
About Tosin Akingba
What is #UnbowedVoices?
Read more about the campaign here: #UnbowedVoices – An Orifunke Lawal Campaign.
“What struck me the most while growing up was how people made it seem like it was the worst thing for my mother to have only daughters. Prayers and fasting were held for God to bless her with a son. Extended family members would berate my dad about spending so much on education for girls.
Female children’s rights to some things were questioned just because they are female human beings. I didn’t know it but I started becoming a feminist at that young age. I went through so many “you are a girl, you can’t do that” and its many variants in discrimination through secondary and university education that at a point, I couldn’t recognize it anymore and just took it as a norm.
Then I started working and went through rapid promotions. I felt great until a particular co-worker said to my face “The only reason you went through rapid promotions is that you’re a female and the boss likes you”. It hurt because I knew the work I had put in, it hurt because I knew the same colleague, who told me that, had gone rapid promotions before (based on his performance) as well. I just couldn’t understand why my gender had to come into play because I got something I truly deserved.
We can try to mince words as much as we want, but the truth remains that a lot of people do not view a male child and a female child as equal. I have put so much work into shaking off the social conditioning and have several times taken the bulls by the horn, but I am also realistic enough to know that there are so many women who are still held back by their upbringing, background and societal “norms”. These are women who grew up hearing that they are not supposed to take certain steps just because they are women.
It is not enough to create opportunities for women, we have to work towards destroying the conditioning that keeps them back from taking advantage of those opportunities.
My name is Tomisin; I identify as a woman, a passionate feminist and I believe in gender equality because I know I am equal to men and I deserve to have access to same opportunities and guilt-free freedom to choose those opportunities.
I believe in gender equality, because hey! why shouldn’t I?”
About Oluwatomisin Akingboye
Oluwatomisin is an HR professional who has a number of achievements including:
1. Incubating the HR unit of a company in the financial services industry (setting up the unit, the processes, designing the payroll structure etc).
2. Successfully performing as an Accounts Officer, despite not having prior accounting experience. She also amazingly runs a food business on the side. You can find her on Twitter: @Marrgarritah
What is #UnbowedVoices?
Read more about the campaign here: #UnbowedVoices – An Orifunke Lawal Campaign
Unbowed Voices – An Orifunke Lawal Campaign is a storytelling campaign which features the different stories of Nigerian feminist women doing amazingly in their various fields. The campaign is planned to celebrate the theme for International Women’s Day 2020, #EachforEqual.
According to statistics, it would take the world about 202 years to achieve global gender parity. This is a long time, no doubt, and in a country like Nigeria and Africa, it might just take longer due to factors like poverty and a lower rate of development when compared to first-world countries.
It is especially harder that many people do not see the need to fight for gender equality. Many people do not also believe that women are largely disadvantaged in many areas of the country and in the world. Therefore, while we still have a lot of work to do regarding gender parity, it is crucial to always talk about who we are and what we do, not for us, but for others who need our stories to be able to keep fighting.
This particular campaign will run from March-April 2020. Stories will be shared on my social media platforms as well as on my website.
You can follow me on social media here:
Facebook: Orifunke Lawal
All my love,