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Practical Feminism: #WomanEnough


Introduction

Photograph taken by Nathan Udeh, 2018

My name is Fikemi Aiyepeku, a Nigerian senior at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg, South Africa. For my Catalyst Project for GOA’s Graphic Design Class instructed by Mrs Queen-ie Allinson, I have created a campaign called #WomanEnough which stems from a movement in my school started by Lobna Jbeniani called Practical Feminism – “a platform for ALA women to support ourselves and each other professionally and intellectually” (Lobna Jbeniani, Facebook Post, 24th January 2019).

A Bit of Background…

The African Leadership Academy (ALA) “seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of over 6,000 leaders who will work together to address Africa’s greatest challenges, achieve extraordinary social impact, and accelerate the continent’s growth trajectory” (African Leadership Academy, 2008, source). Note that nowhere in this phrase does it say that these leaders will belong to a particular gender.

What I discovered at ALA in March 2019 was that when I asked certain questions, the answers would always lead me to male figures.

“Who do you think is the smartest student on campus?” Male.
“Who can help me out with my laptop issues?” Male.
“Who would you say is the best athlete on campus?” Male.

Here…you try.

How many of these CEOs do you know? Marillyn Hewson, Ginni Rometty, Mary T. Barra
0
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2
3
Created with SurveyMaker

I would be surprised if you recognised all those names. Now, try this.

How many of these CEOs do you know? Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos
0
1
2
3

I am very sure you recognised more names there…right?

I began to wonder – why is it that the name of a woman is rarely called when we speak of great things like this?

What Is The Problem?

I knew it was definitely not because there were no smart women or no tech-savvy women or no female athletes so I asked around and conducted interviews.

Mathuso Molapo, Personal Interview, March 17 2019
“Girls try to stay humble.”

Moitse Kemelo Moatshe, Personal Interview, March 17 2019
“We (girls) don’t believe in ourselves.”

Lobna Jbeniani, Personal Interview, March 17 2019
“There aren’t many women represented in so many fields – women are underrated.”

These interviews led me to identify the problem.

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. 

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “We Should All Be Feminists”,
New York: Anchor Books. Published
29 July 2014.

Girls have been taught not to “toot their own horns” and this prevents other girls from learning what breakthroughs have been made by women in their own communities. If I, for example, wanted to pursue a career in finance, I will be facing statistics such as men accounting for 61.5 percent of degrees in finance (Source: Investopedia). Knowing women who have defied the norm like the Chief Financial Officer of the African Leadership Academy, Lara Rabiu, will immediately make success in my pursuits seem attainable. This is such an important factor when empowering girls. This project stems directly from the 5th Sustainable Development Goal which is about gender equality and women’s empowerment.

A lot of great work has been done by multiple people and organisations in various communities to uplift girls and empower them, and these campaigns have had so much impact. Through individuals like Priyanka Chopra and institutions like Audi, girls are being encouraged to be their best selves all over the world and I want my community to be no different.

What Will #WomanEnough Look Like?

#WomanEnough will look like constant encouragement. #WomanEnough will look like looking up while crying in the bathroom to see a poster with a word of encouragement from another woman in the ALA Community. Here are examples posters I plan to put on the ALA Campus.


Sources: Modesta Joseph, Personal Interview, April 12 2019
Humairaa Mahomed, Personal Interview, April 11 2019
Tanatsei Gambura, Personal Interview, April 12 2019
Haley Fauntleroy, Personal Interview, April 11 2019

Please note that the use of EL (Entrepreneurial Leadership) and CS (Computer Science) makes the content more suited for the campus as these words are used as slang.


Source: Nelson, Micah. Personal Interview, 12th April 2019

Women should not be told to pipe down – in fact, they should be encouraged to speak up. Successful women should encourage those that are on their way up to keep on going and to ignore the words of people around them. Women should be taught that they should “break all the rules” (Tanatsei Gambura, Personal Interview, April 2019) and chase after what they want, even if they’re called obnoxious or pushy or competitive or crazy.

As we conclude the presentation, be sure to think: In what ways can I encourage and empower the women in my society?

Source: Nike. “Nike – Dream Crazier”, YouTube.com, Published
24 February 2019. Accessed 13th April 2019.

What words of encouragement do you have for a woman today?

Made with Padlet

In the future, women, rather than men, will be the ones to change the world.
– Malala Yousafzai

Share this project
COMMENTS: 48
  1. April 25, 2019 by Gibson Munene

    This is Amazing work Fikemi!!! Keep Up. πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘

    • April 25, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you, Gibson! I appreciate that.

  2. April 25, 2019 by Nigusu

    Well done!

    • April 25, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Nigusu!

  3. April 25, 2019 by Modesta

    This is amazing, Fikemi. I believe #WomanEnough will inspire and encourage many females on campus.

    • April 25, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you, Modesta, for that and for being a reason for other girls to remain inspired.

  4. April 25, 2019 by Sola Aiyepeku

    Impressive work and discerning focus.

    To you and every woman: “Stay true to all that make you”

    • April 25, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, daddy – for your incessant support.

  5. April 26, 2019 by Moitse Kemelo Moatshe

    Well done Fikemi! This is great work!

    • April 26, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you, Moitse! Thank you, again, for helping the project come to life.

  6. April 26, 2019 by Haley Fauntleroy

    This is an AMAZING website. I loved interacting with it. Thank you for building this so that other women can be encouraged.

    • April 26, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you, Coach – I appreciate it. And thank you, too, for being someone that women can look up to.

  7. April 26, 2019 by Chomba Nakazwe

    This is great Fikemi, Inspiring and motivating messages -we all have what it takes to fulfill our purpose -lets go for it!

    • April 26, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Ms Chomba. And yes we can! It’s so important for us to remember that.

  8. April 26, 2019 by Aicha Fall

    Such an amazing work 😍😍 it got me crying

    • April 26, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Aicha!! Thank you so so much!

  9. April 26, 2019 by Mathuso

    Thank you so much for this encouraging piece Queen.

    • April 28, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much Mathuso! I am so glad you felt encouraged by this. Thank you for helping me bring it to life.

  10. April 26, 2019 by Karen

    You never disappoint. This is great

    • April 28, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Karen πŸ™‚

  11. April 26, 2019 by Pape Abdou Diagne

    I am so proud of you my love. Great job.

    • April 28, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank youuuu!! <3

    • May 16, 2019 by Kolawole Falayajo

      #Proud #Wonderful

      • May 16, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

        Wow thank you so much, Uncle Kola

  12. April 27, 2019 by Temilolu Awofeso

    Ahn ahn OSHEYYYYY RESEARCHERRR
    FIKEMIRISKYYYY THE BARDESTTTT
    So proud of you <3

    • April 28, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Haha thank you for bringing the energy here. Thanks, TemTem πŸ™‚

  13. April 28, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

    Fikemi, I project is amazing! I love how precise and graphic it is. Thank you so much for putting so much thought into such. I am truly inspired. #WomanEnoughπŸ’ͺ🏾

    • April 28, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      *this project

    • April 28, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Queen πŸ™‚ I appreciate that so much and I’m glad you felt inspired. #WomanEnough !

  14. April 29, 2019 by Janina.Troper

    Hi Fikemi! I think you did a really great job explaining the issue of women being underrepresented in many different fields. You break up your project into surveys, videos, ads, posters, and pictures, which helps the viewer stay engaged and understand your message. I love your initiative to create #womenenough, and I can’t wait to see what it turns into!

    • April 30, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Hi Janina! Thank you so much for that feedback. I really appreciate it πŸ™‚ #WomanEnough!

  15. April 30, 2019 by Michael Gyampo

    This is awesome, Fikemi. Lots of food for thought, and fodder for action.

  16. April 30, 2019 by David Tago

    Now I see why you need a class block for thisπŸ™ŒπŸΎ
    Great work, and a very sound initiative πŸ’―πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

    • May 10, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you πŸ™‚ You know how much it means

  17. May 10, 2019 by Ginika Kalu

    Brilliant Work Fikemi. Well done.

    • May 10, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Ginika!

  18. May 10, 2019 by Uzo Agyare Kumi

    Thank you Fikemi for your courage in sharing your thoughts through this worthwhile project. I am inspired. xxx

    • May 10, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, Dean Uzo πŸ™‚ That means a lot coming from you – thank you, too, for being an amazing role model and inspiration to me.

  19. May 11, 2019 by Akin Falayajo

    Eyioluwafikemi, my darling niece. This piece is not only insightful, it is presented with such clarity of thought and an intelligence that is endearing.
    I am so proud of the woman you are and thankful to God for his blessings on your life.
    Your limits are only the ones you place on yourself (in your mind). Keep working hard, believing hard and achieving- for yourself and the people you choose to influence.
    Well done!!!

    • May 12, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Wow thank you, Uncle Akin. This means so so much. Thank you for always encouraging and supporting me and inspiring me to do achieve great things like you also do πŸ™‚ I appreciate it and will always keep your words of advice in mind.

  20. May 14, 2019 by Rotimi Dada

    More grace upon you, Fikemi. Awesome work

    • May 14, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Thank you so much, sir. I feel humbled.

  21. May 17, 2019 by Perry

    So proud of you Fikemi, this is absolutely wonderful!!! And what a great quote from Ms. Micah as well. Sending big hugs from the States.

    • May 22, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Ms Perryyyy!!! I miss you so much! Thank you for that πŸ™‚ I’m glad you like it. Receiving big hugs from here <3

  22. May 17, 2019 by Tolulope Aiyepeku

    Darling Fikemi,
    I am so proud of you. Very insightful and great work done. Well done working on this and making it known. Awesome initiative…

    • May 22, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Wow thank you so much Auty Tolu. Your support means so so much to me.

  23. May 31, 2019 by Lee

    Congratulations on such a bold project, Fikemi! Happy to see you achieve even more in spaces unimagined.

    • June 02, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

      Wow thank you so so much, Leroy!

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