Tag Archives: african women

lola omolola

“Women In Nigeria Are Silenced And Bottled By Society”- Lola Omolola

“Women In NIgeria Are Silenced And Bottled By Society”- Lola Omolola

I am Lola Omolola, founder of the Facebook group, Female IN. FIN is an online community of over 1,000,000 women and growing. It’s a safe space for women to share their struggles and experiences without judgement or bias. FIN is a support group for women by women. I started it in 2015 after the hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria trended on twitter. I realized that women in Nigeria were silenced and bottled by society from speaking up. Women have been conditioned to be silent because someone somewhere would be embarrassed by what they had to say…there are so many issues women face and it is a shame that they couldn’t stand in their truth and be themselves.

I come from a family that is liberal, where everyone is allowed to express their minds and I know how refreshing and freeing that is. I want every woman to have that freedom, that happiness to stand in their truth. To be able to be who they want, say what they want, without fear of reprisal. Its exhilarating. FIN is a way to disrupt the landscape, to help women appreciate their value. I believe that all of women’s issues are borne from the fact that they are silent and are not talking.Read also: Why Should I Greet My Fiance’s Younger Brother First?

It was a leap of faith. People I pitched the idea of FIN to would tell me it couldn’t work because Nigerians do not talk about their business to anyone. I didn’t let the idea of how our society works deter me. I knew that I wanted to create a platform for women to share, and that was my sole driving force. I have two daughters, and I want them to live in a permissive world, a world where they didn’t have to apologize for who they are. Where they could be comfortable in their own skin. And at the core of this feeling is the ability to say, ‘Hey, this is me. I am here and I am unapologetic about that.’ So I started the group, and I actually planned for tops, a 1000 women. I never dreamed it would be a million women. A million women who feel safe in their sisters’ arms, in a family where they are accepted unconditionally. I started when the Chibok girls were adopted, for me that was my push, I just knew that I had to start at that moment.

Nigerian women don’t enjoy silence. They are simply not talking because people have not given them the impression that they can be trusted enough to be talked to. We now have women from outside Nigeria as part of the group and were discovering that regardless of culture or national boundaries we all have similar experiences. So, we are highly moderated, judgmental and offensive comments are not permitted. We ban rule breakers unapologetically. It’s a closed group so you can only be invited by a friend who is already a member of the group. We make sure that members feel safe to share their experience.

The group has changed so many lives. I mean, women from other countries have put up strangers, whom they’ve never seen before or had prior relationship with in their homes, simply on the strength of them both being women. Women have helped women get jobs, have sent money in aid…We have rescued victims of domestic abuse, helped women finish projects, support businesses etc; we are a support system that works. We are changing the narrative for women, we are teaching ourselves to trust a sister as a default response. Instead of judging her, you know, based on her appearance or putting her down, we are learning to support, to help one another because we have shared pains, shared experiences.

As a result of her culture-altering work, Lola Omolola was recently invited to Facebook Head quarters to discuss with Maxine Williams, Global director of Diversity as well as Mark Zuckerberg. FIN is one of the largest Facebook groups in existence with a membership of almost a million women.

fiance younger brother

My Fiance’s Younger Brother Wants Me To Greet Him First…But Why Should I?

My Fiance’s Younger Brother Wants Me To Greet Him First…But Why Should I?

Yesterday evening, a friend of my fiance whom I shall refer to as O, told me he would like to speak with me on a certain issue. I was deeply curious. Although we are both on good terms, our conversations revolve round how to download free movies or which network currently has the cheapest data plan. So of course, permit my curiousity. O began a long sermon on how he had the best interests of my fiancé and I at heart and wanted desperately for us to succeed in our chosen endeavor. I thanked him. He continued saying that so far we have made him and his ancestors proud by how well we have both been conducting ourselves with maturity and purpose. I thanked him once again. Then he got to the crux of the matter. He said that he heard that I had an altercation with my fiancé’s younger brother over who should greet whom first. He looked like he had more to say on his mind, but at this point in the conversation he felt he should proceed only with a denial from me.. I smiled. Read also: Marriages in Nigeria are sustained by women

What had happened was simple. I was older than this brother by several significant years. I’d noticed after several occasions that the fellow never greeted me. He would walk right into a room where I was seated and plant himself comfortably in a chair without so much as a “Hi.” After greeting him once or twice, I made excuses for him. ‘I have a small stature, he probably thinks he is older.’ ‘ He wasn’t in a good mood.’ ‘ He was hungry.’ Etc…The situation however persisted so I decided to woman up and handle it. I called bobo’s attention to it and he called him out immediately.

Now this brother’s defense stupefied me. He said that “1, I was a woman and as such should greet him first out of respect. 2, I should have come to tell him myself instead of reporting to my bae.” At this statement, I realized his IQ was below par, so I decided never to bother my pretty head over that again. At this point in my narration, I expected to hear a firm approval of my behaviour from O who had been listening carefully. I was to be disappointed.

O clapped back stating that in his culture [Yoruba] the iyawo was expected to treat everyone from domestic fowl to ancient deity with deep respect, curtseying and genuflecting even in her sleep and woe onto her if the husband’s family greets her first. What a wawu! This would be the first I would hear of such a ridiculous culture. So, there is a problem if both men and women need respect?

It has become a very popular saying by family coaches, marriage counsellors and religious leaders. Every marriage seminar, handbook, relationship video or whatnot lists the number one rule as Respect your man. That’s all fine and good, I have no problems with that. However, I have come to discover that the basis for a large hunk of our ‘must-do’ rules in the area of relationships have hidden roots in our culture.

That’s right. No matter how enlightened we claim to have gotten, we seem unable to escape that chain round our neck, that brass clanging band round our waist that we have termed ‘culture’. Culture in its essence is not entirely bad, but neither is it entirely good. History has shown us that culture + relationships are a toxic cocktail for womenfolk as a large number of cultural do’s and don’ts have been oppressive to us. For instance, the cultural do of ‘Do everything to make your marriage work as a woman’ not only excuses the onus from the man but effectively ties the woman down in abusive situations.

Now, culture is defined as a ‘way of life of a people at a given point and time.’ What this simply means is that culture is progressive and can actually change totally depending on the age we live in. So, back to the question above, Is the number one need of a man respect? I proffer that the number one need of ANY MAN- male or female, child or adult is respect. I’m sorry I do not think that respect should be the prerogative of the male gender only.

A lot of the current brutality and terrorism in relationships we see today has its root in a lack of respect for humanity. Rape, domestic violence, abuse and a host of other vices has at its roots a deep void of respect. Everyone deserves to be respected. We should promote that the first and basic need of any human being is simply that the dignity of his person be respected. Simple.

NB: After being called out, Bobo’s brother has received sense and has started greeting me. Now, what would have happened if I had chosen the non-confrontational route instead? I would have had to endure a lifetime of disrespect even or especially in my marital home.
O’s status as official downloader of free movies has been reinforced. He tried and failed to escape the zone. I simply cannot take marital or relationship advice from the buffoon.

Written by whitemosquito for Diary of a Naija girl.

Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics

“Every Woman Must work no Matter How Small” -Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics

Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics is a widow and mother of two.She worked as a manager in Zenith bank, said she came to Lagos to start her company after the death of her husband.

“I came to Lagos after the death of my husband. As at the time I left banking, I knew there was more but I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know what I wanted. I was living in Port Harcourt but I came to Lagos to start Zaron. I sold everything I had including my house

When I was leaving, my mother wept. She was scared and worried for me but I told her I had to go, I had to leave Port Harcourt because the memories were too much. Everything around me then reminded me of him [my late husband]. if I was not working when I lost my husband at 30, I don’t know how I would have survived.

Every woman must work no matter how small. I have two kids, where would I have started from? How would I have moved on? I always tell women, get something doing. Let your mind work.Read: I was a housewife before I opened the nail studio- Mrs Tokunbo Awogboro

There will be times when you will not have money. Don’t get discouraged. Embrace the fears and failures. Look for people who support you. Get a support system, people who can cover your weaknesses. You can’t do it alone. Find such people, mix with them.

Make it work: This is where Nigerians fail. They start something, hit a curve and give up. Make it work. Don’t give up. Put in the work. You have to keep going. When things get too comfortable, then there’s a problem. Get out of your comfort zone, keep pushing. Don’t sit still, keep pursuing a target.” -Oke Maduewesi, CEO Zaron cosmetics

Today, Zaron manufactures and distributes cosmetics and hair products which has been tailored to the specific needs of African women. Zaron currently has 26 outlets in twelve cities in Nigeria and Ghana as well as distributors in three African countries, United Kingdom and USA. As part of the brand’s community service, Zaron empowers Nigerian widows.

Source: TheCable