In commemoration of international women’s month, I spoke with Maryjacobs Okwuosa, a feminist, founder of Whisper to Humanity, National Coordinator for Activista and she has contributed immensely to the feminist movement, on feminism in Nigeria, challenges etcetera.
A brief introduction of yourself, what you do and some of your achievements…
My name is Maryjacobs Okwuosa, I am feminist, educational advocate, founder of Whisper to humanity which is a virtual community and National coordinator, Activista. I do everything that has to do with equality, women’s lives and I see education as vital to improving the quality of lives of women and the society.
Your journey with Feminism, Activista, Whisper to Humanity… How did it all begin?
My journey with feminism is simply the journey of my life. I can’t differentiate the two. Feminism is a way of life for me and it has been a journey of thrashing patriarchy, destroying the norms, breaking shackles and so on. Being the national coordinator for Activista, Nigeria has built the foundation for who I am today and who I hope to be. Activista is a platform by Actionaid and one of the biggest youth networks in Nigeria and currently in over 50 countries.
Whisper To Humanity has been a dream come true for me. It is a community of young women that are challenging the norms and owning their own spaces. We have our office in Imo state with a training hub, meditation room and an active online community on Telegram.
Over the years, how has the transformation in your organization been? What has changed?
Over the years, we have realized that there is always a new start for something and while we have a clear picture of what we intend to achieve, we however have to admit that sometimes we don’t always have the full picture and we keep making changes as we progress. During the pandemic, we had to build a virtual community to stay in touch with the women community.
What are some of the biggest challenges and successes you’ve encountered running your organization and the movement?
Funds have been a one of the major challenges. It’s not easy pulling resources to run a movement as such but we are growing and expanding.See Also
One of the biggest successes is a 24-hour social media protest against the killings in Kaduna leading to restrictions of the state governor from some international appearances afterwards.
Feminism has been gaining grounds in Nigeria especially during the #EndSars protest, what do you think of its acceptance generally? And going forward what do you think can be done to canvas more support or grow the community/movement in Nigeria?
Feminism has been a great contributor to Nigeria more than Nigerians like to admit. Feminism has done so much for Nigeria yet people would rather discredit it because the movement does not appeal to them. During the #ENDSARS protest, we saw feminist pull resources and coming through for Nigerians, yet women were still molested during the protests, and people started smear campaigns. Generally, I don’t think they are trying to accept the movement. It’s a wicked world and patriarchy is wickedness and when you have been benefiting from oppressing women, you won’t like the idea of her breaking away from your shackles in the name of culture and tradition. However, you can’t keep exhibiting this wickedness forever.
Finally, who or what inspires/drives you?
I am inspired by humanity, young people, women, stories around me and I owe a huge part of myself to my mum.
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Anwuli Roseline is a lover of the arts with skills in music, sound management and writing. She has a blog anwuliroseline.blogspot.com where she pens her poetry, short stories and anything else she writes. Anwuli draws inspiration from life, music and events around her. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org