Happy international women’s day.
Where there is a woman there is always magic.
Sending my love to every amazing woman out there. I know it’s been a tough year, but for many it’s a lifetime of battling gender discrimination, poverty, racism, domestic and sexual abuse.
Y’all are the real heroes and influence. The courage and determination you show everyday is truly amazing.
It’s 2021 and I don’t think gender should still be a factor in whether or not a person can be a great leader. A persons leadership abilities should depend on their individual strength and skills. However women aren’t encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts.
There are still a lot of barriers holding women back from achieving greater representation and a lot more still needs to be done to give every woman the best possible chance of rising to the top.
Anyways we were honoured to talk to some amazing women who are doing exploits in their various industries, they shared challenges they’ve faced and how they are overcoming it / overcame it.
I RECOGNIZE NO BARRIERS
Being a young lady in the legal profession is an amazing experience although it is not without it’s challenges.
There would be people who will doubt your competence simply because of your gender, these are people who do not see beyond a pretty face,people who think women are not capable creating change. I know you have imagined these people are men and women of little intellectual capacity, you are wrong, even amongst the elites there still exists this subtle stereotype against our gender, i have been rejected on jobs which are within my professional competence solely for being a lady as unfortunate as it sounds, it is true.
Sexual harassment is something i believe most women in the corporate world experiences irrespective or their field or marital status, the legal profession in Nigeria is not an exception. There are men who like i said earlier would never see beyond a pretty face.
Persistent sexual harrasment was one major factor which inspired me to building my dreams.
Being an entrepreneur i must warn will never exempt you from experiencing sexual harrasments, it has become a necceesary evil which must be handled with every sense of wisdom, self discipline and fear of God.
I can talk about many challenges i have faced as a lady in this profession but for now these two remains at the peak, from employers to clients the lady feels the heat.
How i am coping with these?
First i recognise no barriers. I believe our success starts from our mindset and how we see ourselves, you are a defeated person if you are defeated in the mind, i keep the image i have of myself regardless of the challenge i face, i know i am competent, i know i have solutions and i am not an object for anyone’s pleasure. The challenges are there but i choose to pay no attention to them, i move foward knowing that the walls in front of me have no foundation, they are all strong holds created by man and can be destroyed by man.
Situations come trying to proove me wrong but i hold fast the image of my desired future looking at women who have done beautifully well in their carriers both in the legal profession and other fields.
Women like the celebrated Okonjo iweala, Kamala Harris( vice president of the US), our own Hon.Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem (president court of appeal) and a host of others whose dreams no stereotypes stopped.
Secondly i recognise the place of mentorship, in every profession there are men and women of proven intergrity, character and discipline, i allow them lead me, teach me and correct me, tough as it may be, i accept tough love and discipline from my mentors, as i know you cannot travel a great city without a tour guide
Finally i look unto God almighty who is my anchor and my guide, my family as my primary support system and my friends as my ever ready cheerleaders.
I am not where i want to be yet, i have only taken a leap of faith but by the special grace of God who i have given my all, my generation will be grateful i was born.
My advice to women this day, do not strive to proove your relevance just be relevant.
2. Nkem Global is a fashion creator who is doing amazingly well in her field.
Nkem had this to say
As a woman who found her style and decided to make something of it through content creation and expression on social platforms using Instagram as a main channel.
I’d say I have not really marked down a very huge challenge,reason being that I made a decision to literally be myself and post content regardless of the algorithm and all its frivolities.
One challenge for sure which is significantly worrisome to some is the over saturation in the fashion niche,
There are loads of fashion creators with immense talent and this in itself leaves the market at a very competitive ground,
I will say if you are a young woman looking to channel your content creative side, do not look too much at what others are doing, instead do your own and watch how your originality leaves you unbreakable and undefeated, by saying this I am not driving at not looking out for inspiration
Yes, it is awesome to look here and there for inspiration but it is not okay to copy and paste other people’s work or style as your own, at least give credit for it, if you have to.
If you want to stand out you have to stand out, please read that again and let that sink.
Another challenging thing I think I have experienced since taking my brand Nkem global seriously has to be trying to get brands to work with me, that is one thing I’d say is quite on the difficult side but in all honesty, I keep thriving ,I keep doing me, I keep contacting brands still with the notion that Rome was not built in a day.
Finally, one thing that keeps me going in all of this as a woman who loves fashion is the immense love my audience and community shows me on a daily, I mean who wouldn’t stay confident with such portray of support.
I stay on top of my game by keeping at confidence and embracing authenticity.
3. Oluwayemisi Seriki began working as a makeup artist at a department store retail counter with Black Opal in Nigeria 2009. Working at a retail makeup counter before launching a career as a free lance makeup artist (Nsure Beauty studio) helped give insight into the corporate infrastructure of how the business behind beauty works. She learnt to work with different skin type, tone, and texture and different people.
She owns her own beauty brand called Beauty Essentials by Nsure, she is also a full time Blogger and Youtuber (Misykona) and has continued to grow in the beauty industry.
She has faced a lot of challenges being a female in the beauty space where she is expected to just be good at one area and not diversify. The male co-workers are believed to be better managers, brand owners and makeup artists because they are considered to pay more attention to details and do not make decisions based on emotions.
Challenges such as women and men are equal is unfortunately still not considered true, it is still our reality as women to face disrespect simply because we are women and seen as weaker gender.
Difficulty in getting the same rate as a male co worker in the same position
It is very difficult to shake the feeling of always being under a microscope as every decision we make is evaluated.
My advice is simple. If you are uncomfortable with something, voice your opinion. Do not be afraid— you work hard and have every right to speak up. Stand up for yourself and demand respect (in a professional way of course).
Here in Nigeria, my female co-workers and I are also in a group called African beauty on Clubhouse. This group is fairly new but it is comprised of the women working in the various areas of the beauty industry. We are all in this together, and it is a great feeling to have such a large support system not only within my company but my city as well. We also try not to view other women as competitors. In some industries, it’s easy to fall into this because there are so few of us, and we’re all trying to get to the top. Harboring this antagonistic feeling towards a colleague will do you absolutely no good. Instead, focus on you. What you’ll learn is that some of these women may turn out to be your biggest advocates and supporters.
The best advice I can give is to work your ass off every day, especially if you’re new to the job, and, eventually, no one will be questioning your ability to do the job. You will probably be working harder than the men around you for quite awhile, which is an unfortunate reality, but women are continually making great strides in the workplace and I have faith that one day it won’t even be a question that a woman can do any job just as well (or better) than a man and never lose confidence!
4. Formosabeauty UK A beauty brand also shared their story with us.
As a female owned brand, we have been faced with many challenges along our journey, which started more than 5 years ago.
However, if we would have to pinpoint one, knowing that “It’s ok to ask” should be on top of the list.
Never stop asking. Prove unshakable strength and renunciation. Go step by step to achieve your desired goal. Above all, don’t give up, even if people around you keep asking whether something will be done – good things take time!
We think it’s important to keep a certain naivete. If you, as a founder, knew right from the start what you could expect from it, you might not be able to follow the path to the end.
You will learn everything you need to know along the way.
Over the past 5 years, we had to learn and understand that it is ok to ask for guidance. It is ok to ask for feedback.
5. SindyAkpolo is a YouTuber and Content Creator says she draws inspiration from the noise in her head.
As a YouTuber and Content Creative the industry has been friendly to me, I have had the chance of interacting with people who are like minds and drawing inspiration from each other.
When I first got into the industry I thought there wasn’t space for me, but then I discovered that It was only in my head. As I grew into the industry I came to understand that I was only living in my head thinking I won’t be accepted into the industry but the industry loves me. I am not a person that competes with another I rather be inspired by a persons story and I wouldn’t say it has been challenging but you wouldn’t know how strong you are until you try.
My favorite word I live by is “work smarter not harder”, every waking day we are challenged by tasks and the best and easy way to get best results is to act smarter. I am an over thinker and what do I do to block the noise, I channel my thoughts to creating something I enjoy doing which includes creating content and if I get to watch and enjoy it more than once then I’ve been able to clear that noise….I could go on and on but I have learnt to challenge myself to be better than when I first started and my yesterday. I see each day as a blessing and I see how I’d make the best out of it.
As a lady I try not to let negative thinking personalities get to me, I try to block the noise and embrace positive vibes, I mean you represent 90% of your thoughts right. Also don’t forget that it is okay to fail and learn from your failure, pick your pieces, dust yourself up and take the next step to success.
6. Meet Sike Gbana Who is a legal practitioner, a makeup artist and also a digital content creator.
Hi my name is Sike Gbana, I have been a professionally trained makeup artist for 7+ years now. I went to makeup school at the age of 16 after my first year in the university. Because of my age and dependency on my parents, money was definitely my biggest challenge as an upcoming make-up artist. I had to work hard in school to earn money so I could get more products and better tools for my craft. Since I graduated from university, my biggest challenge has been being a freelance makeup artist. Alot of people believe you have to have a physical studio to be a “professional” which has made it a challenge to succeed as a freelance MUA. Another big issue has been some clients disrespect/disregard because they think you are just a makeup artist, whatever that means. For me, I just continue to work on my craft, build myself and diversify my art to fully express who I am.
And when people try to put me down because I am a makeup artist, I firmly but respectfully put them in their place because I am also a Barrister lawyer lol.
I hope reading from these great ladies would give you all the courage you need.
This women’s day we are breaking stereotypes and we are breaking it bad.
The world is yours to conquer, go out there and lead from the front.
Until next time,