Diane Mariechild, in her introductory said: “A woman is the full circle, within her is the ability to create, nurture and transform. Women are an integral part of human civilization. No society or country can ever progress without active participation of women in its overall development. Women who constitute half of the world’s population are not treated on par with men.” Flora Onwudiwe writes
“Women are suppressed, oppressed, and marginalized in the matter of sharing the available opportunities for fulfillment of their lives, despite the fact that every woman works for the development of her family, her husband, and children. This picture of women is not something new or unique only to India. This is the predicament of women all over the world.” Mariechild continued in her quote.
Tewa Onasanya, founder, Exquisite Magazine used the above quote as an introduction to project her description of the typical treatment women, particularly African women are subjected to. She considered it as considered as very apt in celebrating women global theme; “How to Press for Progress doing what you’re passionate about”, which was coined as; Press for progress.
Her Magazine’s exclusively meant to create awareness for Cervical Cancer on women availed the opportunity for young women to interact and discussed other issues that affect women and were supported by Onasanya’s Exquisite Ladies of the Year (ELOY) awards.
The 21st century women who thrust their weight to drive home their points were women with entrepreneurial skills and these include; Jane Egerton-Iheren, Chinenye Jeanne Nnoli, Tayo Afolabi, Uwa Ohiku and Shade Ladipo.
They were believed to have imparted on female youths in the corporate world with skills in entrepreneurship by sharing their life experiences and what they will do in pressing for progress.
The sequence of conversations was shared and lessons learned were evident that the 21st century women are passionate about what they do, with the willingness to press further for progress.
Onasanya was a pharmacologist, who found passion in lifestyle, beauty and fashion, asked rhetorically , “what do we need to ask ourselves is in order to make a difference doing what we are passionate about, or what are you doing to make progress?
Onasanya cited Cervical cancer to explained further, “Today a lot of women die for disease that is 100 percent preventable, now to press for progress is a need to ask people what they will do to press for progress by doing what they are passionate about.
“In the process of pressing for progress, it’s also important that we do what we are passionate about, because if you are passionate in what you love doing, it will be like a fuel that keeps the light burning. Now, been a woman in a man’s world, first we have to learn to break that cultural barrier, leaning how to push and make a difference, work on yourself, because we all work in progress. The girl child is as important as the male child,” she noted.
She further explained, “We have to start planning for the future today, learn to have all the training if possible. As ladies, we also have to do whatever it takes to get what we want ,in terms of Principle, integrity matters a lot ; learn the habit of saying no when it is required. We should not let others manipulate our emotions. As a woman we have to learn how to stand on our ground, don’t let people project their weaknesses on you.”
On what propelled her coming up with Exquisite magazine exclusively for women and its Eloy Awards, she said, “Exquisite began in 2003; it was the need for me to stop complaining about problems or challenges. Again, I used to live in an environment where there weren’t many black women there and it was out sketch of London and I couldn’t find magazines for women of black colour , so I thought, why don’t I start my own magazine. And I love writing, so that’s how the magazine started. It’s just a case of making something comfortable from the passion that I have.”
She however urged women to be the best version of themselves, while following their passions. “If you were asked not to do something , do not dwell on it. The reason for a ‘no’ is simply because one is speaking to the wrong person or asking the wrong question or the idea needs to be reviewed. Keep your focus and do not stop.
My first advice will be to get your mind set right, and believe against all odds that you can be whatever you want to become , believe in yourself, forget about what anyone says about you,” she said.
On what informed her decision to select only women in the corporate world, she said, A small talk discussion for women of different careers to press for progress. Press for progress campaign for the need to create awareness for cervical cancer in Nigeria. We are on a kind of a sneakily campaign to raise awareness for Cervical cancer in Nigeria, according to her.
Onasanya revealed that her parents played a great role in her life, which is what informed her principle lifestyle. “Well funny enough, I think I am blessed to have parent who just go with your flow and let you do whatever you want to do.
So they did not complain about it, as long as I am happy, as long as I am not doing anything illegal. Sincerely, they are happy and have been supportive. I am very blessed to have supportive family. They made me believe in myself, that I could do anything because back then grown up, it wasn’t a case of if I was a girl and I can’t do it,” she said.
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