Ms. Funke Fayemi is the Chairperson of Report Women Net (ReWoN). She’s Fellow of the Journalist to Journalist, USA, a Tobacco Fellow of Health-E Online News, South Africa, and a member, International Broadcasting Association, London.
Fayemi, who has earned a name in the media industry, as an advocate on issues that have to do with women and girls, said challenges delimiting women from attaining their full potentials, especially in work places, were surmountable. She explained that the secret to success and attaining key positions for women was empowerment. She also revealed that women will be sure to encounter challenges as they seek for the seemingly unattainable positions in different sectors, they should; however, see those challenges as hurdles to climb over.
Using herself as a case study, Fayemi said that while struggling to develop herself to the woman she’s today; she encountered a series of challenges. She noted: “A self-determined woman will definitely come across obstacles that will make her want to make her pull back, especially in the media terrain. In this terrain, lots of men see women as threats because women are vocal and intelligent. I started my job as a lady that was determined. I told myself that I was going to make a career of journalism, no matter the challenge. I told myself that I was going to make a difference.
The first thing I noticed on the job was that some ladies were not allowed to go on assignments, and some beats were not given to them because management thinks such beats would be too tasking for them. I put myself forward; I said I wanted to know everything about the job, wanted to cover events at night. I wanted to be on the beat that men were, and I wanted to see how it was.
Today, I have no regret because those are the things working for me now.” She said that journalism as a career might not be that lucrative, she, however, still enjoys it. Fayemi, who is a radio journalist and has won several awards, further stated: “Yes, I put myself forward and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my job.
It was what opened my eyes to how people produced radio programmes that are different from others. Yes, I covered an event one night, the event was on HIV/AIDS, it was the annual event of Journalists Against HIV/AIDS and it turned out to be a coverage that earned me an award. All my senior colleagues were not ready to go, and I volunteered to go and cover it. But by covering it, it opened my eyes to many things. Another challenge I would say I encountered was something called favouritism; some colleagues were promoted and I wasn’t. It was a way of making some to be senior to others, but my philosophy of life is you’ll get to wherever you will get to, as far as you’re dedicated.
“The challenges wanted to draw me back at that time, but I said no. Those challenges made me stronger. You must be a determined wo m a n , no matter the obstacle you face on the job. At a time, I was so pushed to the wall that I wanted to change. I was denied where others were allowed to move freely, but all those things always made me get more determined. I kept on attending training and I kept on offering myself to be better, and today it has really paid off.” According to Fayemi, Nigeria is a country that has about 50 per cent of women when it comes to its population, but it has been discovered that most ladies are not able to get to decision making positions because many of them are not empowered. She said: “Empowerment is something that opens your eyes to the right values, to know what you are capable of. Women empowerment makes you know your worth, and how far you can go in life if you develop yourself. Women empowerment means, adding values, and realising their potentials, in order for them to attain great heights in their chosen careers or dreams.
It’s something that makes a woman independent, strong and willing to go the extra mile to break limits and do extraord i n a r y things. It gives a woman a voice.” S h e e x – plained that empowerment could be seen in different ways; maybe in terms of how to trade, carry out business and acquire skills that can serve as a source of income. “It can also be in terms of intellectual capability, things that can make her to be a leader and broaden her knowledge on managerial skills. It’s also a situation that can give total independence to a woman, letting her know she has a voice, and how that voice can be heard.”
She also mentioned: “Some women are naturally born to understand that they cannot stay where they are, so they will want to develop themselves. A woman has to push herself, to say yes, she can do it! She can be equal to the task ahead, irrespective of her gender, ethnicity and religion. The moment a woman is empowered, she begins to realise her self-worth, which then gives her the ability to make right choices and decisions. A woman, who is not empowered, will not even know her right. Empowerment for the female gender is important, especially in a nation like Nigeria, where the girl-child’s education in some parts of Nigeria is still lagging behind. In a country, where even if educated, you’re not seen as equal to your male colleagues.” Fayemi advised women to be intrepid and develop themselves, thereby developing their self-esteem. She argued that women in Nigeria are not yet where they ought to be.