By Mercy Hill
Women are the engine of change. Empowering them and providing them with the right opportunities can create an endless array of possibilities. But what happens when women lack safe spaces in which they can thrive?
Political instability, labor market challenges, and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of women.
That is why we should in our little ways celebrate women who have created niches for themselves, we should also save spaces for women who are still trying to realize themselves. These are spaces where women can safely engage in governance issues, participate in sports and other leisure activities, interact virtually with anyone in the world, and find a haven, especially for the most vulnerable.
Even though creating safe spaces is a tough challenge in many parts of the world, there are many young women striving to do so while creating opportunities for themselves and for the disadvantaged in their communities.
These women I have chosen to highlight are all those working to create safe spaces in which to encourage positive change – from ending female genital mutilation, to helping others acquire digital skills, promoting peace, girls’ education, and closing the achievement gap.
CEO, Calal Global, Amanda is from Nigeria.And the Founding Curator of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shapers, Ozubulu hub where she leads dialogues and engages communities on youth and social development. A Certified professional in STEM by the Open University, United Kingdom and Strategy Lead of STEMi Makers Africa where she created sustainable and implementable projects in 78 underserved Communities across 17 Sub-Saharan countries by preparing the next generation of Africans with STEM lucrative opportunities in becoming experienced for Africa’s workforce.
Forbes Science marked her as the Nigerian changing the culture fabric for young girls to embrace STEM. In addition to STEM, Amanda addresses topics of Capacity building, Data Science, Youth empowerment and reform in Education Curriculum.
She serves as a Mentor in Cherie Blair Foundation, the 1million Women in Tech, Global Thinkers Forum for Women where she lends her voice, knowledge, and serves as a role model to girls in Africa. Amanda Obidike sits at the Board of Director for Global Youth Initiative and Ambassador of Global Peace Chain, Nepal.
Amanda is an advocate of safe spaces for people living with disabilities. Co-founder at Initiative for National Growth, she focuses on building social and emotional capacity in differently abled persons and training caregivers. She sits on the Board of Directors for Global Youth Initiative and Ambassador of Global Peace Chain, Nepal. She is also a partner in the KEC, USA, Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women and Spring Foundation where she offers mentoring support to both undergraduates and entrepreneurs.
Abimbola is the founder and managing partner at AUDEO, a firm that focuses on providing SMEs across Africa with bookkeeping and accounting services as well as leveraging the accounting information obtained to proffer initiatives to improve efficiency, reduce costs and wastages, create capabilities and optimize capacity. As a social change activist, Abimbola is committed to finding and implementing solutions to some of the most intricate problems that affect youths and their society. She is also the founder of ”The Healthy Salad Company”, a wholesome healthy meal company based in Lagos.
Prof. Rita Orji
Prof. Rita Orji is a computer science professor and director of the Persuasive Computing Lab at Dalhousie University. She has published over 100 peer reviewed articles in her area of research, Human-Computer Interaction. She is an incredibly intelligent and empowering woman with a strong passion to inspire the next generation of women in tech. She has founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged and uses all her platforms to push for inclusion in STEM. Rita is a role model to many young women and of course she was recently featured by Women in Computer Science, for her varse contribution to STEM.
Amba is an international development consultant with over seven years of experience applying mobile and digital strategies for improved businesses in local communities and the development of the private sector in Nigeria. She is also the founder of iDareNotDread Nigeria, a social engineering platform promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise through storytelling and value sharing. She is also the Team Lead of the Build My Business initiative born out of iDareNotDread’s enterprise, centered on building skills and capacities for young people in the business. She has gone from transforming ordinary people who would have never thought of writing their own books, to making them authors. Presently, over 250 women have become authors ever since she launched her eBook Program last year.
She has also organized free digital marketing skills training for over 4000 people, many of whom are women. She has also supported over 1000 small businesses to achieve scalability and growth especially, by helping them identify and understand the importance of target markets and market validation.
Apaokagi Adedoyin Maryam
Taaooma, the comedian that we all know today, her real name is Apaokagi Adedoyin Maryam. She is a popular Nigerian online comedian, content creator, and cinematographer from Kwara State known for her comedy style of making jest of typical Nigerian mothers. She emphasizes the unique manner African mothers respond to the actions of their children.
Rebecca Maulome Padonu
She is a Blogger, Educator, Consent Ambassador, and Co-founder of Break Free from Plastic Initiative (BFFPI) an organization dedicated to raising environmentally responsible citizens. As a budding writer and passionate change agent her works, which are largely factions, straddle the genres of dramatic script, short story, and opinion-writing. She is currently a Special Assistant on Social Investments, to the Governor of Kaduna State, where she advocates for the rights of all Poor and Vulnerable Households to live a life of dignity.