In commemoration of International Day of the Girl Child, media entrepreneur, author and Chairman of the AW Network, Adebola Williams stepped up efforts at advancing the course of women and the girl child in Africa by embarking on a series of female gender-focused activities throughout the month of October.
Starting from Nigeria, Williams organised a private screening of the blockbuster movie, Woman King, hosting the Consul General of France, Laurence Monmayrant with girls from ten selected schools across Lagos. Starring African-American actress, Viola Davies, the historical epic film highlights the gallantry and exploits of inspired and empowered African women.
“The world always tells women who they can be; the world always wants to control women. It is therefore important that we have stories and symbols that show what you can become,” Williams said while speaking to the girls at the screening.
The media entrepreneur also gifted the girls copies of his riveting book African Power Girls courtesy Schlumberger, Platform Capital and Knorr Nigeria. The book was authored by Williams to inspire and empower a new generation of young girls. “The reason why I wrote this book and the reason why I have shown you this film today is because I want you all to know that there is something great in you, and if you can express it, you will be a true African Power Girl”.
Taking further the message, Williams spoke at the 2022 African Philanthropy Forum Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Leading the charge at the Forum, Williams listed ways men can help close the gender gap while further highlighting the power of storytelling. “I am used to [seeing] a world where people tell women what they can be and cannot be. People tell women what they should and cannot do. And I realised that it comes from a place of lack of knowledge, we must do more to tell the glory tales of women. What society glorifies multiplies. We must amplify these stories that litter our history and daily existence to correct these anomalies in perception of women,” he said.
Stating the role men have to play in advancing the cause of women and girls around the world, he mentioned that they need to be bold with their support for women, give women credit for their work, model the balanced world they want to see at home for their children (boys and girls) and demand for women inclusion whenever they see odd setups from boards to councils and posters for events and meetings.
In another session with students of the African Leadership University, Kigali Campus, he highlighted several ways young women can build the equitable world they wish to see. He went further to underscore the need to navigate stereotypes and ceilings through robust, knowledge-driven conversations.
At a separate engagement in Casablanca, Morocco, Williams engaged fellow Choiseul Laureates at the Choiseul Africa Business Forum on closing the gender gap in all their areas of influence. He also secured partnerships to further amplify the poignant message contained in his book.
According to him, there are plans in the pipeline to produce animations, movies and other forms of storytelling that will radically push the message of equality and woman-power. He hinted that strategic partnerships are being finalised to have these modes of storytelling translated into other major languages including French and Swahili to achieve wider continental spread.
Pushing forward with efforts to advance opportunities for women and girls, Williams ensures the African Power Girls book travels around the continent. In his outreach in Liberia where the UN Women Country Head, Comfort Lamptey joined the country’s Vice President, Jewel Taylor and First Lady, Clar Weah to lead and engage young girls in reading the book. In Botswana, he commemorated the International Day of the Girl Child in an outreach led by Botswana former minister and UN High Level Climate Change champion, Bogolo Joy Kenewendo.
Adebola Williams believes that centering women across the world – especially on the African continent where there is widespread discrimination, oppression, and abuse – will go a long way in accelerating global growth and development. It is based on this premise that he has chosen to dedicate considerable efforts to sensitize people on the imperatives of raising the next generation of #AfricanPowerGirls using the power of storytelling.