By Mawannomi Iyinloluwa
So, Who Is Olamipeju Adekunle? Peju Adekunle is an author and the host of ‘The Girls Show’ on Unilag 103.1FM. She is also the convener of ‘The Girls Revolution’, a yearly conference aimed at empowering young girls. The conference has featured notable speakers such as, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, Joke Silva, Mrs. Jumoke Adenowo, Mrs. Gbemi Shashore, Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Rukaiya Atiku. And recently, she launched The Girls Show with Olamipeju on R2TV. My journey into empowering and informing young women in Nigeria has been deeply influenced by my own experiences and the challenges I observed while growing up in Lagos. I faced avoidable challenges as a girl, and these experiences stirred the fire in me. I also witnessed countless instances where young girls made avoidable mistakes owing to lack of guidance and coaching. This often leaves them trapped in a cycle of inequality perpetuated by cultural norms.
This passion to break this cycle and provide young women with opportunities they deserve led me to take a bold step in 2012. I made the conscious decision to leave my job at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in January 2012 to start ‘The Girls Show Nigeria’. This move was not just a career change; it was a commitment to ensuring that young women in Nigeria have the support and guidance they need to avoid unnecessary hurdles and lead healthier, fuller lives. My upbringing played a crucial role in shaping my determination. The principles learnt from my father have been integral in my character development and my unwavering dedication to my mission. Throughout my journey, I’ve had numerous conversations with older women. These have served as poignant reminders of the challenges and hardships many women face daily, further fueling my determination to make a difference. Addressing the issues faced by young and older women alike brings me immense fulfilment. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling that I wholeheartedly embrace. What has been the challenge of raising a new generation of young women for Nigeria? I found myself in this mission of raising a new generation of young women for Nigeria, because I faced avoidable challenges as a girl growing up in Lagos. The summit, known as The National Young Women Summit, though succeeding The Girls Show, is not an afterthought, but an expansion of The Girls Show. While the radio/television shows served as platforms for informing and empowering young women through role modeling, interviews, and debates, the summit allows for a larger-scale engagement and partnerships with various institutions, companies, and individuals nationwide. This year’s event will hold on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium. It has as theme, ‘Thriving Through Tough Times’. Confirmed speakers include, Mrs. Titilope Adeboye, Victoria James, Juliet Ubanatu, Moromolowatike and Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende. These past years, the focus has been how best to shape and mentor the girl child. We have been addressing the multifaceted issues they face. Many cultures in Nigeria still hold on to the view that the girl child is inferior to the male child, leading to unequal investment in their education and opportunities. This deeply ingrained bias often leaves young girls untrained or with limited access to resources and opportunities. Additionally, the widespread issue of poverty in Nigeria presents a harsh reality. Many young women, lured by the need for survival, find themselves forced into unfortunate circumstances such as prostitution. These challenges underscore the urgency of our efforts to provide guidance, support, and empowerment to these young women. By addressing these issues head-on, we strive to break down barriers and offer them a brighter future. How do you combine all these with keeping the home? Balancing my work in empowering young women with family responsibilities can be demanding, but I’m fortunate to have a supportive husband and a loving family. Their understanding and encouragement have been invaluable in allowing me to manage both aspects of my life effectively. My passion for empowering young women drives me, and with the support of my family, I can continue to make a meaningful impact in their lives while fulfilling my family responsibilities. What is it about your background that has helped your career path? My background in education (B.Ed in English from the University of Lagos) has equipped me with communication and teaching skills that have been valuable in my career path. However, beyond my formal education, I must credit my father for my upbringing, which was quite strict. His emphasis on discipline and values played a significant role in shaping my character. Throughout my life, I’ve had various moments when older women spontaneously shared their life experiences with me, often unprovoked. These conversations served as a powerful reminder of the challenges and hardships that many women face, and it further fueled my determination to make a difference. Addressing the issues faced by these young women and older women alike brings me immense fulfillment. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling that I wholeheartedly embraced. My passion for empowering and informing young women in Nigeria is the driving force behind my work, and I’m excited to continue making a positive impact in their lives. Source: Guardian