High heels are entering a man’s domain!

When you hear the lyrics to Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” it would be natural to assume it is a song which supports man bashing but apart from the fact that it was written by men, if you dig deep beneath the surface you’ll realise that the lyrics are simply promoting equal rights and women being able to achieve the same things men can. It is no secret that women have been trying to prove themselves equal to men  and this struggle stems from as far back as we can remember or cannot remember for this matter. But it is even more obvious here in Africa and even closer to home, Nigeria.

Let’s take the principle of “feminism”. A lot of people get the belief of feminism wrong and even I used to be guilty of this. You see, feminism is not about man hating, it’s not about wanting to make men extinct and it’s definitely not about thinking women are better than men.

People used to ask me “are you a feminist?” and with a tone of “God forbid!” I would say “No way!” but after educating myself I can now proudly say “yes, I am a feminist” and before you dismiss me, let me tell you why. Many people think that being a feminist means you’re a ‘tom boy’, you don’t believe in marriage or if you do believe in marriage you’d be the dominant one. Let me put this straight right now, feminism simply put is the belief that men and women should have EQUAL rights and opportunities. Even men can be and are being encouraged to be feminists. English actress and model Emma Watson recently gave a speech at a United Nations event about feminism and women’s rights, for which she received a standing ovation. Now that’s a young woman who knows her rights and is doing something about it!

Let’s take the media industry for example. For years it was the men that dominated our screens from news broadcasting to playing lead roles in films. However, with times changing women have been able to get their whole bodies through the door, and then some. It can be observed that the main ways in which women both home and abroad have moved forward and are gaining more prominence within the media is by being visible but most importantly NETWORKING!  Years ago, women were not usually seen at functions (I’d bet my bottom dollar that this was due to the old traditional way of life, women belonging in the kitchen and all that jazz) but nowadays, women have a louder voice.

While women in the western world are climbing the industrial ladder, they are still being ripped off to the men but research conducted by the International Women’s Media Foundation actually revealed that in Nigeria, women in journalism are paid the same if not more than men. Nigerian women are obviously doing something right. On a bitter-sweet note, 80.5% of all working characters portrayed in American films are male whilst 19.5% are female when in reality, statistics show that females make up 50% of the work-force.

Executive Chairman and CEO of EbonyLife TV, Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle network, Mo Abudu , was a speaker at the 2014 MIPCOM’s Women In Global Entertainment Power Lunch which held at Auditorium Esterel, Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France, recently.

Mo Abudu and other prominent female figures in Media came together to celebrate 30 years of Marché Internationale de Programmes Communications (MIPCOM) which in English translates as International Market of Communications Programmes. This was yet another opportunity for them to NETWORK! Out of networking, pioneers are birthed and groomed, never stop networking!

Mo Abudu, who grew up in the UK and Nigeria, has been hailed by Forbes magazine as the first African woman to launch a pan-African TV network, selected by The Hollywood Reporter last year as one of the 25 Most powerful Women in Global TV, and voted 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year by WomenWerk, the New York-based Ivy League-inspired organization.

Mo, acclaimed by CNN’s Leading Women programme as the woman who ‘conquered the continent’ as a result of her vast and sterling contributions to the growth and development of the African media and entertainment industry, spoke on the topic – “Driving The Quest for the Audience: Channel distribution strategies for success”.

“I am representing EbonyLife TV, female executives in our company, African female practitioners, as well as would-be African female practitioners in the media and entertainment industry at large,” she said of her participation in the Power Lunch.

“This is the age of women empowerment and advancement in the media as well as in every other viable sector of the African and global economy. Women must rise and take their place as equal partners.”

Mo was also a key speaker at the Global Hotspots on Nigeria, organized at the 2014 MIPCOM by the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation and titled, “Expanding Horizons in Nigeria: The Nollywood Case Study”.

The Women In Global Entertainment Power Lunch is sponsored by Lifetime Networks. EbonyLife TV was a partner for the inaugural Global Channel Distribution Day.

Women are fast rising up the industrial ladder and although there is still quite a way to go, it is great to see that men are slowly but surely starting to see women as equals and as team-mates rather than enemies or “less than” worthy.

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