By Gabriel Olawale
In its efforts to launch ‘WomenForWomen Fund’, a $1million crowdfund by women to support women ahead of the 2023 general elections, ElectHER has partnered African Women on Board (AWB) and AGS Tribe, as it charged women home and abroad on amplifying women’s leadership across sectors.
This was the tone set at the Women for Women conference in Lagos on Tuesday March 30 this year. It tabled common issues through moderated sessions on politics, equality and equity across governance, financial inclusion, business and entrepreneurship, with support from Platform Capital Group, One Women by Sterling Bank, GAIA Africa and Auroe scents.
With the theme “Women for Women Conference; partnering for Parity” the conference aimed at strengthening the ‘sister’s keeper and changing the narravtive.
A key highlight of the conference was the historical launch of a first of its kind collaborative fund The WomenforWomen Fund, a crowdfunding initiative led by a collective of three women’s organisation – ElectHER, African Women on Board, and AGS Tribe, with a goal to raise $1 million from Nigerian women home and abroad, for fellow women seeking to run for elective office in 2023.
The fund is a sub-fund under ElectHER’s Agender35 campaign- which has an overarching goal to raise a $10 million fund to empower 1000 women to Decide to Run and directly fund 35 women to competitively run for elective office in the forthcoming Nigerian general elections.
According to Ibijoke Faborode, Co-founder and Executive Director of ElectHER, the WomenforWomen Fund matters, it is a collective call to encourage multiple female stakeholders to get onboard and put their money where their mouth is. “If we do not fight for ourselves, who will?”
According to Faborode, as women become more empowered and take on leadership positions across the private sector and lead large business ventures, it is indeed time for the girl’s club to step it up.
“This conference is about pushing the narrative instead of demystifying the myth that women don’t support each other. I kind of feel as women rise and evolve, overcome barriers, succeed in our fields, it is important we grow with a sense of coming together with one common vision and purpose.
“Let’s start harnessing our talents and resources and put our money where our mouth is. So, the Women for Women conference is one.”
In her remarks, the Executive Director added that because they have different women organisations doing amazing things it was ideal to come together to create something and then speak to some of the issues affecting women from equality in the workplace to business and entrepreneurship speaking to the core.
Her words, “How do we move the ladder on women politics and election? I think that is one of the crucial conversations we are having today.”
Faborode, therefore, implored the women, “Be very unapologetic about who you are, focus on your competence.
“I believe deeply in myself and I work hard to ensure that I’m the best version of myself always and when I stand tall among equals I’m not found wanting. I can assert myself, I can communicate productively, I can engage, I can interact and contribute progressively.”
In her view, Abosede George-Ogan, Co-founder of ElectHER stated, “In US, organizations like Emily’s list have raised over $600 million to support thousands of pro-choice women to run for office. It is time to start building a similar funding base in Nigeria for women who will represent the interest of women and girls in political leadership positions.”
She, however, hinted that the unregulated growing costs of running elections in Nigeria, financial inclusion to de-risk the process of running and mobilize more for political leadership is more crucial than ever.
Reacting to this feat, Nkiru Balonwu, Chair, African Women on Board (AWB), bemoaned that the lack of funding and campaign support are key factors that limit the political ambitions of women.
“As we advocate for measures to increase the representation of women in governance, and as the general elections draw closer, there is no better time than now for frameworks to be put in place to ensure that female candidates in 2023 get the support they need,” she emphasised.
Also airing her views, Ife Durosinmi-Etti, Founder AGS Tribe, outlined that there is a serious need for more women in elective office and if “we really want to move the needle to get real change, we need to pull all our resources together to make this happen”.
As clearly state, ElectHER noted that fundraising for the fund would be carried out through a dedicated digital platform which would enable both naira and dollar donations.
The donations, according to ElectHER, will be carried out as pledges, ranging from N5000 to N500,000 with flexibility for anonymous and higher donations. All donations will be recorded on the portal through a weekly report, for full transparency and proper tracking.
Donations for the Women for Women fund can be made via https://agender35.elect-her.org/womenforwomenfund/