By Bukar Bolori
The Nigerian Chapter of the Forum for Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) has been launched by UN Women
through the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in collaboration with leading women from the creative arts industry in the country.
Speaking during the launch in Abuja at the weekend, the UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, said: “As much as we work to support the government to translate international commitment on women’s rights into practice, and into laws and policies on the ground, we are also very much an organisation rooted in women’s movement in civil society, because we believe when women come together as a collective, they are a powerful force for change,”
In attendance at the launch of this network were the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline K. Tallen; Ms Joke Silva, Convener of the Women in Film and Television International (Nigerian Chapter), Rita Dominic, Actor; Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, John Donnelly, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu; UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey; amongst other stakeholders.
Ms. Lamptey further stated that “our mandate of really supporting in this case, women in the creative arts industry to come together to help advance women’s rights is the key factor here. It’s important for women’s rights in Nigeria and it is important for us to ensure all hands are on deck to support the work on gender, the 2020 global gender gap index places Nigeria at 128 out of 153 countries, there is a lot to work to be done. This shows why this partnership with the Forum for Women in Film and Television is extremely important”.
WIFTI is a global network dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, video, and other screen-based media. In recognition of the important role that the media and entertainment industry play in shaping attitudes, norms and culture within society, the launch of the WIFTI Network Nigeria Chapter will provide an important organising platform for women in film and television to respond to gender-related priorities within their industry, whilst also facilitating their efforts to champion gender equality and women’s empowerment more broadly in Nigeria.
Convener WIFTI Nigeria, Ms. Ajoke Silva appreciated the immense support from UN Women on the push to begin the Nigerian Network of this chapter, “We have all been working individually on advocating for women rights in the film industry, working with UN Women brought us together to work as a collective and to work in collaboration on issues that we believe affect women and girls, we know the power that we carry in this influential sector, we know we have the power to shape minds, now we are going to learn together and work together for the good of woman kind, for the good of human kind and for the good of Nigeria”.
Dame Tallen expressed her thanks to UN Women and Ms. Joke Silva for putting together the Launch of the Forum for Women in Film and Television, Nigeria. “This forum clearly shows that there is hope for Nigerian Women, this has set the tone for other women organizations to also follow. We can never address pertinent issues without having women in the room, through this network, I believe a lot can be done. We can make progress through positive media delivery”
Drawing attention to 30th year commemoration of the 16th Days of Activism Campaign against Gender-Based Violence, the Minister of Women Affairs utilized the opportunity to call for the end to violence against women and girls, while stressing the importance for victims to speak out in other for justice to be served.