FemInStyle Africa is a year old today! When I decided to take the plunge and start, I had just won an award at a cohort I was a part of through my university and so there was a feeling of ‘time is now’ in the air. It was also in the middle of a global pandemic which prevented people from meeting face to face. Also, I had no money, so I was a bit unsure how it was going to work but it was time to try.
So, it came as quite a surprise when the first call for writers was met with such overwhelming interest! We had women from across the African continent and in the diaspora who wanted to be a part of the journey even though they knew it was a purely voluntary position until we were able to secure funding. I am proud to say, some of those who started with usremain with us today.
FemInStyle Africa is in existence because I strongly believe that media shapes public perception and if we continue to allow women’s voices and contributions to be erased, the conditioning that enables harmful gender norms will continue. I believe that representation matters and, in a continent, where more than half of the population are female, it’s ridiculous that women are underrepresented in all aspects of society. The aim is to amplify women’s voices and achievements exclusively, so that we teach the next generation of girls that their voices, contributions, and presence matter as much as men’s.
Starting an organisation that was designed to bring African women together in the middle of a pandemic is an interesting thing. We had to rely heavily on video conferencing platforms to recruit, meet and even create safe spaces where we can have conversations outside of the work on our website. From creating safe spaces on Facebook Messenger Rooms, to our Instagram lives, the aim has always been the same; to create a movement and a sisterhood that is free of judgment.
Understanding how our issues as African women are linked makes our approach an intersectional one. We don’t believe that oppressive systems operate in isolation so we focus on finding ways in which we can unite our voices to affect change, no matter one’s religion, sexual orientation, caste, or class. We are in this together.
We have been on an amazing journey in the past year. From the lessons we have learned, the things we got right, the ones we got spectacularly wrong! (Like the time I played graphic designer for a day and nearly caused a heart attack amongst the team!) and the impact we have made in the lives of some of the people who follow us.
As we continue to grow and improve, we make sure there’s always room for new talented writers who are willing to share their journeys with us, so please do send us a message if you’d like to be a part of our movement.
We are grateful to the readers who continue to consume ourcontent, to our writing team who make magic happen, to our social media team for the thoughtfulness and research that goes into how they create content and our senior editor, without whom, there would be a collapse of the system.
The future looks exciting for us at FemInStyle Africa, and we hope you continue the journey with us.