Vogue has named two Nigerians as one of the top 12 woman leaders who changed the world this year, both sharing the Number 3 spot.
Fintech expert, and women’s rights advocates, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi – who formed a group with 11 other women called the Feminist Coalition – are on a list that includes New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US vice-president-elect, Kamala Harris.
Vogue said: “Whether guiding a nation with a steady hand or rising up against injustice, these leaders offer a glimpse of how to make progress under difficult circumstances.”
For years, women activists across Nigeria have used online tools to organise social change, whether it was to free the Chibok girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram or to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
In July, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi formed a group with 11 other women called the Feminist Coalition with the aim of improving the rights of Nigerian women. When anger about the unchecked police brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) reached fever pitch in autumn, they launched into action with their first project — and the #EndSARS movement became a rallying cry around the world.
The Feminist Coalition regards itself not as a political organisation, but as a community-building enterprise and women’s rights advocacy group. Using their sophisticated skills in technology and social media, they were able to disseminate real-time information, which raised awareness and funds for the peaceful protests. Rather than a top-down leadership model, Odufuwa, Eweniyi and their colleagues are democratising information as a way to empower the Nigerian people to make the change they seek.
Sharing the exciting news, Odunayo wrote on Twitter: “On a Vogue list with women leaders that I more than admire and look up to. Kamala Harris(!), Stacey Abrams, Jacinta Arden, Angela Merkel. This is so surreal and I’m so honored! Thank you @BritishVogue @VOGUEIndia”.
While Damilola wrote: “Incredibly honoured to see my name included in a list recognising so many women I admire. Jacinda Ardern, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams. WOW! Up FemCo! Thank you @BritishVogue @VOGUEIndia”.