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Wrappers For One Another: Bisi Fayemi Urges Women Leaders on Mutual Support

By Culton Scovia Nakamya

When Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi and her husband were defeated in the 2014 Ekiti state governorship election, the outcome was unforeseen.

Bisi, using her position as the First Lady of Ekiti State, had championed policy changes through advocacy. These initiatives encompassed bills addressing gender-based violence, HIV stigma, equal opportunities, and social inclusion programs.

However, the aftermath of their loss in 2014 left Bisi shocked. She had never imagined that even her friends would mockher for the defeat.

While speaking to Ugandan women leaders and feminists, Bisi disclosed that she secluded herself not due to the election loss itself, but rather because many of those she expected to support her had instead turned their backs and ridiculed her.

“That time was the most difficult for me emotionally, not because I lost the election. What bothered me was people’s behavior, including sisters I expected to comfort me,” says Bisi.

One of her distant friends later did the unexpected, asking Fayemi to take a walk around town, probably to one of the malls. She says this was all she needed.

While Bisi and her husband had their last laugh when they were unanimously re-elected in 2018, the previous experience was an eye-opener on how people need civic education on social support.

Fayemi Bisi wrote about this and more in her book, titled “Where Is Your Wrapper?”, a thought-provoking inquiry that challenges women to ask why they cannot provide wrappers to one another in the form of support.

Bisi explained that the feminism movement in Africa is facing numerous challenges, but key among them is the lack of support from the players.

“What I learned from my experience is that everyone needs a wrapper, and everyone can give a wrapper. When I stayed indoors, I needed positive energy around me. For me, this is what the feminist movement should be about. We have our differences, we have issues, unfortunately, but we need to come together,” she told women leaders.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi extending an African Wrapper to the former and Current executive directors of Akina Mama wa Africa, Dr. Maggie Kigozi and Eunice Musiime respectively.

Fayemi adds that patriarchy does not care whether feminists come together or not, encouraging women to work and fix issues together, and giving up should never be an option.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi was reigniting feminists and women leaders at the official unveiling of the women’s hub, also Akina Mama wa Africa’s permanent home in Kira, Wakiso district.

Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director of Akina Mama Wa Africa, said it is only through collaborations and supporting each other that woman shall achieve greater milestones.

Women leaders argued that there should be mechanisms on how they can deal with conflicts amongst themselves, then they shall learn to receive and extend wrappers to each other.

Joy Asasira, a gender justice advocate, challenges women leaders to create spaces for people who believe in what they do. She asked women leaders to come together and counter efforts by Ugandan legislators who are on a deliberate agenda to strike down the Maputo protocol.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa is also known as the Maputo protocol. Uganda ratified the protocol in July 2010.

The instrument, established by the African Union in 2003, guarantees extensive rights of women in Africa by eliminating all forms of injustices and discrimination, as well as protecting the rights of vulnerable groups.

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