#012: Don't You Like the Air of the New Year?
Jan 2 Issue of Empower46 below. To receive more like this straight to your inbox, join us here.
My favorite part of holiday season has always been New Year's - something about the symbolism of a fresh start gives most people hope. You'll see it everywhere this first week of January - the cheery smiles, the pep in everyone's step, that glint in our eyes that says: "I'll be triumphant this year, just watch!" It's a feeling I cherish; it's a feeling I love observing.
In 2018, one of my most precious resolutions to use Empower46 as a means to continue elevating the voices of women like me. I'm glad I have you all to keep me to task.
Yes Empower46 is back - and boy, have I missed you!
Don't You Like the Air of the New Year?
Despite its many challenges, 2017 was a landmark year for women's rights across the world. In 2017, Empower46 shared that several African governments have committed to granting land rights to women, Tunisia now allows its women legally marry non-muslim men and has outlawed violence against women, and in August 2017, female candidates in Kenya won seats in the legislature for the first time ever.
As 2018 kicks off, there is the continued hope for improvement of women's rights across Africa. Tunisia was on a roll last year, with President Essebsi's commitment to bettering the lives of women and girls in the country. Hopefully, more countries will follow suit in 2018.
Read for: "In January 2017, few of us could have imagined where the global conversation about women's rights would be by December"
While Targeting Women Won't Fly...
Last week, the Tunisian transport ministry suspended Emirates Airlines flights to Tunisia after reports that Tunisian women were targeted by security checks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tunisian groups claimed that visas of Tunisian women in UAE were often subjected to additional checks and Emirates flights to Tunisia from UAE were frequently and unduly delayed.
Read for: “The transport ministry said it has suspended Emirates flights to Tunis until the airline finds an appropriate solution to operate flights 'in accordance with international law and agreements'."
...Women Continue to Soar
Continuing with their history of all-female flight crews, Ethiopian airlines did it again one last time in 2017. An all-female crew (from pilots to flight dispatchers) wommaned a flight from Addis Ababa to Lagos - the first time using an all-female crew for an intra-African flight in the airline's history. By promoting and leveraging all-female flight crews, the airline aims to encourage young girls to pursue careers in aviation. Fly on!
Read for: "On arrival in Lagos, the flight was welcomed with water cannons which preceded a ceremony to welcome the historic flight."
The Winner is Weah
Former football superstar, George Weah is officially the President-elect of Liberia and successor to Nobel Laureate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Having won 61.5% of the vote, Weah rode to victory with especial support from youths in Liberia. There does remain the intriguing kink that Weah's running partner is Jewel Howard-Taylor, ex-wife of former Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor.
Nevertheless, with a peaceful transition of power and a widely-accepted electoral process, Liberians - like the rest of the world - are hoping for the best.
Read for: "[Weah] faces sky-high expectations from from his base of young supporters, who want him to fix rampant unemployment and poverty, but deep skepticism from others who see him as lacking the experience and the knowledge for the job."
Our Genius, Njideka
Upon reflecting on landmark moments for African women in 2017, I remembered the incredible feats of Nigerian artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby. In October 2017, Njideka (daughter of late Dora Akunyili) was awarded the incredibly prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant. As a MacArthur Fellow, she was granted a no-strings-attached award of $625,000 for showing "extraordinary originality in creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction"
This LA Times profile of Njideka shows a Nigerian woman who contemplates home through her art and who is just at the tipping point of well-deserved success.
Read for: “I am trying to use my work, and my life story, to explore this idea of a liminal space, or a third space, where multiple things come together to yield a new thing"