Ebunoluwa Osaro Akinbo is a Nigerian female documentary photographer combining her background in sociology to create visual stories with a strong narrative. To her photography makes creating different ideas and imagination a reality.
We caught up with her to chat about working with the New York Times #ThisIs18 project, and how girls can reach their full potential.
Working with the teenagers on the New York Times #ThisIs18 project, would you say that we are getting close to the age when young women are not afraid to demand for equal treatment respect from society?
Yes, I would say we are because women are now coming to the limelight and society is beginning to celebrate women in politics, in economy, in health sector, in photography, in legal, in tech etc. this has been possible as a result of women getting education.
Are mothers inspiring their daughters enough to seek independence, financially and otherwise?
Yes, mothers are, society has gotten to the level where it is not only the man that should be financially responsible but also the woman. The concept of feminisation of poverty in which women experience poverty at rates that are disproportionately high in comparison to men has to reduce. Hence, a lot of mothers encourage their daughters to develop a skill that can give them financial freedom.
Culture and society puts a lot of pressure on young girls and contributes to their growth and achievement, how can we change the negative narrative that hinders girls from reaching their full potential?
Let us first of all view gender as the male and female being human with lots of potential to be fulfilled and can only hindered when there is unbelief in the self. In this digital age, so many opportunities are available to help females and so getting over negativity from culture and society is the first step to reaching our full potential.
Society believes that women are incomplete without men, and this belief pressures a lot of women to go into relationships whether they are ready or not, do teenage girls feel this pressure too?
Girls who would feel this pressure are the ones who think that being in a relationship is purpose for them, when there is so much to do and achieve as a teenage girl growing into adulthood, relationship won’t be a priority but your dreams and aspirations, young people also change the world. Above all, there is time for everything.
How can the male folk; fathers, brothers, and husbands, become champions of girls’ education, especially in traditional societies?
Let fathers make it their responsibility to give their daughters education to secondary level and beyond, let brothers encourage their sisters to focus on their studies and support them in ways they can, let husbands encourage their wives in using their certificates to work and their knowledge to give back to society and also support the ones that wants to further their education. If this cycle is repeated by the male folks, nations would be educated because when you educate a female, you educate a nation.