Broadcaster, author and celebrated strong woman, Toke Makinwa showed just how much she had and is still going through with her book 'On Becoming' that gives us a glimpse into her world with her memoir on pain, faith & strength. From her Youtube vlog to radio to TV and other online platforms we know that she has always been vocal about the plight of women. So this International Women’s Day,  I asked her to give young women and girls some nuggets on how to stay “woman” in a world that is unapologetically “a man’s world” and she had this to dish:

  1. We need to empower more females out there to speak up, never get tired of speaking and sharing your stories; you never know who you’re encouraging. I’m very happy I wrote the “Unbecoming” because it’s about my rise, my fall: speaking up about ill treatment n relationships.
  2. I believe that if we celebrate the strength we carry as women, because most times we don’t want to explore it because we are not allowed to; we’re brought up to believe that we should be quiet and sit in a certain type of way and some dreams are too high for us to achieve or even aspire to.
  3. Things are changing from what they used to be and women need to ride on this change no matter how little and tap into this well that is within us, the art of creation of another human comes from a woman, carrying and nurturing life: when you look at how special and intimate it is to be a woman, I won’t want to be anything else.
  4. Society has made us believe that any in position given to us as women we should either feel lucky or it was just given us, we need to learn how to celebrate that we worked hard to get there and not just look out for yourself alone. Your sister is not your enemy, the more of us (women) at the top, the bigger the dreams become so that the young girl out there can look at it and think “I too can do this”. Women supporting women has always not been the easiest feat but we need to rise above our former  differences and see that there’s so much more we can do for ourselves, resist the urge to put that woman down, resist the urge to tag her by her status. So what if she’s not married? Focus on the strengths and not the weaknesses; the world have made us believe we’re the weaker sex so much that we celebrate than our weaknesses and even point out others’ which I really think we shouldn’t do, we celebrate the strengths as it will encourage us to be comfortable in our success or growth enough to support each other because in supporting another woman you are supporting the unborn children, you’re giving the unborn girls the opportunity to live and dream.
  5. We’re not all crabs in a bucket trying to pull ourselves down that mentality needs to stop; every woman that is successful should be an inspiration to you in your personal goals, public goals, and career goals. Rosa Parks will always be an inspiration to us and that shouldn’t be a reason to look at her and say “she was too woman”. I face that problem too, Makinwa says, they say to me “you wrote a book about what happens to almost every other woman” and I ask “what did you do about your pain, what did you do to educate the next person? Because you didn’t do it, don’t knock someone else down for doing it”. It’s just because your truth reminds them of their struggle and they go in full defense mode but I think it’s time we rise above these things and start to see ourselves as inspiring figures; ope person’s success should inspire us that we too will get there.
  6. On giving advice to her career driven 25yr old self, she says: Take it easy, learn carefully from everything that happens, and learn from your failures because they’re the ones that make you not the successes. Don’t stress about it so much just try and to go through the process the way you should because everything happens because it’s meant to teach you something and if you don’t go through it, you’ll keep taking that class over and over again. Live, breathe, smile and enjoy the process!

Which woman inspires you the most? Oprah, she says without hesitation. She makes it look easy, if you read about her journey you’ll see that she’s been through a whole lot and everything she has she worked for. I admire her for her strength of character, her ability to turn the negatives into positives, I admire the resilience: She was queen of daytime TV for a really long time and she both owned the space and used it to change her world. That’s admirable.