Hauwa Ojeifo – Women Deliver

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2020

Hauwa Ojeifo

  • Age: 31
  •    |   She/her/hers

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I pledge today to continue creating safe places where women can talk without fear and be heard without judgement. You are not alone and your story matters

- Hauwa Ojeifo

Bio

Hauwa Ojeifo publicly identifies as a woman who lives with a mental health condition/psychosocial disability. Together with her experience with sexual violence and domestic abuse, Hauwa uses her expertise and experience at her organization, She Writes Woman, to give mental health a voice in Nigeria by empowering people with lived mental health experiences to tell their stories, co-create their solutions and advocate for their rights. Hauwa is the first person with a mental health condition to testify in that capacity before the Nigerian parliament on the rights of persons with mental health conditions, a landmark appearance that caused the then mental health bill to be stepped down for better alignment with Nigeria’s international human rights commitments. Hauwa is one of three inaugural Disability Rights Fund Diana Samarasan Awardees for Disability Rights Advocacy (2022). She is the inaugural Human Rights Watch Marca Bristo Fellow (2020), a Mandela Washington Fellow (2021), and the Gates Foundation Global Goals Changemaker Awards Winner (2020).

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

My sexual violence experience showed me just how differently women are treated and how much of our experiences have been silenced. I saw firsthand the danger of speaking up, seeking help and getting justice. I saw how by just being a woman, I was wrong on arrival and always on trial even when I am a victim. I still see how women are suppressed by oppressive systems and held to unfair standards in work and life. I see the consequences of out-of-school girls on the financial and economic power of women and how even women with disabilities like myself are often overlooked in the pursuit of gender equality.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

1. Becoming the first person (in Nigeria's history) with a mental health condition to testify in that capacity before the Nigerian parliament on the rights of persons with mental health conditions in the run-up to Nigeria's first mental health law since 1958. 2. Giving an Opening Statement at the United Nations during the Conference of States Parties in 2021 3. Addressing the United Nations at the first-ever (sexual violence) Survivors Town Hall (2019) in the run-up of the first UN Survivors Bill of Rights"

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy reading books, trying out different restaurants and food, listening to podcasts, having quiet times in nature and connecting with loved ones.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced)
  • Arabic (Beginner)

Speaks On:

  • Mental Health
  • Human (Disability) Rights
  • Domestic Abuse

Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:

  • Diana Samarasan Award for Disability Rights Advocacy (2022)
  • Mandela Washington Fellow (2021)
  • Human Rights Watch Marca Bristo Fellow (2020)
  • Gates Foundation Global Goals Changemaker Award Winner (2020)
  • Obama Africa Leader (2019)