A-list TV personality and actress, Stephanie Coker, recently spoke at the UN.
She was a guest of UN Women where she got the opportunity of speaking at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 2019 panel. As an invaluable member of the panel, she shared how she’s been able to harness and leverage her brand equity in pushing for the advancement of women in Nigeria and beyond.
Since returning from the speaking engagement, Stephanie has written an essay about the experience, which you can find below:
”To be given the opportunity to speak at the United Nations Commission at the Status of Women Conference reinforces the notion that celebrities have a role to play in society beyond the glitz and glamour of show business. As a Nigerian woman with an enormous platform like mine, I feel it is crucial to leverage the privilege of my celebrity and visibility to start and push thoughtful conversations around Girl Child Education and Early Girl Child Marriage. These are two issues amongst many others that relate to women and the girl child that I am passionate about.
As a public figure and a positive role model to young women across the breadth of Nigeria and beyond, I have been able to leverage my brand equity and celebrity to foster productive relationships amongst young women whilst creating awareness around job opportunities and computer literacy – especially in the area of coding. It is without a doubt that, impacting young girls/women with such skills will not only make them independent and self-sufficient but also valuable assets to society and their families.
As we have witnessed in Northern Nigeria, young girls below the age of 18 are sold or traded into marriages as bonds or promises to men older and more advanced than them. Through my network and my foundation ‘The Future is Her’ we have been able to partner with other charities to create awareness for free computer coding training, free transportation, free feeding and free laptops for young girls in Northern Nigeria interested in coding. I have also used my social media platforms as tools to seek and bring likeminded girls together for mentorship and career counselling. The most recent of such endeavour was the Baker’s Brunch where I sent out a search for girls in the baking industry to spend a day with the CEO of Nuts About Cake, Nike Mejkodunmi, to learn about baking and running a bakery.
As a TV Host, I know first-hand how difficult it is for up-and-coming hosts to get their foot in the industry especially as women, we are subjected to sexual harassment from producers and directors. This realization led me to start the SCTV Presenter course which aims to teach prospective female hosts practical skills and mentorship on how to break into the industry on merit. I have also gone further to secure jobs and internships for some of our alumni.
I was delighted to share these strides and many more that I’ve started in Nigeria. I’m hopeful that in the near future, I will be able to expand my efforts for these causes beyond the shores of Nigeria to other parts of Africa.”