To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, the award-winning Nigerian actress, director, and filmmaker Stephanie Linus released a monologue titled “Hey Woman!,” which addresses gender- and sexual-based violence. The project is a collaboration between her non-profit organization Extended Hands Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), where Linus serves as Regional Goodwill Ambassador for West and Central Africa. The video is part of a series scheduled for release throughout March.
“I created this anthem of encouragement, sisterhood and unity among men and women as a wakeup call to us all,” Linus posted on Instagram. “What hurts one hurts all. The time to act is now! It is up to you and I to unite against all forms of inequality and gender-based violence by saying enough is enough!”
In the video, Stephanie Linus sits in a dim room, with light on her face. Two drummers sit behind her, their faces hidden in the dark. The drummers provide a beat to Linus’ words as she addresses the unseen characters: Woman and Man. She encourages Woman to rise out of fear and societal shame, and she asks Man to look inward and repair his insecurities.
Through her foundation, which works to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, Stephanie Linus has addressed cases of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF). Her work earned her the 2007 Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence and the Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award. Her 2014 film Dry, which she wrote, produced, and directed, is based on cases of VVF and child marriage.
On 9 March 2021, at 8 pm GMT, Stephanie Linus will have a conversation with UNFPA’s Country Representative Ms Ulla Mueller on an Instagram live stream. They will discuss “The Urgent Need to End Gender-Based Violence and Other Harmful Practices.”
Watch “Hey Woman!” below.
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Uzoma Ihejirika is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He is an editor for the AfroAnthology Series and a copy editor for Minority Africa and has written for Open Country Mag. He has a short story on Lolwe.