Here at MUI, we’re very passionate about women helping women. While there are many people and events that could be discussed, the one that really stands out to us is the upcoming “Century of the African-American Woman” forum and gala curated by the New York City based WomenWerk organization.

This movement which was started by two young women, Nekpen Osuan and Demi Ajayi, “brings women and men together for a modern take on International Women’s Day, celebrated worldwide on March 8th.”

 

Womenwer Forum & Gala, March 8, 2014, NYC

Womenwerk Launch, March 8 , 2014, NYC

It’s all about one simple idea: creating a platform to help change the way women discuss, change and help each other to overcome challenges they face every day.

Their “Century of the African-American Woman” day-time forum and evening gala will feature renowned author Taiye Selasi, CEO and inventor Jessica O. Matthews, fashion mogul Adiat Disu of Adiree and Africa Fashion Weeks, and Professor Abena Busia, and even our own Ijeoma Genevieve Mbamalu of MUI- The PR Company will host the event alongside leading Afrobeats deejay, DJ Universe!

 

 

I was excited to get a chance to talk to Nekpen and Demi, and get a better feel for their Gala and Forum coming up on Saturday, March 8th. Read on to learn about the upcoming event and the movement behind it all!

 

1. What made you want to start this project?

We started WomenWerk to celebrate women and their amazing contributions. Our team is a dynamic group that sees International Women’s Day (March 8th) as one of the most meaningful but under-appreciated international holidays. Given, the many roles women take in building societies across the world, we wanted to provide a fun, collaborative and unique way for all to celebrate International Women’s Day. Our goal is to have the annual forum and gala grow each year to where everyone saves March 8th as a day to celebrate with WomenWerk!

 

2. Was there a particular event that coincided with it’s movement?

After a number of years of attending events for International Women’s Day, we felt there was something missing. Not only did none of the events seem to have little engagement, we often they often left little room for women doing work in sectors outside of development. WomenWerk firmly believes that all women have a role to play in shaping the status of women both in developed and developing countries. Our forum and gala on March 8th sets the stage to explore meaningful ways to reclaim the International Women’s Day for all.

 

3. How do you feel about it’s success so far?

Our team has had tremendous enthusiasm and support from everyone we’ve shared our concept with. We’ve been really amazed with how much we have achieved since starting in November 2013. Not only have we launched two successful viral videos (on our website www.womenwerk.com), we also have a platform to continue our work beyond the events on March 8th.

WomenWerk is part of the WebWomenWant panel taking place during Social Media Week in Lagos; we are also part of the 58th Commission to the United Nations on the Status of Women. We’ve really had a lot of fun building up WomenWerk and the forum and gala on March 8th. The whole process has been a lot of work but, overall, it has been an amazing adventure. We’re happy our mission resonates with people.

 

4. Who or what are you most excited for during the forum or Gala?

It’s hard to choose a favorite since there are so many amazing people participating in the forum and! Our forum and gala brings together amazing women from all parts of Africa who will share their thoughts on our theme for the year “The Century of the African Woman.” Check out our website to find your favorite at www.womenwerk.com.

 

5. What could we look forward to during the forum or Gala?

We have great expectations for both the forum and gala. At the Forum, guests will hear from internationally-renowned author Taiye Selasi, author of one of our favorite books “Ghana Must Go.” If you are into the thriving fashion movement, we have the amazing Adiat Disu of African Fashion Weeks also joining us. The diversity of our panels is amazing- we are especially excited about remarks from CEO and inventor Jessica O. Matthews and gender studies Professor Abena Busia.

The gala on the evening of March 8th highlights amazing men and women doing great work to advance the lives of Aficans on the continent. Our honorees include Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, current Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria and former Managing Director of the World Bank, President Bill Clinton and The Clinton Foundation headquartered in New York, Mo Abudu, Founder and CEO of Ebony Life Television, Africa’s first black-owned global entertainment network, and Dr. Mehret Mandefro, President of media house Truth Aid and winner of a 2014 Sundance Film Festival Award.

Guests can expect to have a great time at the gala with hosts Ijeoma Genevieve Mbamalu, Founder of MUI-The PR Company and DJ Universe, leading Afrobeats DJ.

 

6. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Each year, we expect to improve awareness for International Women’s Day by providing a unique platform for our guests to make authentic connections around the successes and challenges women face. We want guests to come away with more knowledge about the positive impact women are making and a greater sense of their potential as individuals to improve what they don’t like. Each year, we want supporters of WomenWerk to build a better network of international women.

 

To get tickets to the inaugural celebration on March 8, visit: http://www.womenwerk.com.

Additional details about the forum and gala are also available in the video below: