Woman of the Week is Stylist’s weekly celebration of women who are making a difference to society. Here, we talk to Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, co-organiser of Women’s March London and founder of publication Women in Leadership.
The day after the Time’s Up rally in London, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is discussing where we go from here.
“The next step for women is to address the call to action and take their protest from the streets to their schools and workplaces and their homes,” she says. “We need to recognise our individual power and join that collectively to make an impact.”
Mos-Shogbamimu should know. A leader at the Women’s March on London in 2017, a co-organiser of the 21 January Time’s Up protest and Stylist’s Woman of the Week, the attorney and activist has seen first-hand how social and political change is enforced.
Feminist action, she says, “must result in practical solutions to issues like the economic oppression of women and … sexual harassment in the workplace.”
She advises women who’ve recently joined the burgeoning movement to think about how they can hold institutions, including workplaces, accountable. “Should there be regulators? Should [institutions] be monitored? These are the kinds of things we need to bring to the forefront.”
What we mustn’t do, she stresses, is rely on those at the top to effect change, or think that simply identifying a problem is enough to fix it. “The people you’re pointing out the problems to – they know the problem exists,” she says. “They’re probably part of the problem.”
Similarly, change “is not going to happen because a politician is thinking about it. We have to demand it.”
A dual-qualified solicitor, specializing in corporate law in both New York and the UK, Mos-Shogbamimu founded and edits quarterly publication Women in Leadership, the cover of which has been graced by powerhouses including Arianna Huffington and Dame Heather Rabbatts. Her career in women’s activism is long, stretching back to her days as a law student, but it’s only recently that she’s decided to step front and centre in the fight for equality.
“Everyone has their stage. There are people who aren’t in the limelight but have been doing this the longest time,” she explains.
Becoming visible “happened organically but with maturity,” Mos-Shogbamimu continues. “The more people I work and collaborate with, I see progress. So it’s important for me to talk more about these issues, whatever platform I’m on. I believe very much in individual power. Doing more means you need to find your position of activism and do something about it.”
As the Women’s March moves past its initial catalyst of Donald Trump’s election and morphs into a global movement for equal rights for women, Mos-Shogbamimu is clear on how we can chip away at the status quo.
“My callout to women is that wherever you see a gap, step it up,” she says. “Women have always been the bedrock but we need to step up higher – we need more women leaders. Be that representation you want to see; be that diversity you want to see.
“I want to stress this point: it’s not enough to point at where the problem lies. We have to come up with solutions. As Ghandi said, let’s start by being the change we want to see.”
The Woman of the Week series is part of Stylist’s Visible Women campaign, dedicated to raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present. Find out more about the campaign here, and see more Visible Women stories here.
Images: Courtesy of Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu / Rex Features