Curating Change: Hafsat Abiola on Justice

[Editor's Note: The following was written by Hafsat Abiola, a Nigerian activist and the second guest curator for IMOW's Curating Change project. Hafsat has selected a series of stories from IMOW's exhibition archives on Justice. She wrote this blog post for IMOW as part of her curated selections.]

Hafsat Abiola
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The hopeful story in the entries I chose for Curating Change, from all over the world on the theme of Justice, is that women at the grassroots are claiming gender justice and equity for themselves. The surprising story is that the weakest link for women’s equitable representation, for women’s access to justice, are those capable of taking their place at the decision-making table at the global/macro level. Perhaps because these women are shielded from the daily struggle for survival that confronts the majority of people around the world, they are more susceptible to the notion that women can afford to play small. Yet, it takes two hands to have a handshake.

Whereas women at the grassroots reach out their hand to their sisters, so long as women who enter the corridors of power do not reach across, efforts at the grassroots will not be enough to transform the reality of women around the world. It is remarkable that the women who are so well-educated, who can draw from greater reserves of support to address the challenges ahead, have allowed their vision to narrow in on the smallest of things. How ironic that those who could contribute the most are the least inclined to get involved in the struggle for justice.

So, I consider this blog entry and selection for Curating Change to be a holding place for all of us women who can make our way into the global/macro platforms. It’s a call to act with the same audacity, spirit of defiance and commitment to justice our sisters at the communal, grassroots level have done. The idea that we can stand on the sidelines of history and not get involved in the affairs of our time is an illusion from which we should awaken quickly.