Facebook’s Zuckerberg hails Nigerian founder of women support group

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has praised a U.S.-based Nigerian woman, Lola Omolola, for running a secret support group on the social media platform where more than one million women discuss issues ranging from health and marriage to work and sex.

The head of the world’s largest social networking company met with Lola Omolola, who is based in Chicago, and posted late on Tuesday about Female IN (FIN), which was founded in 2015.

“It’s a no-judgment space … helping end the culture of silence that exists for women in some parts of the world,” the 33-year-old billionaire said in a post on his Facebook page.

Zuckerberg, who visited Nigeria last year, said he would be meeting more Facebook group leaders such as Omolola at the first ever Facebook Communities Summit later this month in Chicago.

The summit will help group administrators to “do even more to build community … and common understanding”, he added.

In response to Zuckerberg’s post, Omolola said Facebook had helped women worldwide to find their voices through the FIN group, and thanked the entrepreneur for “helping me create the world I wish to live in and have my 8 and 10 year old inherit”.

Although the FIN group is secret – meaning that only members can invite others to join and view its content – Omolola said in a public video that it aimed to disrupt the status quo and change the landscape in communities where women are not heard.

“I come from a community where lots of the time women have a lot to say, but we have been conditioned and we have been raised to keep silent, because someone is going to get embarrassed by something we say,” Omolola said in the video interview with Facebook’s diversity director, Maxine Williams.

Nigeria’s Senate last year threw out a gender and equality law that pledged to end discrimination in politics, education and employment, protect women’s rights and tackle violence against women after lawmakers opposed it on religious grounds.

Women’s rights activists said the dismissal showed the government was ignoring the dangers facing Nigerian women, ranging from sexual assault and abduction to forced marriages.

 

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