American tennis super-stars, Serena and Venus Williams have said that their visit to Lagos, as part of a two-nation tour that will see them play exhibition matches and train kids, was to promote women’s rights.
The sisters are both counted among the world and United States’ most successful athletes, sharing 22 major women’s singles championships between them.
Their trip is aimed at promoting “the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the African continent,” said a statement from the Breaking The Mould initiative they are representing.
Serena, 31, and Venus, 32, are to meet the Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, hold a tennis clinic at the Ikoyi Club, visit a puberty education class for girls and play an exhibition match before heading to South Africa on November 2.
“They are coming to Lagos to encourage more women to break moulds that have stood between them and their potentials,” the statement said.
Gender disparity is an acute problem in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country of roughly 160 million people, with the most glaring divides existing in the mainly Muslim north.
Worldwide, Nigeria ranks 118 out of 134 countries on the Gender Equality Index, a British Council study released in May said.
Always backs Williams Sisters tour
Always, a brand of Procter & Gamble Nigeria, is supporting the visiting Williams Sisters to empower women and young girls to believe in themselves in a bid to achieve their full potential in life.
On 1 November 2012, the duo will partner with feminine hygiene brand Always for a joint girls empowerment event at the Government Secondary School in Osborne, Ikoyi.
Together, Always and the Williams sisters aim to empower girls and inspire them to live their life to the fullest by: stressing the idea of sisterhood and that girls teaming up and supporting each other may achieve great things; teaching young girls the value of hard work, passion, determination and self-belief and leading by best example that neither colour or gender shall be reason enough to hold girls back and keep them from wanting the best in life and succeed.
The William sisters will attend an Always puberty education class and talk to the girls before performing with the schoolgirls the Always song “Little Big Steps” to empower them through a shared singing and dancing experience.
“Always’ strong brand awareness and established social media footprint will help to globally drive awareness for ‘Breaking The Mould’ and the message of girls’ empowerment”, says Temitope Iluyemi.
P&G Communications Leader. “We are proud to welcome Venus and Serena in Lagos. They are powerful role models for all girls and women who know what it takes to achieve their dreams. I have no doubt that each girl who meets Venus and Serena will come out feeling unstoppable”.
Their visit will also help raise awareness of the Always School Care Programme that has helped empower millions of girls in Nigeria and across the globe by educating them on proper feminine hygiene and puberty over the last 12 years. Last year alone, the programme positively impacted 1.5 million girls across Africa.