All through March, we’ll be hosting a series of Tweet Chats with women who are helping to forge a gender-equal world; women who, in line with the theme for this year’s celebration – Choose to Challenge – are tackling gender stereotypes, celebrating women’s achievements and raising awareness against bias.
To continue our Women’s Month conversations this week, we spoke with actress, YouTuber and presenter Khafi K. Ekpata about her career and how she’s challenging societal norms that are obstacles to a more equal world.
Check out the pearls of wisdom she shared:
What does the International Women’s Day theme, “Choose To Challenge”, mean to you?
To me Choose to Challenge means deciding to challenge the status quo. Challenge what others believe about women and even challenge what we as women think of ourselves!! Letting go of limitations and challenging ourselves to do and be more.
In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up the entertainment industry?
Because naturally, humans tell stories that are relatable to themselves. When women have taken up more space in entertainment (on and off-screen) what we see within it will be more representative of the female experience and HUMAN experience overall.
What barriers have you faced to becoming successful in the entertainment industry? How did you overcome them?
Women are often judged by their looks especially within entertainment and for example, making a decision, not to over sexualise yourself is tough but when you stick to it, others respect you for it. It is a process as new barriers can appear but we MEUVE regardless!
Do you think there’s a stereotype attached to women in the entertainment industry?
Unfortunately yes, success is attributed to hard work but female success is often questioned and prefaced with “a man is helping” or “she slept with X to get X.” Thankfully we have many strong women in the industry challenging that stereotype every day.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in the entertainment industry?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!! You were made for such a time as this and you have something to offer the world. The dividends may not come all at once but if you have passion for it stick with it. Enjoy yourself on the way to where you are going.
As women, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?
When we hold ourselves back due to past experiences, confidence etc society misses out on our contributions. Ie when a man sees a job he will apply even if he can only fulfil 20% of the job spec. W/ many women it has to be 80% before we apply, even if more qualified!
What do you think is the biggest issue women are facing today? And how do you think it can be solved?
Where do I start?! The main issue is breaking glass ceilings and what society has said women are capable of. For example, it can be a thing of pride to say “I’m the only woman in my workplace” but every woman in a space like that should work on getting others in too.
How important is it for women to lift each other and what does that mean to you?
Incredibly important!!! To me that looks like going out of our way to support other women and not seeing each other as competition but as allies. There’s room enough at the top for all of us to shine.
What is the most important thing you want young women who are challenging the status quo to know?
To every young woman challenging the status quo, YOU HAVE GOT THIS!! I know it can be a lonely place at times when you are breaking the norms around you but you are capable and you are stronger than you know! Keep going and continue to #ChooseToChallenge.