Building wealth is not gender-specific and Stripped is Solape Akinpelu’s ingenious attempt at introducing new perspectives to building generational wealth, especially as a woman. While aspiring to a luxurious lifestyle and an appellation of “emi oga” is not such a hideous thing, striving personally to bequeath wealth that would transcend generations sounds better. Women cannot keep conferring the job of wealth-building to their male counterparts and expect history to rewrite itself.
In the first few chapters of this book, the author takes us back to pre-colonial African women, and how hardworking and irrepressibly versatile they were. As a matter of fact, they were so affluent that they held important positions in their society and their men did not challenge them. The icon, Nike Davies of the Nike Art Gallery, testifies to this statement. Akinpelu’s further research reaches the shores of Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, etc., revealing details of women who soared and prospered and blessed others in their wake. How then have women fallen so far from grace that just 336 of them were billionaires as of 2019 out of a total of 2,825 billionaires?
The author ties the reason to “The Great Conditioning”. This is the norm that the missionaries created as they “taught the girls domestic skills with the end goal of being homemakers. Whereas, the men were taught literacy lessons and other hard skills like carpentry and masonry.” We can all agree to an extent that this great conditioning brought on by the colonial masters still indirectly has the African society in a chokehold with women paying the heaviest price for it. But there is hope yet for the African woman. In proposing ways to change the narrative, the author begins by quoting Chimamanda Adichie, “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not in our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”
Just recently, Chimamanda exemplifies this saying as she becomes the Odeluwa (Writer for the World) for her hometown Abba, a chieftaincy title conferred on her for her influence in the world of literature. Many of us admired her for this feat and also her people who have remade their culture/mindset to accommodate the full humanity of women. This is majorly the point Solape Akinpelu drives at when she says, “To begin your journey to wealth creation and growth, you need a change in mindset.” We are aware that the patriarchal constructs innately built into society might prove to be an obstruction, but one that will hold only when our mindsets allow it. Thoughts of scaring off a man because we are making more money than him should not take a front seat in our minds and deter us from making said money. A man who is intimidated by your net worth as a woman is a man you should have no interest in. Akinpelu says as much when she sets out to debunk myths about women in relation to building wealth.
Stripped is segmented into three and each part explores the stages of wealth-building in detail. You might want to grab a copy of the book to avail yourself of the full extent of the knowledge imparted in this book. Akinpelu walks us through creating wealth by expanding our means and putting our money to work. As expected, this involves a life of discipline, sacrifice and knowing when to say no. It involves taking risks, avoiding risks and managing risks. It is a combination of budgeting, saving and investing wisely. Ultimately, a woman who has set out to build wealth must be prepared to do the work, no matter how gruelling.