Sijuade Yusuf is a PhD student researching the use of social media for addressing gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa. Following her first degree in Agricultural Science, Sijuade spent eight years working in banking in Nigeria, where she became increasingly aware of sexual discrimination, both through her own experience of it and the experiences of those around her.

“Africa is quite patriarchal, throughout all aspects of society, and this impacts on so many gender equality issues. It can feel as if people are waiting for a saviour to bring about change in this area and I started to wonder what I could do to help make that change happen,” says Sijuade.

She started journaling and sharing her own experiences of inequality on Facebook, and soon found that by doing this she wasn’t just finding a voice for herself but that it opened the door for others to share their stories of discrimination and inequality. This led to Sijuade writing articles about women’s inequality in Nigeria. She then decided that given the importance of social and other media in spreading feminist ideas and activism, she should study media and communications and build her understanding of it.

“I wanted to learn more about the topic and become an authority on it in order to help create change,” she says. “While I was working on my master’s degree in communications, I decided at the outset that I wanted to continue my studies into doctoral research. I was determined to become an expert in this field. Through that expertise I hope to be instrumental in bringing about some of the changes needed to create gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Sijuade works with two research centres at the University of Brighton – the Centre for Digital Cultures and Innovation (CDCI), and the Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender (CTSG). She is also on the management board of the CDCI where she represents the interests of post graduate researchers. This role is a continuation of her activity to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that decision making involves the different people and groups affected by it.

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