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By Moyinoluwa Ayo-Ajayi

Women’s Group describes itself, simply, as ‘a reading group for phenomenal women in Lagos’. While this description is factually correct, it does not tell the full story. Created by Ms. Olu Mayowa in 2019, women’s group has gone beyond being just a reading group. It has grown to become a community of friendship and mutual support making a significant social impact. 

Stakeholders continue to rue the lamentable reading culture in the country, particularly among young people. Several young book enthusiasts have grown discouraged by the failure of their efforts to set up book clubs with and for their peers. Most of such efforts paint a familiar picture: the idea for the book club is received with gusto; the first few meetings are well attended and animated; after a while, attendance starts to fluctuate, then it drops steadily until it fizzles out altogether and the club exists in name only and on chat groups.

In light of this deflating recurring narrative with book clubs, what women’s group has achieved and continues to achieve is noteworthy. Not only does the book club address a cultural, perhaps spiritual need, but it also fulfills a tangible, practical need with its innovative sanitary pads-as-entry fee initiative. Although the group’s events are free to attend, intending guests must register online and show up at the venue with at least one pack of sanitary pads. The pads collected in this manner are then donated, through charities, to schoolgirls in need of sanitary products. Besides sanitary products, the group also donates books and stationery to primary and secondary school pupils via its Book Drive program.

For its inaugural meeting in 2023, the group will be discussing Francesca Ekwuyasi’s debut novel ‘Butter Honey Pig Bread’. Published in 2020, the book follows the experiences of a mother and her two daughters as they attempt to deal with various traumas.

The book club meeting is scheduled for 1 pm on the 4th of March. 2023. Additional details can be found at the group’s Instagram handle: @womensgroup_lagos. 

Whatever you do, don’t forget the sanitary pads. 

 

 

 

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