Women of the Underground Economy

Last week, I was nominated to be a part of a Canon Storytelling Masterclass in Lagos. The one week long intensive workshop was led by Kenyan Photojournalist and Canon Trainer, Georgina Goodwin.

The workshop was aimed at teaching participants on techniques for being better storytellers as well as thought process included in making a photography project. During the course of the workshop, every participant was asked to choose a project to photograph during the course of the masterclass.


This photo series aims to project the strength and resilience of the everyday woman, how they live and the indirect impact that they have on the economy. Women are the bedrock of the economic growth of a society, however, they have been seldom celebrated. Using the largest market in Lagos, popularly known as Isale Eko (Downtown Lagos) as a plot, I have chosen to explore the doggedness, the struggle that comes from their daily activities of these women within these spaces. These women, in spite of their struggle, are also women of colour, poise and pride.

A woman who had similar struggles and experiences raised me, so I was able to relate with these women. Doing this project and getting closer with these women brought me fresh empathy. They raise their children, whether or not they have the support of men and they work hard and support their families. It is a popular saying that a woman who raises a child raises a nation. The fact that these women play an important role in economic growth cannot be overemphasized.

The lessons learned from this masterclass would stay with me for a long time. I gained access into the lives of these women and their stories have inspired me. I will continue to photograph more images to enrich this portfolio. I believe that the woman is strong and her stories should be told.

A cross section of participants at the Canon Storytelling Masterclass with Georgina Goodwin in Lagos. March, 2018

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