As the world commemorated this year’s International Women’s day, women across the world including Nigeria used the opportunity of the global celebration to press for progress in their fight for gender parity, equality and battle indiscrimination. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports.
For years, women across the world have been on a continuous fight to ensure that there is gender equality and parity while they fight all forms of indiscrimination against the feminine gender in a world that seems programmed to serve the masculine gender. Indeed, it has been a long walk to freedom in nations where women have been given a voice.
And to attain their ambitions of having a chance to attain their goals like their male counterparts without fear or prejudice, women had worked together; in advocacy, training and enlightenment for years to create a common front and speak with one voice all over the world.
The battle for equality has indeed been streamlined for the purpose of unity and synergy. This is the reason that women every year celebrate the global International Women’s Day with a specific theme to further inspire women in the pursuit of their goals.
This year, in furtherance of their efforts at
transforming the lots of women even in patriarchal societies, activists and leading feminine figures in Nigeria including wives of governors and other political office holders joined others across the world to celebrate the 2018 International Women’s Day with the theme, Press for Progress as a sign of the need not to relent in efforts to ensure gender parity and a continuation of last year’s event themed, Be bold for change.
This year’s commemoration is significant because it is coming on the heels of the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report that stated that gender parity is still 217 years away.
Activists in Nigeria linked up with others across the world and women movements to mobilize others towards changing the narrative and breaking the status quo in a way that will influence policies and reforms that will favour the feminine gender
The International Women’s Day is a global celebration by women to push for gender equality and encourage other women to be a part of the movement of liberation.
The International Women’s Day website confirmed this when it stated that, “It is a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”
The movement had been on for long and it had been a roller coaster of triumphs and disappointments; starting officially in February 1909 when 15,000 women marched through New York to demand better pay, shorter working hours and voting rights. This led to the establishment of the International Women’s Day in 1910 at the International Women’s Conference with 100 women from 17 countries held in Copenhagen.
And though March 8 is the established day for the celebration since its recognition by the United Nations in 1975, women groups and bodies all over the world pursue the year’s theme all year round. The theme creates a process of unified direction to guide and bring about collective action among women.
While it is a global celebration focused on a theme, women in different nations also use the opportunity to tackle a specific issue in line with the overall theme and usually, there is a march to ask for the enforcement of certain rights or passage of particular bills on such days.
Example of such is that of a group of prominent Catholic women that met in Rome to demand a greater say in church governance. In Nigeria, women across different states asked for the passage of the bill against s3xual discrimination while protesters against s3xual abuse wore black, waved roses and held banners of the #MeToo movement at a rally in the South Korean capital, Seoul
The battle was not restrained to conferences and marches; activists also deployed the use of social media platforms to pass across their messages. In the United kingdom, the Prime Minister, Theresa May announced the launch of a consultation to improve protection of those suffering domestic abuse. She did this in a tweet in support of the International Women’s Day and expressed her joy to be able to serve. “On International Women’s Day, I am proud to serve as Britain’s second female Prime Minister alongside so many other women in vital public positions,” she stated in the tweet.
Indeed, across Nigeria, women converged at different forums to champion the need for boldness, determination and relentlessness in fight for gender parity. There were deliberations on the importance of boldness in the fight for gender equality and the role women play in the home, society, in nation building.
Women were encouraged to break barriers that stand in their way and add value to themselves in a feminine way by defying all odds in contributing to their society and the world at large and not see advocacy for parity as a competition between the genders.
And due to the fact that many misunderstand the concept of gender parity, there were talks by some organizations, one of which includes BethZion Ventures and Human of Substance Initiative (HOSEI). Women were taught that feminism is not a competition with men but an orientation that women have what it takes to achieve greatness in a feminine way as gender is not a limitation but an asset.
They encouraged women to multitask and create diverse methods of getting tasks done in a legitimate way while using their brain, adding that most women fail to utilize their potentials but noted that while there is an improvement in the way women attend to issues of gender parity, there is still too much to do especially in the area of reorientation, social and behavioural change, adding that it is time for women to stand together against abuses.
The Chief Operating Officer of BethZion noted that in order to press for progress, women need to stand together and be each others’ supporter and greatest fan because the trend is for women to be the first to attack a fellow woman that decides to be bold for change.
“There is a need to stop being our own worst enemies and stop taking feminism or calls for gender parity as a competition. It is mainly a call for equal treatment and respect knowing that women have a lot to contribute to nation building. We need to take the advocacy as a duty so we can forge a greater advancement for women when we understand what we are advocating.
“Be bold and pragmatic in your efforts to accelerate gender parity. There is no need to be ungodly or deviant. When we are bold, we can put our children on the right path and influence the larger society; every child deserves equal treatment no matter the gender. We need to collectively run with the vision if we are to make a difference,” she stated.
Indeed, the celebration was an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and further encourage the womenfolk not to be discouraged and never allow themselves to be looked down upon as useless beings because it is when everyone is involved that the business of nation building can faced and significant results achieved.
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