Tweenty-five years after the Beijing Global Conference on Women was held in China, the world has continued to celebrate the achievements recorded by women in the quest for gender parity in all spheres of life, be it politics, economy, the academia, the professions and even in space. The United Nations set aside March 8, every year, to mark the International Women’s Day, which features a variety of activities ranging from art exhibitions, seminars, talkshows, networking sessions, conferences, and other events. To commemorate the day, a number of notable women expressed their thoughts regarding the IWD and the status of women today, 25 years after the thematic Beijing Conference.
Dream, goals of women 25 years after Beijing still far from being achieved –Dr (Mrs) Nkiruka Ifekwem, social critic, gender activist and Acting HOD, Department of Business Administration, Bells University of Technology.
arch 8 of every year is a focal point in the movement for women right. Bearing in mind that women right is human right, and with so much discriminations and obnoxious laws still staring women in the face in most parts of Africa, it becomes necessary that the day should be used to reflect on these challenges.
IWD is a civil awareness day, that women all over the world are declaring that an equal world is an enabled world.
Women should rise, to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perception and celebrate women’s achievements.
Last year’s theme for IWD was Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change while for this year the theme is: EACH FOR EQUAL. Let all women be each for equal. The first International women day was celebrated in 1911.
Beijing Conference was the fourth world conference on women held on September 4-15, 1995 at Beijing China. It marked the turning point for the global agenda for gender equality.
Now the question is how far have women fared 25 years after? Has there been any significant improvement in the life of Nigerian women, for example, in the area of politics, cultural inhibitions, and domestic violence just to mention but a few. Has there been any improvement on the number of women participating in politics in Nigeria? How many women were elected into different positions in the last dispensation and how many do we have now? You find out that as the Nigerian political landscape gets deadlier, women keep dropping by the side. It’s quite disheartening. In a nutshell the dream and goals of women 25 years after Beijing is still far from being achieved.
Women should continue to work hard, hold their head high, maintain the highest level of integrity because proving themselves to be above board is the only way we can bridge the gender gap. You know, the men have glass escalator and the women have the glass ceiling. Women should muster all courage to continue to break the glass ceiling. A lot of women are doing that in the business and professional sectors where we somehow have a level playing ground whereas in the political space there still exists a lot of discrimination and we still see women lagging behind.
Affirmative action is a policy that supports members of a disadvantaged group that has previously suffered discrimination in such areas like education, employment, political positions etc. It is a policy in which an individual’s colour, race, sex, religion, nation or state are taken into account to increase opportunity provided to an under-represented part of the society
When affirmative action is mentioned people’s minds quickly goes to sex only. At times men need affirmative action. For years now, Nigerian women have been clamouring for certain percentage of affirmative action especially in the political terrain. Women have been asking of 33 percent, sure we have not gotten up to half of that percentage. So to close the gender gap in politics let there be a level playing ground, not affirmative action. As a lecturer, I have never seen women ask for the reserve of a certain percentage for girls to pass a degree examination. There has been a level playing ground for both boys and girls in the class and you see the girls excelling. Level playing ground not affirmative action will actually bridge the gender gap especially in politics.
More women should be appointed into key positions –Toun Okewale Sonaiya, Women Radio 91.7FM CEO
e must be deliberate and intentional as women in our support for and appreciation of other women. Whether you know her or not, please listen to her message. Where she is soliciting your support for a leadership role in contesting for a position in school, work, community or politics, vote for her; campaign for her publicly or privately. Put your money where your mouth is and support her with cash or resources to help fulfill her objective. Pray for her. The power and influence of one woman is big, the power of more women is bigger. The 1995 World conference on Women had strategic objectives and actions for the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality. Women in Nigeria have consistently ran and still running with this objective, making great efforts to achieve both individual and collective goals. However, governments at all levels have not matched the enthusiasm and expectation by implementing at snail speed. It’s worth mentioning that a few governors have started to pick up the pace with Mallam AbdulRahman Adulrazaq of Kwara State leading the pack by achieving 56.25 per cent female representation in his government, an action that is beyond expectation. Lagos, Kaduna and Ekiti states are helping Nigeria achieve gender inclusion with appointments of women in key positions. We urge others to emulate this.
We should aspire to be president, governors –Nike Okundaye, founder, Nike Art Gallery
or me, the IWD is a day to remember our mothers who have suffered and worked hard, to ensure that women have a voice in this generation. We want our young girls that have been kidnapped to be returned. The youths are our future and we need to package them in a nice way.
Education of the girl-child is very important; let them have different university degrees, so that they can affect the society. My advice to Nigerian women is that they should try and take more positions in the society. We should be aspiring to have more female governors, senators, House of Representatives members or even have a female president in the next elections.
In celebration of women’s day, we held a one-week workshop in the gallery for fashion designers, during which we taught the women how to make traditional textiles. The result of the workshop will be exhibited on March 8 (today), to mark the International Women’s Day. The modelling agency, Modella, is coordinating the fashion show which will feature fashion trends from the 1950s.
Don’t try to be somebody else –Dame Ibifuro Tatua, Member, Nomadic Education Commission Board
wenty-five years after the Beijing Conference, I will say that women have not achieved their goals, but women are not where they used to be. There have been significant improvements when in terms of gender equality, women development and women peace in some parts of the world. In some other parts of the world, women are still subjected to a lot and the acceptance for parity is slow, but overall, I would say we are not there yet because even in countries where they claim to approve and accept the Beijing Conference declaration, they do so to appear politically correct, but there are still some discriminations here and there.
My advice to Nigerian women is to keep educating and informing women and young girls about their rights and to venture boldly into any male-dominated field and ensure to excel in those fields. Be any kind of woman you want to be, don’t try to be somebody else. If you feel like you don’t want to be in parity with the men and it makes you happy to be under, then please by all means do so as long as you are not doing it against your will and if you feel you want your voice to be heard and you want to be given equal rights, privileges and opportunities then go ahead and be that woman.
Women, start gender equality fight by raising male and female kids equally –Eunice Iferi Chukwuemeka, Co-Pastor at Winning Power Int’ Ministry, CEO, Stop Hurting People Foundation and anchor, Destiny Moments with Eunice.
WD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. For me, it’s a not just a day to celebrate the achievements of women but to also evaluate uncovered grounds by women. I wish that this day brings a new confidence in every single woman to believe in herself, take up a healthy self-confidence and know that nobody, gender or organization has the power to belittle her and underprice her worth.
Correcting the gender imbalance in the workforce and creating a more equal and fair society is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important we start now and from homes and schools, assigning chores to children equally. In some homes you see the girl child given all the chores at home to do and the boy child feeling like the boss who only has the duty of watching films, playing football and hanging out with friends. This ultimately culminates in the mindset of inequality in self-confidence and productivity between the genders.
Parents should give children a proper and thorough training at home, a supervised freedom outdoors, and providing good career role models would help address workplace gender inequality.
My advice to the Nigerian woman is to start the gender equality fight from raising her male and female kids equally. They should have the same excitement when the ultrasound scan says you are expecting a baby girl as when she hears it’s a boy. Believe in yourself so you can believe in your girl-child. I say kudos to all the women doing great things and achieving big time and special congratulations to my sister, Dr (Mrs) Dere Awosika, who just became the chairperson of Access Bank.
We need to improve women economic empowerment –Princess Kemi Adewunmi, President Women Initiative for Advocacy, Social Justice and Empowerment (WIASE)
omen have made great advancement but there is still some distance to go. We have witnessed some increase in opportunity for the girl-child and more governments are now making conscious efforts on inclusion of women in decision making positions.
However, there is still need to dismantle the stronghold of patriarchy and deepen enlightenment for women to take advantage of the legal and policy structures being put in place for their protection. We also still have to improve women’s economic empowerment.