MY PERSPECTIVE ON THE 2023 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
BY DIM CHINWENDU A.
International Women’s Day (IWD)is a global day celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the Women’s rights movement bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Spurred on by the Universal Female Suffrage Movement, International Women’s Day originated from labour movement in North America and Europe during the early 20th century.
International Women’s Day is a Civil awareness day where women and girls are celebrated. It is an anti-sexism, anti-discrimination day held to raise awareness and galvanize change in society.
Each year, March 8 is observed as International Women’s Day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women from all around the world. The day also focuses on a call to action for accelerating gender parity and setting agendas and goals in achieving these targets.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
The concept of International Women’s Day first emerged in the early 1900s. Women’s Day first came into existence in 1909 and it was known as National Women’s Day. This day was initially celebrated on 28th February 1909, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and voting rights.
Around the same time in Europe, in 1910 to be precise, the second International Conference of working women was held in Denmark’s Copenhagen, where Clara Zetkin led the Women’s Office for Social Democratic Party in Germany and tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day, and on March 9, 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honored for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland together with United Nations (UN) in 1977. It was officially fixed to be widely observed on March 8 every year.
THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AND ITS POSITIVE EFFECT ON NIGERIAN WOMEN AND GIRL CHILD
The International Women’s Day has positively affected the rights of Nigerian women and the Girl Child in various ways. Before now, the typical Nigerian woman has always been active in agriculture, trade, and other economic and household pursuits. They are guardians of their children’s welfare and have an explicit responsibility to provide for them materially.
Most Nigerian women, in common with African women, face a variety of legal, economic, and social constraints, before now Nigerian women are known to grow 80 percent of food produced in the community and yet few are allowed to own the land. It is often more difficult for women to gain access to information and technology resources and credit. Agricultural extension and formal financial institutions are biased towards a female clientele despite women’s importance as producers. Women’s participation in the educational system is again biased due to socio-cultural and economic environments. Women are regarded as inferior to men and are not expected to aspire as high as men.
All these and more spurred the growth of women’s groups of which the International Women’s Day initiative was the convener. Through the various campaign and activities, women were educated and enlightened, and they also rendered financial aid like giving loans and other help through their various cooperatives.
Each year International Women’s Day sees thousands of events – global gatherings, Conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, corporate events, speaking events, online digital gatherings, and more which are held by women’s networks, corporations, charities, educational institutions, government bodies, the media, and further communities. Severally women are encouraged to be bold for change. In Nigeria today, the narrative has positively changed as women are adding value to our economy.
Over the years, some women have been referred to as heroines as they have done their bit to make our country a better place.
Among such women are:-
Oluwatoyin Sanni: Group CEO United Capital PLC. An African Investment Bank, author, pastor, wife, and mother of two. She was named one of the top 25 CEOs by the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2014.
Chinelo Anohu-Amazu;- Lawyer, Public servant. Administrator, immediate past Director General, and CEO of the National Pension Commission.
Ibukun Abiodun Awosika;- Former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, an author, and a motivational speaker. She was appointed a member of the Binance Global Advisory Board in September 2022.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie;- Nigerian writer, known as the Queen of African Literature, who has set African Literature on the globe, her award list is endless.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala;- The first woman finance minister from 2011-2015 was a foreign minister of Nigeria from 2007 – 2011, was the Managing Director of the World Bank. She is presently the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since March 2021.
Others include Oby Ezekwesili, Ndidi Nwuneli, Amina J. Mohammed, M.O. Abudu, Kemi Adeosun, etc.
All these women immensely contributed to Nigeria’s economy and overall growth.
In summary, International Women’s Day is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, or political.
It celebrates the tenacity, determination, and leadership of women and girls around the world and the immense contributions and accomplishments they achieve toward democratic societies and harmonious co-existence irrespective of gender.
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