Women’s Day Celebration

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Salamatu Muhammad

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually.
International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme:
#BalanceforBetter
The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people.Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
International Women’s Day (March 8) 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.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women’s equality.Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

Nigerian women have joined the rest of the world in demanding for gender balance for the development of the country.With every year focusing on a particular theme to guide women globally in championing a course, the theme for this year, “Think big, Build smart and Innovate for Change #BalanceForbetter, is aimed at continuing determinedly to challenge bias and accelerate gender parity. It’s also a call-to-action for speeding up gender balance in business, politics, media coverage and wealth across the world.

The National President, African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) and Executive Director, Ladela Group of Schools, Mrs Angela Ajala, while speaking on the theme for this year’s IWD said, this is the right time in Nigeria’s history to help find a better gender balanced world, adding that the theme, #BalanceForbetter, is very apt because in many countries, especially in Nigeria, there has not been balance for women in many areas. She said this is an opportunity for women to engage government on how to have a more gender balanced world in appointments, nominations and engagements at various levels of government.

She said, balance brings a rich mix to the thinking of what will help us solve the issue in Nigeria, stressing that we cannot keep having ideas in one direction. “Gender balance shows that we are going to have better outcomes in what we do. So, we are looking toward this in 2019 in what we are doing. One of the programmes we are doing with all our members across the 36 states is to present letters of engagement to all the 36 states governors asking for 40 percent inclusion of women in government to have a good balance,” Mrs Ajala said.

For gender balance to be achieved, she said women want awareness creation and implementation of developmental policies and opportunity to progress for women in government; “the policies that will push Nigeria forward.

“We are asking for regular interactive engagement with various agencies of government. Nigerian women need a step-by-step planning as we move on in the year and for the new dispensation to really move us forward to the next level in line with the slogan in gender balance.”

In decision making where women are demanding for 40 percent representation, Mrs Ajala said this is necessary because men are the ones holding majority of the positions, including at the ministerial level. “Take for instance, if there are 40 ministers, there will be only five women, in such case, and it will be very difficult for their voice to be heard. That is why we are pushing for increased percentage. Already, Rwanda is doing 50-50 and the result is that things

The most powerful agency of change for the modern woman has been Nigeria’s formal education system, from which a large number of elite women have emerged. Intelligent, educated, and confident, they can be found in all leading occupations; they now challenge many aspects of patriarchy and are gradually organizing to ensure that the political arena expands sufficiently to accommodate them.

 

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