International Women’s Day was celebrated last week, and despite the hype, some say the celebration has become routine and has no bearing on the realities of women in the Nigerian community. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE talks to women about whether celebrations are effectively addressing prominent issues in Nigerian society.
Founded by Clara Zetkin in 1910, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements, as well as a call to action to accelerate gender equality take action on the problem.
It grew from a labor movement to an annual event recognized by the United Nations (UN), first celebrated more than a century ago in 1911.
Although the day is celebrated on March 8th every year, festivities continue throughout March with events from various groups around the world. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, highlighting the importance of gender equality in all aspects of society.
This year, IWD explored the impact of the digital gender gap on inequality for women and girls, based on UN estimates that women’s inability to access the online world would cost low- and middle-income countries $1.5 trillion in lost GDP if no action is taken, by 2025.
However, there has been discussion of whether the day is celebrated in Nigeria or just a matter of routine, as some have said it does not seem to have an impact on ordinary Nigerian women, especially those at the grassroots level.
They argue that despite the day’s focus on challenging gender stereotypes, calling out discrimination, calling attention to prejudice and seeking inclusion for women, it has not had much impact on Nigerian women and that Nigerian women are in the process of pursuing gender equality. continue to face strong opposition.
This is confirmed by the Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), which said in its analysis that the number of women candidates in recent elections was low, with only 381 women out of 4,259 candidates in the presidential and congressional elections.
Furthermore, Ms Christiana Ojo, Gender Balance and Youth Development Secretary of the wealthy Nigerian Baath Party (ANRP), advised Nigerian women not to get carried away by the day’s festivities, but to discuss, chart new routes and devise practical solutions to the problems women face in society. challenges faced.
Should IWD be celebrated in Nigeria? The Nigerian Tribune interviewed working women and activists in different fields.
“In my opinion, no Women’s Day initiative has deliberately affected the lives of grassroots women. For example, this year’s theme is difficult for even middle-class women to understand. I would have thought that at least some effort would be made to teach more women skills so that Help them thrive in the digital economy. I’m not aware of such an initiative.
“I think it would be great to have a day dedicated to women to celebrate our victories. However, I think we need more than one day a year to address the challenges women in Nigeria face. I think there should be a proper framework in place to address the challenges that are determined throughout the year. International Women’s Day can then be used to highlight the measurable progress that has been made over the years.
“For me, I spent the better part of a day on the Gender Pay Gap app on Twitter learning about the pay gap between men and women in different organizations that ‘celebrate’ IWD. Interestingly, I only saw Women earn more than men in the middle income bracket of an organization. It’s great to see data that supports what I’ve always believed about how women are exploited across the board by businesses and organizations.
Olayemi Aribo, Associate Director, Program Management and Community Engagement.
International Women’s Day was established to celebrate women’s achievements, educate and raise awareness about women’s equality, call for positive change for the advancement of women, lobby to accelerate gender equality, and raise funds for women-centered charities, among other things. However, in my experience, IWD affects women living in urban areas more than women living in rural areas.
“In urban areas, we see some events on IWD celebrating women, talking about their achievements, gender mainstreaming, etc. Women are less affected.
The importance of IWD to the average Nigerian woman cannot be overemphasized because even in 2023 you will still see a lot of gender bias, gender based violence, patriarchy etc in Nigeria and we often avoid these topics in our normal day , but if we can make IWD a day, we have to talk about these things across the country, it can start to shape how many people perceive the issues facing women in Nigeria, and we can gradually move from discussing these issues once a year to discussing them every other day once. “
Bukola Afolabi Ogunyeye, Educator and Owner
“In my opinion, International Women’s Day has not yet had any impact on women at the grassroots level, which is due to people’s ignorance and lack of enlightenment about the meaning of Women’s Day.
This means a lot to the average Nigerian woman because it reemphasizes that women matter and are appreciated all over the world. “
Abiade Abiola, lawyer, lecturer and activist
“I am an advocate of celebrating the small things in life and making the most of every opportunity. So while some people think that celebrating IWD won’t have an impact on the average Nigerian woman, I believe they are pessimistic and think the glass is half empty, not half empty.” Full. When we celebrate, we are raising awareness that women matter and deserve a voice, not belittled. Celebrations are done in different ways and this is the only time some groups reach out to the grassroots in different ways The people and some needs were met.
Instead of asking why it is being celebrated, ask what else can be done. IWD is relevant, we just need more advocates for ordinary Nigerian women. “
Jadesola Ajibola, NAWOJ President, GM Inspiration FM
“IWD is not routine; now is a time to celebrate and honor women who are making a difference and to call for awareness and action on salient issues affecting women. This day reminds us of our need to protect women and allow them to realize their potential.
“Women are on the rise and it will only get better if there is awareness. This year’s celebration talks about women’s access to innovation and technology, and poverty is a key driver of this, so we need IWD draw attention to these issues.”
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