Have you ever imagined a day without women?
On Wednesday, the world celebrated the International Women’s Day with the theme; “Be Bold for Change”, urging women to stand up for what they believe in.
It was all about having the courage to be uniquely you and being an example to be emulated.
At times, people think being bold borders stepping on other peoples’ toes and crushing them. Well, that is not the case. It is more about pursuing a desirable change in the society.
Across the world, some women requested time off work to mark the day in protest against existing pay gaps and violence.
The labour force
In the US city of Alexandria, women teachers requested time off to mark the day, forcing the city to close down its entire public schools.
According to the UN, only 50 per cent of working age women were represented in the labour force globally, compared to 76 per cent of men.
What also made news was the unveiling of statue of the defiant young girl facing the charging bull of the Wall Street in New York.
It spoke volumes about women and their abilities to create change. Across the world, leaders denounced patriarchy and lauded women for their great achievements in various sectors. Several companies were urged to embrace gender parity on their boards.
There were also several promises made by various governments on ending gender-based violence and increasing women’s participation in all sectors.
Back in Nigeria, some Chibok girls were still in captivity of the Boko Haram, being raped and subjected to all forms of gender-based violence.
The mothers of the girls have cried for justice since it has been 1,059 days since their daughters were taken captives. It was heart breaking to watch their clip on the Voice of America as they were pleading with the world to come and wipe their tears.
The world should not forget the Chibok girls who were still in captivity, just because they dared to get education to remove them from shackles of poverty.
In many nations, there were accounts of gender discrimination. We have our own “Chibok” stories of women still being gang raped by gangsters or even security forces.
We have women whose hands have been chopped off or eyes gouged because they were viewed as a weaker gender and so forth.
Women were still being married off while young and were rounded up and forced to undergo harmful practices like female genital mutilation (FGM).
We have cases of women being discriminated at work because they fell pregnant.
The list is endless. So in the face of all these pain, we need to combat violence and discrimination against women as a way of tackling immense challenges facing them.
Apart from raising awareness, ending harmful practices like female genital mutilation and underage marriage should be more than urgent a call across the globe.
All these will go a long way to increase female representation in social, political and economic sectors and eliminate gender violence.
One thing I know is that women were ready to take the world, they have already navigated through many barriers, let’s now make it possible for them by creating an enabling environment.