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Celebrating International Women's Day

For many people, women's role is being domesticated as the idea is that they are limited to household chores only. However, the narrative has changed as women have blossomed, embracing the freedom and opportunities afforded them just like men. The world is now accepting of gender equality as well as equity which shows that women can thrive and even do better under the same circumstances as men given the opportunity and atmosphere


International Women’s Day also allows us to reflect on the road ahead, what remains to be done in our quest for gender equality and how we might harness our collective energy, so that when we look back in another 10 year time, we will say “Yes 2021, i remember – that was a year of

great celebration – but it was also the year we resolved to finish the unfinished business of gender equality.” Of course, when we speak about gender equality and promoting women’s rights, we are not just talking about women's interests.


The kinds of changes that women have fought for and made, have been improvements not only for women, but for our community as a whole. When we talk about women's progress, we are talking about Nigeria's progress, And it is the voices of Nigerian Women that have helped me understand what still needs to be done. More than one in three women has experienced sexual harassment either in the workplace, in school or her local community and we have seen an increase in complaints of sexual harassment since the recent high profile cases which generated to the viral trend of #wearetired #stoprapingus


Women are still not paid equally for work of equal value. And this gap is compounded by the fact that most workplaces operate with a view that people who are paid more, matter more. The very existence of the pay gap further marginalises women and is an added burden. Not only are women paid less, but they are also perceived to be less valuable.

Women in decision making roles are still the exception rather than the norm. Without a critical mass of women in our parliaments or our boardrooms, women’s voices are still absent from the major decisions made in this

country.


We need to redouble our actions to reduce violence against women and their

children. In 2020, more than 3.5 million women in Nigeria over the age of 12 had experienced domestic or sexual violence. I know that we all hope that one day the situation will change and that we will see our Nigerian women given more freedom, democracy and human rights they should be entitled too.


Modern women of today are self-reliant. They are independent and self-confident in every aspect and is capable of doing everything equal to men. Also, we should respect each of them not because of gender, but for their own identity. I understand that we have to accept that both women and men contribute equally to home and society's betterment. Women are the one who brings life. And every woman is extraordinary, no matter where she works whether it’s a home or office.

They are making a difference to the world around her, and most importantly, they play a vital role in the upbringing of children and making a home. Our responsibility is to honor and appreciate the women who are making success in their lives and bringing success into the life of other women and those around her.


This International Women’s Day (8 March), we’re celebrating women's groundbreaking achievements across the planet - who are now paving the way for those little girls to follow in their footsteps.


On 15 February, the former minister of finance in Nigeria was unanimously chosen by the World Trade Organization’s 164 members to be its new director-general - making her the first woman and the first African ever to hold the post. Okonjo-Iweala takes over at a challenging time for the WTO.


When Iweala Okonjo made history to be the first Female to head the WTC my head span with joy, Madam Okonjo isn't the only one making Nigerian women great, and we have Mrs Demuren and Mrs Ibukun Awosika who are the current Chairmen of GTBank and First Bank respectively, Mo Abudu who is now a force to be reckoned with in male-dominated film industry and myself, the first female contestant under APC contesting for the state house of assembly in oyo state.. It's about time for women to start breaking the barriers that have held us down, making us assume we should be second fiddle to our male counterparts; we can achieve whatever we dream of accomplishing so far we put in the needed work and keep our heads up high.


We are moving towards an exhilarating time in history where the world accepts gender balance. Now the world notices their absence and celebrates their presence.


In the meantime, I salute the bravery of women in nigeria who are campaigning for equality and human rights, despite the huge personal risks that involves.


To conclude, it feels nice to have a day to celebrate the achievements of women. Thus, on this international women’s day, let’s recognize the significance of women in our lives and on society and inspire them for greater future achievements. As they can contribute equally to the home, society, and nation.


*Note: This speech was delivered at the International Women's Day Event organized by the United Nations in Ibadan.

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