March 8 of every year is set aside worldwide as International Women’s Day (IWD); a day for celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity, with significant activity witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
The day also celebrate women’s achievements, raises awareness about women’s equality, lobbies for accelerated gender parity and fundraise for female-focused charities.
The theme of this year’s celebration is, ”Choose to Challenge: A Challenged World is an Alert World. And from Challenge Comes Change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge”.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for well over a century, with the first gathering held in 1911.
The colors that symbolize International Women’s Day include purple, green and white. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity. The colors originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
International Women’s Day is not country, group, nor organization specific. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network, or media hub, is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.
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 organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights. So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.’
One of the major objectives of the International Women’s Day is gender parity. It seeks to promote non-discrimination against women. But it has been difficult to achieve this in a largely male dominated world. Despite that, however, more and more women are continually breaking that barrier and carving a niche for themselves.
Our own Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recently elected as the boss of World Trade Organization, is one of them. Here is a woman who has excelled in what used to be the exclusive preserve of men. Not only that, she became the first African to occupy that position.
We have many other women in diverse fields making their gender and Nigeria proud, such as celebrated novelist, Chimamanda Adichie; Oby Ezekwesili; Ndy-Okereke Onyiuke; Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, among others.
Their stellar achievements should encourage others to challenge for the top. It is not enough for women to demand for lofty positions. They should be seen to merit whatever position they seek as the likes of Okonjo-Iweala and co have done.
We congratulate our women on this year’s celebration and wish them the best.