‘Despite challenges, Nigerian women breaking barriers’ | Dailytrust

‘Despite challenges, Nigerian women breaking barriers’

Mrs Angela Ajala,
Mrs Angela Ajala,

Nigerian women, despite working and doing business in a competitive and challenging terrain are still making an impact, says Mrs Angela Ajala, the President of the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme. In this interview to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day, she said Nigeria women are doing well for themselves.

What do you think of this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Choose to Challenge”?

The IWD campaign theme, “choose to challenge” couldn’t have come at a better time for Nigerian women, living in a challenging world. We should all take responsibility for the things we do every day and speak with one voice to challenge gender inequality; growing insecurity; rising cases of abduction of children; operating in a harsh business environment and so many other things.

We should let the theme define our responses this year and let it also be our call to action so that women can be given more opportunities to thrive.

The UN women also chose the theme, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” how can this help the cause of women?

This is also great, especially in view of the coronavirus. The pandemic brought to the fore innovative skills of women as they rose to embrace the challenges and overcome them through new ways of working. They had to deal with work-life balance and new jobs.

Many women discovered themselves during the pandemic. Many stepped out to acquire new skills and started new businesses because they had to support their families.

The pandemic showed that women are good at finding solutions to daily life problems.

 

What are some of the challenges women encountered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what are the lessons for the women folk?

Women went through financial challenge; mental health challenge; security challenge, family challenge and many more but instead of breaking down the problems strengthened a whole lot of them.

From some of the experiences that women went thought during the period, we understood that self-care is very important. This is because, women tend to look after others, taking care of children, husbands, households and others, while ignoring their own health and other personal needs.

I, therefore, urge all women that in the midst of everything, they should create time to take care of themselves because health is wealth.

I also advise that every woman should be financially independent to an extent so that we can support our families and contribute our quota to our immediate communities and nation.

Lastly, women should learn to speak up and speak out. Too many women die in silence because they bottle up a lot of things even while going through pain.

 

How will you rate the Nigerian woman today?

Nigerian women are indeed ripe and ready to stand side by side their male counterparts and contribute to a better society.

In the heat of the pandemic, women were in the forefront as health workers, caregivers, solution providers, and we saw that some countries that had women as leaders fared better than those with men as leaders. We must challenge the stereotype and systems to build a better country.

Nigerian women are doing great and this is clearly seen when they are given a chance in a system that is fair and merit-based.

We have many women that have proved that the women folk can deliver whenever they are given chance to work. The likes of the new WTO DG, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Obiageli Ezekwesili and others have really proved that women can give their best when given the opportunity in governance and position of authority.

 

What is your message to Nigerian women on this occasion of International Women’s Day?

As we celebrate the 2021 IWD, I specially salute and honour the Nigerian woman, full of grit, resilience, strength, kindness and wisdom. May we always be light-bearers and keep rising.

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