International Women’s Day is here and as always it is time to particularly celebrate women. Women, as we know, are the bedrock of society and it is therefore not surprising that a date was set aside to recognise them and say thank you for all that they do.
This year’s celebration is unique in itself in that the past year has been tumultuous, with the COVID-19, the lockdown that it necessitated and the economic, mental and emotional problems that followed.
The pandemic affected everyone, but it has been particularly hard on women, who are usually the hardest hit in times of crisis. Some women lost their means of livelihood, others became victims of domestic violence, yet they continue to exhibit extraordinary bravery.
So this event presents an opportunity to appreciate the womenfolk, who, despite the challenges, have continued to rise above their struggles to make something of themselves as well as support their families and by extension contribute to the larger society.
In this special edition, we pay special tribute to Nigerian women, who have indeed come a long way.
They have in the past few years destroyed several held notions in a very good way. They have broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings through their achievements.
They are present in the homes as well as in every sector of the economy and their impact is being felt. They are now being seen in areas that were hitherto considered as the preserve of the male folk.
Only recently, our very own former minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, took over the reins of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It is no mean feat as she is not only the first black person to occupy that position but indeed the first woman.
Aside from her, we have women representing Nigeria on the international scene and they have continued to give a good account of themselves. We also pay tribute to lead women in the media, academia, health, judiciary, transportation, banking, agriculture, and entertainment.
We also have women in politics, in the Senate and House of Representatives, representing a good number of citizens. We have women as deputy governors in some states as well.
Though the ratio of men to women in the political space still leaves much to be desired, it is safe to say that progress is being made and we salute the women making that to happen.
In the area of sports, women are not shying away. In fact, we have women who have written their names in gold. Some of these women have delved into sports predominantly occupied by men and they are shining through them and winning medals.
Apart from the groups mentioned above, today, we are taking time out to celebrate the unsung women; those who have not yet reached the peak of their careers or making waves in the formal sectors, but are doing their best to support themselves and their families.
This group forms the larger part of women in Nigerian society and we cannot but recognise them. They engage in farming, menial jobs, petty trading among others all in a bid to survive. These women are seen in the sun, rain, in the market daily, on the streets and in all areas of the economy. Some of them, through their businesses, have not only provided for their families but have also provided jobs for the teeming youths. Today, we celebrate you too.
Recognition goes to women who are not working for profit but to cause a change in society. Some of these women have through their words and deeds have taken youths off the street, stopped prostitution, stopped illicit drugs consumption among others. We salute you.
Finally, we say congratulations to all women out there. Happy celebration!