International Women’s Day: Stakeholders make case for African Women
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It is celebrated annually on March 8. Maha Olatokunbo writes.
The theme chosen by the United Nations for the 2018 international woman day is: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.
This theme compels all not to turn a blind eye on, and be deaf to such unacceptable situations of violence against women.
The past year saw unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Global marches and campaigns, including #MeToo and #TimesUp were taken up throughout the world on issues ranging from sexual harassment, femicide, equal pay, women’s political representation, among others.
Echoing the sentiment, this year’s International Women’s Day theme is #TimeIsNow: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.
International women’s Day was first observed on February 28, 1909 in New York. At 1910 International Woman’s Conference, March 8 was suggested to be observed as “International Woman’s Day.”
March 8 also became a national holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917 after women gained suffrage there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
Global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concert performances, speaking events, online digital gatherings are observed globally to mark International Women’s Day.
The Day is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quater of the world population and majority of the 43 percent of women in the global agricultural labour force.
Women right activists in Africa have come out with a very strong and united voice to draw attention to the women in the rural areas.
They are the worst hit in terms of gender inequality. Though the African culture is seen to be hard on women, but the recent developments all over Africa has shown that women can also be given equal opportunity has their male folks. Also the current trend of domestic violence, rape, abuse and human trafficking in Africa is so alarming and the time is now to #pressforprogress and act.
With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress.
And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more, there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.
And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.