The International Women’s Day commemorated on the 8th of March annually celebrates the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women as highlighted in the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID 19 world”
The contribution and participation of women in all endeavours most times go unrecognized and underreported.
However, despite the challenges, discrimination and inequalities women experience, more women across the world are striving and achieving leadership positions in their fields.
The election of Kamala Harris as the first Female vice President of the United States and the appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the first female Director General of the World Trade Organisation are notable achievements for women in the mist of the COVID 19 pandemic.
No doubt the trajectory is changing, as more Nigerian women are moving up the ladder and occupying leadership positions for new development.
For the United Nations Deputy Sectary General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, a Nigerian woman who occupies a global and influential leadership position, the time has come for women in Nigeria to have a new narrative post COVID 19 to chart a course for Africa and the world.
“it is not often that you will get so many women at the helm of affairs that are Nigerian. We are really celebrating Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala because what she brings to the table in terms of her competencies, experiences, and leadership in different fora is an enormous amount at a time trade is the front and center of the issues we will have to address to grow not only Nigeria but the continent. So we have no reason not to succeed but our success is not as individuals at the helms of affairs, it is what foundation you can ensure is there for us in Nigeria to build on” she said
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen explained that women bear the brunt of the health, social and economic fallouts of COVID 19, yet their decision-making in response to the pandemic are undermined.
Despite the success of Nigerian women globally, women within the country still face persistent challenge of gender-based discrimination and denial as explained by the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey.
“We observe discrimination with respect to the level of representation in public where we have in Nigeria the lowest representation of women in elected office” she said
What strategies can the country adopt to create an environment for women to strive in leadership positions devoid of their gender, A former lawmaker representing the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Khairat Gwadabe, said “when the girl child is in school, we mut be active in ensuring that they are exposed to various opportunities for leadership and in choosing the courses they would like to pursue when they are out of school”
She further encouraged women to continue to development themselves and reach levels where they become cutting aged individuals with the qualifications and experiences needed for development.