So, the 8th of March has been set aside every year to celebrate the achievements of women all over the world in all sectors and a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. With this year’s theme being “Choose to Challenge”, Individuals are being challenged to everything possible to truly make a difference for women.
How can we make a difference for women?
- Celebrate women’s achievements
- Raise awareness against any injustice meted to women
- Educate women on health choice decisions
- Build inclusive workplaces so that women can prosper
- Increase the visibility of women creatives
- Champion equality for women in sports
- Forge women’s empowerment worldwide
As much I strongly believe that every woman is a winner, I would like to focus on Nigeria women in politics so that this piece can inspire more young women to contest for political positions and to become more actively involved in governance. There have been many amazing examples but I want to highlight these women for obvious reason.
First on the list is Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala who served as the first female minister of finance and is now the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She is the first woman and the first African (and of course Nigerian) to occupy this position. I am sure that a lot of us watched her resume office for the first time adorned in her sparkly Ankara outfit and we all felt some sense of pride as she ascended those stairs.
Another woman that I must acknowledge today is Sarah Nnadzwa Jibril, the first female presidential candidate both at the primaries and main elections. The first time she contested for the position was in 1992 under the Social Democratic Party but she was placed fourth in the primary elections. She contested for the office of the president again in 1998 but this time under the People’s Democratic Party but lost to Former President Olusegun Obasanjo. She moved to another party, Progressive Action Congress, and contested for a third time in 2003 but did not win. She contested for the fourth and final time in 2011 and lost out again at the primaries stage, notably getting only one vote.
This piece would not be complete without mentioning Amina J. Mohammed, the fifth Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and the only Nigerian so far to occupy that position. She was a one time Minister of Environment under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the age of 26, Joana Nnazua Kolo became the youngest serving commissioner in the history of Nigeria. She was nominated to be a commissioner for Youth and Sports Development whilst still serving her fatherland at a Model Boarding School in Guri, Jigawa State. She hails from Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State and is a graduate of Library Science from Kwara State University.
In order to see more women contesting for all political offices starting from the grassroot level to the Presidency come 2023, it is imperative that you and I begin to create an enabling environment and provide the necessary support for this to become a reality.
You and I.
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Halimah is a firm believer that the education and empowerment of women are essential tools for lasting peace and progress in our society and that women should be allowed to pursue whatsoever path they choose. Born and raised in Nigeria, she has been described as "outspoken,energetic and diligent". Her passion for social change has led her to volunteer at a number of organizations that are passionate about having a tangible impact on society. Halimah currently works as an Assistant lecturer at the Department of Library and Information Technology,Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria. She hopes to establish a mentoring program to provide young girls and women with proper guidance to make informed choices aimed at personal fufillment. She relaxes by reading and watching movies.