It is very inspiring to see women achieve greatness. It stirs the desire and encourages others to believe that with the same zeal, commitment and hard work, they too can accomplish such greatness. All around the world, women desire to achieve something for themselves; they are breaking the glass ceilings and pushing harder to realize their dreams.
Similarly, our sisters and mothers who are outside the corporate world are making great strides to fend for themselves and families. We have seen market women who wake up at dawn to engage in petty trade, some with their children at their backs. They work tirelessly around the clock to support their families, and many through this, have seen their children through to the university.
Many of such stories exist in our society and we will continue to celebrate them as women’s contribution to nation building. International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across globe. It is a day that the world celebrates women and pay great tribute to them for their contributions and positive impact on lives and the society.
This year’s theme ‘Balance for Better’ is inspired to globally celebrate women’s achievements and calls on stakeholders to speed up measures to achieve gender parity across the world.
However, the question that’s hanging is what does gender parity entail? Gender parity is equality in terms of numbers and proportions of women and men, girls and boys, and is often calculated as the ratio of female-to-male values for a given indicator.
Globally, there have been many discussions about gender parity but it looks like the call to action and closing the gap is really slow. As a matter of fact, the World Economic Forum estimates gender parity globally may now be over 170 years away. Previously they estimated an 80-year time, prior to that, it was 120 years. The gap keeps widening. The Forum’s Annual Gender Gap Report shows slow progress and minimal change in many countries worldwide. (www.weforum.org/).
One will therefore wonder why the issue of gender parity is difficult to conclude and achieve even though it is a raging topic that generates a lot of interest among stakeholders and advocates.
While the debate and discussions on gender parity are on-going, there have been some recommendations and solutions on what can be done to achieve gender equality. Giving girls role models to look up to, introducing fair standards for women’s inclusion, reforming legislation by abolishing discriminatory laws and introducing laws that protect the rights of women, getting more women into power, are possible ways to reach gender parity….
As policy makers and stakeholders’ dialogue and progress with efforts to achieving gender parity, what can women do in the process?
Women have come a long way and proven themselves not to be deterred by barriers or standards! Women at home, school, work and in the society, continue to show the world what they are made of.
This is a fountain of inspiration and encouragement and a definite way instil to inspire the ‘can-do spirit ’in other women and especially young girls to achieve greatness too. Women should continue to motivate and empower other women and young girls and help them work toward their own goals and dreams, while being able to stand up for themselves.
Women also need to celebrate themselves for their big achievements or even the little efforts they are making wherever they find themselves.
As women, we have absolutely nothing to lose when we stand up for each other, and cheer each other on everyday of our lives. Offering encouragement or a helping hand to a fellow woman, can be the beginning of another ‘great story’
On a special day like this, take the opportunity to motivate a fellow woman and leave a little spark with them, and don’t forget to open your hands and strike a pose – #BalanceForBetter while making a positive difference.
Happy women’s day!
By Linda Ama Segbefia