2017 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – BE BOLD FOR CHANGE
“More countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development.” – Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
Very often when I was growing up, I would hear from many elderly people that certain higher level jobs were not meant for women. I would hear such pronouncements even from those I thought were educated and mature enough to see that high responsibility did not depend on gender or sex.
In my life, the most important woman I remember is my darling mother (my precious wife is equally important to me). She is determined and even in her old age, she still manages a business. She actively participates in the church activities and still finds time to take care of her grandchildren.
I have heard unpleasant comments that women are not as strong as men and therefore certain engineering work they should not do. Wait a minute, can a man do everything that a woman does? Gender roles are based on norms, or standards, created by society. In the United States, masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are usually associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination. What then are leadership and managerial roles based on?
I have been privileged to work with women all my life either as the manager or the managed. In both situations, I have found women to be a marvel to work with as they are usually a lot more critical on matters that require a much more robust approach and often produce results within time allocated. Nevertheless, I however have my reserves on how some women behave!
As a mother, her role in the development of the emotional psychological aspect of the new born child has been also very significant. She was not only the creator and maintainer of her child but an educator and disciplinarian as well.
Women are important in our society. Every woman has her own job or duty in this modern society in which men are unfortunately still the “strongest gender.” We can’t forget that a woman’s life is a lot more complicated than a man’s life. A woman has to take care of her own personal life and if she is a mother, she has to take care also of her children’s life too. Worse still, if she is married, additional stress can be on her shoulders. Yet they will still perform very well in the work environment in some cases better than their male counterparts.
Alice Paul posited: “There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.” Hence, I have a vision that one day, the world especially in the developing countries, will look at women as significant contributors to the GDP of a country and to the wellbeing of not just their families but society as a whole. I have a vision that within 5 years from today, there shall be a significant improvement in the numbers of women leaders at various levels (a situation which can be guaranteed if the rights of women are properly institutionalized within policies of organizations).
Today we celebrate women around the world. Their power comes from within. So, believe in yourself. Create your own opportunities and drive change for equality. You can achieve anything you set your mind on. Empower yourself and empower all those around you.
Let us all pledge to promote gender equality and work towards women empowerment. Start with sending some inspiring and powerful women’s empowerment messages and quotes to every woman in your life and make them realize they are important. Happy International Women’s Day 2017!
© 2017 Adeogun Oluwakayode.