Commemorating the International Women’s Day is a global event to celebrate the achievement of women’s rights. In 2020, we chose to celebrate in style.
The commemoration of the International Women’s Day is a global annual event to celebrate the achievement of women rights and this year was no different. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, all around the world, this day was celebrated and Bays Planet was not left out.
This year’s theme “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” addresses women’s human rights in all areas of society tackling systematic barriers that hold women back from equal participation in all areas of life. Achieving gender equality has been unsuccessful due to multiple obstacles in unchanged laws and cultural beliefs which makes women are undervalued, paid less for their hard work, accessible to fewer opportunities and subjected to sexual and domestic violence.
In our bid to achieve gender equality for the future, this second edition aimed to educate women and men on how we can achieve a generation equality. We focused on the subject matter “How are we Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future?”
Our selected speakers and panelist discussants were experts from various works of life advocating for gender equality.
The conference took place in ABuja where Bays Planet Foundation partner with WaterWide, DataLead, Genius and a few others. The event was aimed at raising awareness on gender equality and educating the society of this decade of action on how we can realise a generation equality before 2030. Keynote speakers were invited to speak on the subject matter, “How are we Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future?”
We invited keynotes speakers of high repute such as RT Hon. Chidoka, the House of Representative Member Idemili North and South Federal Constituency; Mrs Bimbo Kila, the Executive Director Diamond Shine Limited.
Further, Aisha Jimoh, Abiodun Essiet, Sakeenat Bello, Lara Sowemimo, Mrs Aisha Zakari were panelists for a very interactive session during our Panel Session.
Although the participant turnout was low due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had in attendance over 25 people for the event in Abuja. However, participant feedback indicated the impact of the event and actionable activities to undertake from there on.
Rt Hon. Chidoka represented by Barrister Kingsley Onochie spoke on Gender Equality: Bridging the Gap in Nigeria Politics and Governance. He identified that globally, women are gradually redefining their roles and taking their place alongside male counterparts at the altar of nation building and politics. However, it is rather unfortunate that Nigeria has not utilized the full potential of its women and until we do this we may continue to be a third world Nation. He added that to solve this issue, there is a need for women to get actively involved even social and political activities; even in contesting and winning elections.
He emphasized the need to utilize women’s potential in the political sector, advocate for social issues that benefit all gender, as well as the national assembly’s effort to ensure women are not marginalised especially in the area of employment opportunities and otherwise. He concluded thus, “you do not always have to be behind, sometimes come to the front so that men will be behind you too”.
The second speaker, Mrs Bimbo Kila, spoke on Sexism or Meritocracy: An hindrance to women participation in various sectors. She addressed the topic as an entrepreneur, encouraging women to be steadfast and never give up no matter the circumstances. She advised that women can always do better as consistency and hard work will clear the path for them.
The Panel Session had speakers like Abiodun Essiet, Sakeena Bello, Lara Sowemimo, Mrs Aisah Zakari and Hadiza Jimoh as Moderator. The panelists discussed: How are We Realizing Women’s Right for Equal Rights? The discussant, Sakeena Bello, advises that policies must to be implemented to improve women participation in politics. She reported that in Kaduna state, there is an even number of female representation in all aspects of leadership in the government as such the deputy governor is a woman. With this being incorporated in Kaduna state, it is a motivation for other women in the state to participate and get involved in governance.
However, Mrs Abiodun Essiet stressed on the federal government inability to implement equal opportunity. An Equal Opportunity Bill presented to the National Assembly 5 years ago hasn’t been acknowledged. A biased statement made by a member of the house at that time implied that “if we empower women they will take over”. She recognizes the need to educate men about the context as the opportunity for women is not a takeover but to ensure equal opportunity and participation for a better Nigeria. She therefore advised that laws should be amended, and there should be a domestication of signed bills in both federal and state level.
Mrs Zakari also expressed the need to debunk popular perception of the society that women want to “takeover”. She emphasized that both men and women are key players in achieving equal rights and it begins with everyone in the room of discussion.
Participants were, therefore, encouraged to be confident because women are limitless and women can only achieve equal rights by developing capacity and acting on their abilities regardless of the barriers.
LAUNCHING OF PROJECT TRAIN AND PADHER
The launching of project Train and PadHer was the high point of the event. Bays Planet Foundation created an actionable plan to realize the right of women in line with Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good health and Wellbeing), 4(Quality Education), and 5 (Gender Equality). Our objective is to provide 10,000 young girls with reusable sanitary pads in over eight selected states of the six geopolitical zones and they are as follows: Anambra, Lagos, Ekiti, Delta, Abuja, Kwara, Gombe and Kaduna respectively.
Our goal is to raise 10 million Naira to purchase 10,000 reusable pads at 1000 per woman and girl. At the event we made a call for support to enable us reach our goal.
Summarily, the IWD 2020 unravels the need for government participation in actualizing gender equality, policy reforms and women participation in all areas of leadership. As such, the event was a call for women to build capacity, support one another, improve integrity and continue to speak out till their voices are heard because their voice is their power.