Today we mark International Women’s Day. I’m sure somewhere in the world, a feminist has polished her voice after taking some banana to empower women to fight for equal rights, which sadly seems to be turning into a fight for ‘superior rights’. Don’t worry, I am not going to talk about feminism.
On this day lets acknowledge the role of women in lives. But then in acknowledging them let’s not forget the challenges and difficulties they are exposed to.
According to UNESCO, at most 76% of women are targeted in their life time for physical or sexual abuse. 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16. Of those trafficked across national borders, 80% are women. Also over 130 million of females worldwide have experienced female genital mutilation.
However, according to the 2013 Fact Sheet, 31 million girls of primary school age are out of school. Nigeria alone has over 5 million. Statistically, it has been shown that the level of education of a female affects the life expectancy of a child at birth, affects the malnutrition level of children and also hastens the demographic transitions to lower birth rate.
We can go on and on and on, but the point is, women are indispensable in our lives and a critical factor, if not the strongest pillar, of the future of how our communities are shaped.
So as we celebrate this day, be you a woman, a girl, a boy, or a full grown man who is yet to grow some ‘one beard’, lets take a moment to acknowledge all women. But to the men especially, lets not abuse them, rather encourage and support them.
I will like to end with the words of Mary Shelly (but then to the feminists) “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves” to help the less privilege ones in achieving better lives than ‘fighting’ with men on a war they, the women, are fighting without it being declared.
My name is Kotey.