On the 15th of February, Nigerians and indeed the world, beamed with joy and celebration as we saw the emergence of the versatile and consummate Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Her emergence to fill this very critical position was remarkable for some reasons, but what resonated with many was the fact that she is the first woman, and the foremost African to clinch this coveted position in the history of the organization.
It is fulfilling to know that her emergence has nothing to do with her gender, but everything to do with capacity, content and leadership that can bring about the needed reforms and transformation so the WTO can serve its strategic role in ensuring equitable and fair trade among member states.
This was also our reality when the Covid-19 pandemic that defiled every conventional means of control broke out. We saw and continue to see how women exhibited leadership and frontline roles to save lives and livelihood across the globe.
In the face of all these and many other invaluable roles women play and will continue to play to make the world a better place, this year’s IWD theme: “ChooseToChallenge” is apt, and underscores the need for women to push beyond societal and cultural limits while challenging for equality in leadership, politics, economics, education, commercial and other areas of life.
SING Nigeria specially wants to celebrate the laudable efforts by women across the globe in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The submissions from UN Women should indeed arouse all interest in the role of Women, especially in the fight against Covid-19; either as “health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic”, or the fact that:
“Majority of the countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, are headed by women. For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19, as well as the compassionate communication of fact-based public health information”.
Hence, we advocate for equality and Women participation in all spheres of life, as we express the belief that Women can inspire great transformation and change in our societies. Therefore, having visionary Women in leadership in a Covid-19 world is the beginning of a better world for us all.
The NOI example is fresh and dear to us, and we are calling on stakeholders to support efforts at ensuring a fair playing ground for leadership ascension for Women at every level of the society.
Nevertheless, this year’s theme should also be an eye-opener for all Women; that equality will not come at a platter of gold, it must be worked for, Women must deliberately choose to cause a disruption in a heavily patriarchal society for them to be reckoned with in hitherto Men dominated areas.
On this special day dedicated to celebrating Women globally, SING Nigeria joins in extending our congratulations and thumbs up to all resilient Women that have contributed in no mean measure to making our world a better place; as we say to all Women; “#ChooseToChallenge”.
Public Relations Officer