"Make it Happen" for The Nigerian Woman
"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform" - Diane Mariechild
When asked, a suitable answer is rarely or never given to the question - "Who is a woman?". As a matter of fact, no one adequately describes a woman in a simple sentence. This doesn't mean bad. It simply speaks the obvious truth; a woman is everything great and more. The ever revolving world of feminists and gender equality activists has produced lots of definitions and mind-blowing descriptions as to who a woman is. A "woman" means different things to different people but above all, we can reasonably agree that a woman is a flawless being with inherent attributes of endless optimism, pure warmth, plenitude and motherliness. Elizabeth Prioleau, a renowned author once acknowledged that; "with the spread of conformity and image driven superficiality, the allure of an individuated woman in full possession of herself and her powers will prove irresistible".
The strength, knowledge and skill of a woman can never be underestimated. This is apparent in various world societies today. Though women, to a very large extent still seem to be side-lined, it is quite heartwarming to know that new grounds are being broken and more powerful positions are being occupied by women in highly civilized nations across the world on a daily basis. The constant need for gender equality and security has brought together various global institutions and organizations such as the United Nations to further advocate for the better treatment, respect and recognition of the womenfolk globe-wide. This is why the International Women's Day is being celebrated on the 8th day of March, every year.
The selected theme for this year's event was "Make it Happen", aimed at "making it happen" for women in terms of employment, good health care services, independence, emotional strength and stability, security, gender, equality, respect, better treatment and recognition all over the world.
To celebrate this year's event, and to create the much needed awareness, I met and conducted interviews with some women doing great things for themselves and their immediate society. This was aired on my radio show; "Heart Matters" on the 8th of March (the same day as the IWD), via Splash 105.5 FM in the city of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. One of these women is Ayodele Olofintuade, a single mother of two boys, author, librarian, dance instructor, graphic artiste and dedicated feminist.
Ayodele shared her story without leaving out any necessary detail. She explained her life as a single mother; the struggles of raising two kids alone and working through several jobs at once to make ends meet. She also spoke about the society labeling her "irresponsible" for staying single, her journey into writing and why women should not depend on men all the time for their basic financial needs.
Another insightful interview was with Dr (Mrs) Joan Agunloye of the Christian Care for Widows, Aged and Orphans, a non-governmental organisation sited in Ibadan. Dr Agunloye explained in clear details, the way the system works. She highlighted the process of empowerment as made available to the widows in order to keep them financially uptight as well as the numerous challenges faced in the day-to-day running of the organization. Some of these challenges include the problem of finance/funding (for the organization), emotional and psychological imbalances, poverty, illiteracy (of widows). Dr Agunloye added that the organisation also helps with the provision of food items, appropriate shelter and starter packs to assist the widows in taking care of themselves and their children.
On this year's International Women's Day celebration, Dr Agunloye described the IWD as "the best thing that can happen to women all over the world" and urged women of all races and classes (professional and non-professional), to put away their individual differences and make great use of the opportunity to celebrate and support each other towards the betterment of themselves and the nation at large.
"Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression" - Margaret Sanger.