- Calls For Legislation, Policies To Enhance Participation in Decision Making
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) heartily felicitates with women in Nigeria, Africa, and worldwide. Notwithstanding the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, women have remained resilient as they continue to play pivotal roles in societies. CDD uses this moment to celebrate great women achievers who shattered glass ceilings and made history. Worthy of note is the beautiful story of Kamala Harris, who defied the odds last November to emerge as the first female Vice President of the United States.
Another instructive story would be found in the emergence of our own Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is an important lesson of inclusion that while Harris is also the first Asian and African to be Vice President in the United States, Okonjo Iweala is the first African to lead the WTO. CDD is convinced that these amazing stories point to the possibilities of an inclusive future anchored on gender parity and women’s participation in decision-making in the local, national and international arena. Despite the myriads of challenges ranging from entrenched patriarchal systems, marginalization in decision making, the pandemic of rape and gender violence, women can still defy the odds to shine alongside the other gender.
Nonetheless, beyond the inspiring stories of a few women who overcome many challenges to get to the peak, CDD is convinced that societies would derive more benefits from opening up political and economic spaces for women to play their roles in the quest for a better world. In various sectors such as education, health, business and technological innovation, women have continued to demonstrate their capacities. In terms of leadership, evidence abounds that even in the context of COVID-19, countries led by women were able to put forward strategies to limit the pandemic’s devastating impacts.
These achievements have motivated CDD to reflect on the theme of this year’s celebration: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” We have, therefore, deemed it important to focus on encouraging women and girls around the globe to collectively organize to bring about the change they want to see.
The CDD would use this year’s commemoration of the IWD to encourage women and girls in Nigeria and West Africa to #ChooseToChallenge and make a positive impact in every aspect of their lives and that of others.
To address the challenges, which hold women back and limit their potentials, CDD calls on stakeholders to work together to address gender inequalities by deepening women’s participation in politics, economy, education, health and other critical sectors in society. With the #ChooseToChallenge mantra, CDD would strengthen its interventions to promote and protect the rights of women and girls. We must #ChooseToChallenge barriers in governance, political and economic systems, which prevent women from achieving their true potentials.