BALANCE FOR BETTER- IN CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S MONTH.

In celebration of March 8: International Women’s Day

It is a privilege to be among great women at such a time as this! It is indeed a privilege to be a woman in this generation! A generation where women are unapologetically fighting for their freedom. A generation where women are unabashedly using their voices to break barriers. A generation where women are recognized as persons with full potentials and can make choices irrespective of archaic societal stereotypes.

Today our celebration cuts across every part of the world with voices clamouring for #BalanceforBetter! Today as we celebrate, we urge every stakeholder and every policy maker to strive for a balanced community in their respective jurisdiction.

Today, we demand a state in which women and girls in Nigeria are treated equally and command the same importance as men!

In Nigeria, we have 10.5 million out-of-school children, and 60% of the out-of-school children are girls. We need our girls in schools, not in matrimonial homes as underage girls. We need balance in our educational system.

In a world where 90% of the jobs in the next 10 years will require technology skills and knowledge, women in Nigeria make up just about 22% of the total number of Engineering and Technology University graduates each year, showing us that as women in Nigeria, we will be left behind in tomorrow’s world. We need balance in technology and science.

Female entrepreneurs are on the rise in Nigeria as they make up 41%, making it the country with the highest number of female entrepreneurs, however, only 2% have access to loans and grants from financial institutions. As women in Nigeria are making significant contributions to the surge of entrepreneurial activities and making gains for their communities and the economy at large, it is rather unfortunate that access to loans and grants from financial bodies and institutions as a female entrepreneur in Nigeria have been almost impossible. We need balance in the business development.

Women’s participation in government and access decision making position both at private and public spheres is relatively low in Nigeria, leaving women with nothing to celebrate. Women suffer many barriers which inhibits their opportunity  to compete equally with men in leadership positions. Removing these barriers is no doubt difficult and would take a gradual process but for now, the need for an affirmative action is needed. Women should have a proportion or allocation of meaningful positions in various parties to enable them to have equal opportunities to compete and participate with other male candidates. We need balance in politics.

We demand a state in which men and women live in equality and have equal importance.

A balanced society is an advanced society.

A balanced country is a progressive country.

Women-Inclusion, Women-Participation, Women-Empowerment and Women-Representation should be our focus towards a balanced Nigeria and be #BalancedforBetter.

In politics, in education, in leadership positions, in technology, in every sector whatsoever, where decisions are being made, speak up, and demand a seat at the table. It is your right. #BALANCEFORBETTER #IWD2019 #WOMENSDAY

AYODELE OLUWATOBI  

Ayodele Oluwatobi

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