by Mmanti Umoh
International Women’s Day 2017 is a significant time to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world. A call to contribute in the conversations that “can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.” Without united voices, women would be left behind. Most especially young girls and women from rural areas.
As we celebrate the International Women’s Day 2017 I call on every Nigerian to;
Invest in young women’s and girls’ education, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education is accessible as means to protect the youth from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, and to protect their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, as envisaged in the Maputo Protocol.
Let us diversify our economy and earning by investing in agro-business helping more women to be a part of this growing industry. There is a need to invest in the green economy and leveraging the digital revolution, especially for our young women. Let us create more platforms that will help build young women and girls to become change agents, nation builders and leaders within their communities, nations and the world.
We must strengthen access to relevant education for girls, by relevant we call for a review of the curriculum, policies and structure that make up Nigerian education. Let us provide our girls with the content that supports their advancement and not just industry improvement. Let us give them opportunity for upskilling not because we want them to fail at professionalism, not get a degree/masters/PHD but, because we realise that the wealth of an economy is dependent on the resource of its entrepreneurs and not the taxes of the government. An economy is only as stable as its entrepreneurs. Show me an economy without a plethora of entrepreneurs and I will point to you a blooming recession. We must also ensure retention, completion and giving girls second chances in education.
Give us water, energy, infrastructure and secured affordable child care. Ensure there are laws to keep us safe and end the consistent exploitation, human trafficking, and abuse of all forms. Disability is not a limitation for any of us, we simply need targeted approaches to help empower ourselves economically. It is time to hasten the acknowledgement of women’s land rights at all levels and to ensure that the profits of this industry fully accrue to women. If we work, pay us our due. Nothing less, nothing more but let us ensure that it is equal.
The pressures are greater today than they’ve ever been on women to produce results but it’s really not about that. It’ about having collaboration that’s going to solve actual social problems. Using our differences to create competitive advantage. We have opportunities as well as challenges, It is up to us to make sure that we make full use of this opportunity.
I challenge you to be a champion change. Be the light bearer for what is right.
I am Mmanti Umoh. I’ll champion women’s education and I’ll challenge bias and inequality.
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