by: Onyedikachi Maduagwu
So strong, so bold! Facing the world unashamedly! Seeking no validation or permission to live out her dreams and take up her crown!
She understands that the world is her stage and she is the star performer so she rises up and defiles her limitations and naysayers and takes so fiercely what she rightfully deserves.
She is the woman we celebrate. She is You.
Let’s go back a little in history; in 1928 when the world said there were certain careers unfit for a woman, Amelia Earhart crossed the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane, became a celebrity and won countless awards; in 1933 Frances Perkins became the first female member of a presidential cabinet. Sandra Day O’ Connor was nominated to be the first woman in the Supreme Court and the list is endless. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in a racially segregated bus and led a boycott that ended racial segregation in public places. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize winner of all time who became an icon in the battle for girl’s rights; Chioma Ajunwa, a Nigerian made history by winning Nigeria’s first individual gold medal in 1996 in a long-jump and Fatima Abiola who is currently Nigeria’s first female train driver. These women have set the pace.
In the field of inventions, we have Dr. Marian Croak who invented the Voice over Protocol that allows us use the Internet to make phone calls over Skype, Goggle Hangouts and the likes. Dr. Gladys West who developed the mathematics behind the global positioning systems we rely on every day and Sarah Boone who invented the ironing board. Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the home security systems and these are to mention but a few.
Just recently, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala – the first woman to serve as Nigeria’s finance minister, the first woman to serve in that office twice, and the only finance minister to have served under two different presidents – was appointed the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She is the first woman and the first African to hold the office. What a massive stride! Can we talk about Kamala Harris who is presently serving as the 49th vice president of the United States of America? She is the United States’ first female vice president, the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history and the first African American and first Asian American vice president. These women have given us a seat at the table, you should be inspired!
However, in as much as women throughout generations have created outstanding impact and are continuously working to redefine how we as women exist in society, a lot of challenges still abound which pose as threats and hindrances to even the existence of the very woman. These problems aren’t new to us, they aren’t farfetched. They’re everywhere we turn, from gender-based violence to rape to human trafficking, girl child mutilation, etc.
Every 5 minutes a girl dies as a result of violence!
One in every four girls gets married as a child!
A whopping 71% of human trafficking victims are female!
63 million girls have undergone female genital mutilation!
130 million girls are out of school!
Girls are twice as likely to become infected with HIV. These are the issues but here’s the good news, we can all come together to put the collective effort into ensuring a total end to all these challenges facing women and girls in our society by 2030. End all forms of violence against women, put all girls in school, end child marriage, and enforce equality in the workplace. These are the global goals and we can achieve them if we work together. This is why at Junior Achievement Nigeria we contribute our own quota through the implementation of various girl empowerment programs including LEAD Camp for girls.
LEAD Camp was conceptualized with one mission in mind – to inspire and empower young girls to become high-achieving women leaders in our society. As indicated in the name, the LEAD Camp consists of activities in Leadership, Empowerment, Achievement and Development. These activities are supported by leading women from the private and public sectors in Nigeria serving as mentors.
The mission of LEAD Camp is to nurture young girls to become high-achieving women leaders while addressing Social Development Goal (SDG) 5: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls. In order to achieve this, the participants are taken through series of activities, which include leadership workshops, empowerment sessions with leading women from various sectors, industries and non-profit initiatives (including government), achievement of media projects designed to raise awareness about the empowerment of the girl-child, and, finally, self-development sessions on important topics ranging from career planning and financial literacy to personal hygiene and sexual reproductive health.
You too can contribute your own quota by doing either of the following:
- Find organizations that support women freedom movements and donate your money to the cause, a good example is Junior Achievement Nigeria
- You can also volunteer to work with these organizations to help achieve these goals
- Take a solid stance for equality as well as protecting, loving and not hurting women
In conclusion, as was initially mentioned, woman you have all it takes to succeed. Don’t settle, get outside your shell and reach for greater heights and there’ll be no limits to what you can achieve. Chase your dreams, challenge the status quo, get educated, stand up for your right and demand only the best from life because you deserve it.
Go queen, you’ve got this!