By Oluwafunke Ishola
Ms Beatrice Kallay, Head, Gender, Sierra Leone High Commission, Lagos, says women need to change the narrative from what they can get to what they can offer to increase their global impact.
Kallay, who is also the Consular/Liaison Officer at the Commission, made the assertion on Monday at a virtual panel discussion in commemoration of the International Women’s Day and the 2021 Commonwealth Day.
The programme was organised by the Commonwealth Business Women Network Nigeria (CBWN Nigeria) with the theme: “Choose to Challenge”.
The International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8, to seek help to forge a gender equal world, celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality.
Also, the Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, often held on second Monday in March.
Kallay urged women to strive to give their best in whatever positions they were occupying, saying that they should make a big difference to the world by doing their best.
According to her, women should be intentional, persistent and refuse to be intimidated by challenges they might encounter in their various endeavours.
She advised that everyone should understand and appreciate diversity by recognising the uniqueness of others, saying differences shouldn’t stop collaboration.
Also, Erelu Florida Okunowo, the Director, Nigerian Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Producers, urged the leaders to shun stereotyping and give position to people based on merit, irrespective of their genders.
Okunowo said that everyone should challenge inequalities, oppression and violence that limit women from exhibiting their God given talents in homes, organisations, businesses and society.
In her comments, Mrs Ngozi Oyewole, Vice Chairperson, CBWN Nigeria, said that for the first time in several years, the International Women’s Day and the Commonwealth Day were being celebrated on the same day.
Oyewole said that the 2021 theme was in alignment with the global support for women, achieving an equal future and within the broader Commonwealth nations.
“The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women around the world.
“It calls for women’s rights to decision making in all areas of life to build back better policies, local government, social, education, health and legal services, as well as ending all forms of violence against women and girls.
“CBWN Nigeria promotes the empowerment of women and girls to be key change agents as gender equality will drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“In CBNW Nigeria, we focus on SDG Goal Five- gender equality.
“We know that the Coronavirus pandemic had threatened to roll back the hard won efforts of reducing the barriers to women effective participation and leadership in public life.
“Globally, women remain significantly underrepresented in many aspects of decision making.
“However, the efforts of the few women at the helms of institution of highest level of decision making should be recognised and built upon,” the vice chairperson, CBWN said.
She said that supporting women’s contributions in the home, community, organisation, networks, regional and international levels would ultimately shape the future of the country.
Oyewole added that in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), CBWN Nigeria organised an essay competition inviting undergraduate girls in the universities to write on the theme for 2021 celebration.
She said that the competition had over 280 entries, with Miss Bolutife Afolabi emerging first; Miss Precious Oparanozie came second and Truth Nwabueze came third in the essay competition.
Oyewole said that the competition also sought to know the views of the undergraduates on a brave and courageous woman who challenged the norm to change the world, and inspire them to emulate such values. (NAN)