By Emeka Nwokocha
Warri based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), in partnership with other NGOs – Ideal Women Advancement Initiative, and WANEP, Thursday 8 March, marked this year’s International Women’s Day with women in Okurode-Urhobo community in Warri, headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The event was a fun galore as the women turned out in their numbers to partake in the celebration that was spiced with dancing, singing and human rights sensitisation sessions.
Speaking to the women numbering over 150, the Executive Director of DICI, Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, praised them for participating in the yearly event. She spoke eloquently about the importance of the International Women’s Day, stating the goals it was conceived to achieve.
She said, “March 8 was set aside by the United Nations as International Women’s Day, to reflect on progress made in enforcement of women’s rights across the world, and to celebrate acts of courage, determination and extraordinary roles women have played in the development of their countries and communities. It is a day to call for change and galvanise a strong voice to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women the world over.
Continuing, she said, “The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights,” focuses on empowerment of women and advocating for equal rights in marriage, education, employment, politics and other social activities that shape the society.
Ruppee noted that despite some progress made in advancing the rights of women over time, more action was needed the massive inequalities spiralling out of control – across wealth, education, employment, and every other socio-political determinant in Nigeria and across the world. She noted that women are being marginalized both in private and public life, stating that in Nigeria, women are rarely considered for leadership positions of social institutions that include men. Continuing, she said that women’s participation in politics is limited as standard of participation in politics are based on male norms and values.
While calling on women to raise their voices against gender inequality and violation of women’s rights, Ruppee noted that emerging global consensus indicates that full enforcement of women’s rights has been slow the world over. She advised the women to have good knowledge of their fundamental rights to be able to advocate and defend their rights anytime and anywhere.
“I charge you to acquaint yourself with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be abreast of the sections that protect your rights,” she stated.
Speaking earlier, Pastor Bridget Affah, extolled the virtue of women as a builder and caregiver. She however, expressed worry about nonchalant attitude of women towards defending their rights, noting that most women are naive as they know little or nothing about their fundamental rights.
Continuing, she charged women to be confident, spiritual, and industrious in order to speak up against any form of violations of their rights. She added that building a strong financial base confers confidence on women and embolden her to stand firm for her rights.
She said to the women, “you must be confident of yourself and acquaint yourself with trending developments in the society; you must be in tune with God by upping your spiritual life, and building strong financial base to be able to live a good life and impact society positively through rendering community services. Above all, you must be and determined to stand above oppression, maltreatment and victimisation whenever and wherever they are manifested.”
Affah admonished the women against indecent dressing and low esteem, saying, “you must take care of yourself very well, look good and be responsible always, and dress decently. When you adhere to these principles, you will build your confidence and earn respect in your homes and the society.”
Speaking on behalf of the women, the duo of Mrs. Rachael Ogbuthu, and Mrs. Awowo Rosemary, thanked the organizers of the event for given them the opportunity to attend the event, describing it as educative and an eye opener. They stated that prior to the event, the women knew little or nothing about women’s rights and were not aware of the institutions and organisations that advocate women’s rights. Continuing, they said the women had gained useful information that will guide them in defending their rights in the society.
Present at the event were Mrs. Ayo Nefertiti Okotie, Mrs. Isiavwe J., and other dignitaries from other NGOs across Delta State, including the media.