Today I am in the mood for Celebrating Women. It is International Women’s Day, and the theme for this year is #BreaktheBias
I am proud to be a woman. I stand firm on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. As I reflect on the importance of the day, I think of my Mama, who has moved to three countries to help support her husband on the mission field. I think of both my Grandmothers widowed at such young age yet resilient in bringing up and raising their children and grandchildren.
I think of both my Sierra Leonean Great Grandmothers who both moved to Nigeria. My Grandfather’s Mother made the move in the pursuit of love. While my Grandmother’s Mother moved with her husband who was an Anglican Priest reporting to his new station and port of duty.
Celebrating Women’s Achievements
I grew up surrounded by women of substance. I grew up believing I could do anything I set my mind to do.
In my family and among our Neighbours in Akure, I saw educated women impacting their respective fields and society at large.
Having these role models in my life has been a great blessing. Having parents who still believe in me and made sacrifices to send me to the best schools made a difference in how I see myself .
While as women, we have made a lot of advancements and strides in levelling the playing field. It is clear that, in many ways, we still have a long way to go before society views us as equal and worthy of being at the table.
This year’s theme is timely because recent events in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya, prove that Women are still not getting the respect and treatment they deserve as human beings.
Imagine not being safe to take the bus on your return journey back to the comfort of your home. In 2022, a young lady was murdered in Lagos. Her crime was boarding a bus to go home. In Nairobi recently, 16, bodaboda ( okada riders, bike men) sexually assaulted a woman. Her crime ? Being a motorist involved in an accident that hit a pedestrian.
Now we weep and mourn the death of a young sister who was coming into her own. We also grieve for a sister who has to deal with the trauma of being sexually assaulted by a group of men.
It is clear we still have work to do. Women are still not safe to move around. We need to continue the fight for justice and equality until we are all truly free to be ourselves. But we can also take the time to pause in celebrating women and what they have achieved so far.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”Maya Angelou