Today marks another significant milestone in the life of every woman the world over, as we celebrate yet another “International Women’s Day”. To all the wonderful and specially created women on Planet Earth, I say a proud congratulations to us all, for having come thus far. I feel privileged to be among the number and being a woman is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Today is International Women’s Day and the theme for this year’s celebration is: *”PRESS FOR PROGRESS”* but the question is:
*WHAT DO WE CALL PROGRESS?*
Is it getting hundreds of our teenage girls being impregnated every year?
Is it being allowed to be intimidated by men in the political arena?
Is it getting women challenge and despise fellow women?
Is it depriving our girls the right to equal education?
Is it getting our girls engage in prostitution?
Is it getting our women sit at home and turn baby machines and housekeepers?
Is it compromising gender-based violence?
Is it conditioning the lives of women through crude and archaic traditions?
Is it structuring the future of women through a chauvinistic lens?
The above questions are in desperate need of answers as we celebrate this day.
I believe as women, we have raised our voices and that is done not because we want to shout but in a bid to let the voices of those without a voice be heard. We don’t need to be disrespectful, we don’t want to be challenging, and all we want is a world that is fair & just to women. We crave for respect and equal opportunity in all spheres of life. Let us say we cannot, don’t tell us can’t because there is no law that says we can’t. Being a woman does not reduce anything in us but rather revitalizes the power, strength and confidence we are made up of.
We are compassionate as mothers, we sacrifice everything we have to give our children the best. We are committed as wives, we ensure we make the home healthy and happy. We are caring as sisters, we make sure our siblings and relatives are safe. We are loving as daughters, we ensure we give a helping hand to our parents and make them super proud if us. Are all of these not enough reasons for us to be respected and treated equally?
To the women, let us change our narratives. We owe this generation and generations yet unborn – we should be pacesetters. Let us strive to do the things that are honourable and refrain from things that will bring us dishonour and disrepute. It is evident that much is expected from us and anything contrary will expose us to questioning and ridicule. If we want more, we must do more. Be bold to “Press for Progress”, be confident in yourself, be true to your conscience, be resilient in your strives, be stoical in your disappointments and above all, be proud of the woman you are regardless of any discrimination, intimidation, ridicule and unfair inequality, we’ll definitely win in the near future.
To the men, we are your mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. You are because we are. Treat us with respect, love and support. We respect you equally and we demand the same. Do not feel threatened or intimidated by our presence, we are part of the human race.
Many men hide behind the cloak of submission and use religion to preach and perpetrate gender inequality. What has equality got to do with insubordination? Equality does not mean insubordination, take it or you leave it. What I know for sure is that decent men will always support gender equality because they know it is the only way we can have a better world to live in. Kudos to those men, I doff my hat to you.
At this juncture, let me hasten to say that we need more in the fight for gender equality. Give us the chance and help nurture the spirit of forwardness and positivity in us. Do not kill that spirit that wants women to take centre stage in life.
In conclusion, I send a shout-out to all the women across the world and women of Sierra Leone in particular. I’m proud of you all and appreciate the tremendous gains we’ve made in speaking on behalf women and making ourselves proud. I appreciate you in no small way. Let us continue to “Press’s for Progress” wherever we find ourselves.
Happy International Women’s Day to us all.
Author: FATTY KAY
STUDENT OF LAW DEPARTMENT, FBC.