As we commemorate this day, ‘We Choose To Challenge.’ As the theme of the 2021 suggests.
By Constance Ndeleko
Women are the drivers of change in the society, creating impactful and transformational change that challenges gender parity, abuse, violence and vicious acts against women. Women have become dynamic trailblazer through multi-generational role they play in ensuring that women are given an equal platform to participate in all sectors of life.
Women are lending light to young girls and other women to take up their spaces and not shy away from potential opportunities that are going to set the pace for their goals in life. Young girls are now enrolling in STEM programs across the continent in Africa and globally, they are creating safe spaces and online campaigns to help eradicate gender inequality, they are succeeding through the lenses that were perceived unreachable by society.
Despite the progress that has been made over the past years, Covid-19 has brought in setbacks forcing girls and young women to endure suffering under domestic violence, sexual assault, FGM, Child marriage, online harassment, gender digital divide, loss of jobs, child commercialization and prostitution, child labor, child trafficking, and unequal reach of opportunities. I believe all is not lost as we dust ourselves up slowly while recovering from this devastating pandemic and reach for higher grounds.
There has been a turn, where women and girls are now being involved in decision-making processes but it is not enough. More needs to be done to meet the gender gaps that have been and yet to be identified. Women and girls need to be involved in peace processes to make peace agreements last much longer. We need to amplify women’s/girls’ voices to create an inclusive environment for all children to enhance sustainable growth.
Government, NGOs and Private organizations should speak the same language to solidify a collective voice in ensuring that we build better forward from the Covid-19 crises and come up with lasting solutions that will spin the wheels of gender equality and equity. We are in the new normal and we must do things differently.
A time has come to finally fully harness the power of women’s/girls leadership role to realize a more equal, more inclusive and more sustainable future.We need to also amplify the voices of women/girls living with disability, in refugee camps, in detention centers, in contact with the law and girls/women on the move to help them rise above their challenges.
We choose to challenge vices that are pulling as back and opting for defined spaces where young women/ girls can speak about their experiences, share their own stories to create awareness on mental health as well as give support to those under different mental health illnesses. We need to collectively create a more inclusive world where men are also sensitized about women issues and a society that clearly understands and protects the rights of women.