Saturday, 6 March 2010

International women’s day

International women's day is recognised across the world in celebration of women’s achievements in all areas of our society. In some parts of the world, this day is celebrated by a national holiday, raising awareness and funding for projects that can enrich women’s lives.

Women have always been at the heart of human development, but they find themselves at the margins of most societies, despite major advances and a constant promotion of women development world wide.

In many countries in Africa women’s position within society has not changed much in over 50 years, cultural beliefs and taboo ensures that women’s roles remain invincible and their efforts recognised for almost little or no reward.

International women’s day started in 1911 with calls for a closing of the gender gap, for women to be paid as much as men and for all women to be offered the same privileges usually bestowed on man.

International women’s day in Africa is a serious affair. Women’s lives are burdened excessively. In both urban and rural Africa women work from 7am to 7pm. Especially in rural Africa; women can be burdened by domestic chores, taking care of their kids and other activities to support their families.

In many parts of Africa there is very little investment in girls. There is a general perception that if too much energy time and resources is spent on girls, they would more than likely get married and leave the home taking away much needed investment.

In many parts of Africa women cannot own land nor control the earning made of that land. Inheritance is usually passed on directly to men ignoring women all together.

Africa must recognise women’s contribution. Women burdened life style must be changed. Women cannot remain invincible. Women have to be empowered through education and a highlighting of their important role in society.

An educated woman can influence decision making with their husbands at home and members of the community. It is these actions that can ensure that the roles of women become fully recognised leading to better rewards.

Women’s roles across Africa are changing, much faster than we are willing to give credit for. Critics will say not fast enough. We have also seen many large institutions increase their female participation and quota for senior positions.

We must acknowledge, that Africa has its first female president in Liberia and in Rwanda; female members of parliament out number their male counterparts. This is unheard off in the entire world, outstripping both the British and American parliaments.

We can see clearly how an educated, empowered and resourceful women; can achieve to great heights; especially when opportunity is readily made available. Calls for women to have better control and more say in their lives, is a noble and welcome call from an ever changing world.

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