Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey, an intellectual, missionary, teacher, and first Vice-Principal of the Achimota College once said: “If you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a whole nation.”
This quote has been cited by almost every feminist and advocate for Girl-Child in Ghana since the early 2000s. This quote in relation to this year’s International Women Day (IWD), the theme through profound is evidence that indeed it is easier said than done.
The theme for this year’s IWD reads; “I am a generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Right.”
Did you know this year marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration? Adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the Beijing Platform for Action is recognized as the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls.
In spite of this progressive roadmap, how far have we come in championing the right of the woman? Can the thousands of women who flooded Beijing in 1995 be proud of the feminism climate in 2020? This year’s celebration is a period of sober reflection on the progress made for women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action.
Do we still have to advocate for the economic liberation of the woman?
Are we still struggling to give women the opportunity to be in power and decision-making positions?
Are we still denying the girl-child her bonafide right to education?
Are our women still being sexually and physically abused?
Are women being denied access to institutional mechanisms for their advancement on unreasonable grounds?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then our job is not near completion.
Contrary to popular opinion, I see nothing wrong with a woman being empowered in all facets of her life. When we view the glass, not at half-length, we will ideally understand that women have the potential to contribute effectively and efficiently to society-building.
Sadly, “It is 2020 and no country in the world has achieved gender equality, “UN Women.
The United Nations (UN), brings to us the reality of gender as we step into a new decade such that women are still refused to basic education and healthcare. They receive less pay for equal work while men and boys, on the other hand, are victims of oppressive masculinity and are made to feel entitled to make decisions for women in their lives.
UN Women has been leveraging the Generation Equality Campaign for years with the aim of bringing together people of gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion, and country in a bid to drive actions that will lead to a “gender-equal world we all deserve.” Unfortunately, this campaign has proven to be a struggle.
Dear women on the occasion of this year’s IWD, I urge that let us have this paradigm shift in our perspectives knowing that the world doesn’t need individuality but collectiveness. If society is against us we can’t be against ourselves making the saying “women are the own enemies” a reality rather, let us be assured of our self-worth, embrace our vulnerabilities, acquire knowledge and skill knowing that with all these, we are seeking to better each other and at each turn.
Let us be irons that sharpen one another.
The time is really now, that women of all races, creed, and religion mount up in the spirit of unity to push this agenda further.
If our daughters and granddaughters have this conversation we are having as of 2020, we have failed them.
Such a grim picture calls for a stronger movement and a more inclusive march towards equality.
IWD is observed every year on March 8 to celebrate the women’s movement and struggle for equality.