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Home Events Goodwill Message By Efe Etomi President, AWLA Nigeria

Goodwill Message By Efe Etomi President, AWLA Nigeria

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President AWLA (Int) Distinguished speakers and Participants, fellow AWLANS, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the International Day of the African Woman 2021.

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I believe that any day that celebrates and uplifts women is one of the most important days of the year, because women deserve it. Women are often quick to be lauded as many things: superheroes, homemakers, game changers. When it comes to describing women, we have heard every buzzword in the book. It is widely agreed and often said that women run the world, and it is true, we do. However, this isn’t enough if the worth of what we know a woman to be is not reflected in the society we live in. The praise is merely just words as long as a gender disparity still exists.

This is why the theme for today “A panacea for Inequality” is so significant, because, what we need goes beyond words; we need a discourse that is going to bring about action, results and sustainable change.

Globally, women have been fighting for equality as far as history dates back. We have been fighting for equality in so many facets of life; across countries, across continents and across generations. In the Western world, we had the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote that began in 1903. In Africa, we had the Abeokuta’s Ladies club (later renamed the Abeokuta’s Women union) founded by Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti in 1932, fighting for the social and political rights of the Nigerian woman. In Asia, we had Malala begin the fight for the right for women’s education in 2008 at the age 11. These are to name a few of the advancements women have had to strive to achieve.

Women have advocated for their rights in our generation, our mothers generation, our grandmother’s and great grandmothers generation. We do this because our voices make a difference. With our voices, important strides we have made. As it is International Day of the African woman, lets look at the progress we have made in the recent years:

In 2019, the Financial Times Social Institutions and Gender Index reported that in the last four years, Africa made most legislative progress for women in terms of tackling discrimination in the family, restricted civil liberties, physical integrity and access to financial resources. In 2020, Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa and Senegal ranked in the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of women’s representation in Parliament, representing areas such as Defence, Economy, Finance, and Foreign affairs. In March 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman and first African to become the director-general of the World Trade Organisation. These are phenomenal feats.

However, the milestones reached do not preclude the need for improvement. Women are still responsible for 60% of work done globally yet earn just 10% income and 1% of property. In Africa, 70% of women are reported to be excluded financially. The continent has a US$42 billion financing gap between men and women. According to McKinsey’s Power of Parity Report: Advancing Women’s Equality in Africa, For the continent to achieve full parity could be 140 years without drastic action. We need drastic action.

So, our work is not done, women still face so many obstacles, be it socially, economically or politically. So while we have come as far as we have, until there is universal, equitable and indisputable parity, we must never stop asking ourselves, “how do we create a panacea for inequality?”, because until then, our work is not done.

This is why I am proud to be part of AWLA and proud to be here today. We all know a woman’s worth but I am so proud of an organisation that is here to make sure you see it. I want to especially thank everyone that came together to make this event a reality and each woman that is speaking today.

I welcome you all once more to the International Day of the African Woman, I hope as you listen, you learn and you are left with the motivation to make a difference. I hope we are able to bring about a lasting change that we can be proud of, not just for ourselves but for our daughters and the women after them.

Efe Etomi
President, AWLA Nigeria


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