As the world marks the International Women’s Day, the First Lady of Nigeria has advocated for increased opportunities for women. The first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who doubles as the President of African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dr. Patience Faka Jonathan has stated that the time has come to further strengthen and broaden the opportunities available to women for rapid national transformation. This was contained in her message to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
Mrs Jonathan maintained that women’s empowerment and gender equity must be given priority in order to achieve sustainable development. In her words,
“Now is the time to listen to the voices of women, to fully engage them and to make women’s empowerment and gender equity a priority.”
The Nigerian first lady is pleased by this year’s theme, “Equality for women is progress for all” for its global undertone. She described it as a suitable theme because it draws awareness to the importance of women and gender inclusion.
“We must promote and sustain the tempo of socio-economic and political inclusion of women so that they can contribute their quota meaningfully to the Transformation Agenda of Government,” she added
She also advocated for further investment in women and the girl child as she maintained that women and girls must be empowered to reach their full potentials for sustainable development.
While felicitating with all women across the globe, Dame Jonathan called on men to also celebrate the spirit and strength of women. She stated that the continuous strides and achievements women make each day, in their communities and beyond, should be appreciated and applauded, especially as the world marks International Women’s Day. She however cautioned that the day should also serve as a reminder that much more needs to be done to overcome the discrimination, challenges and barriers that confront women simply because of their gender.
The First Lady who described herself as a passionate advocate of gender inclusion, pledged to continue to work with great commitment with other African First Ladies across the continent, to promote gender equity, in her capacity as the President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission.
March 8 every year is observed and celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day. The day highlights the growth and achievements of women in the developed and developing world.