I am very excited about today’s article because it gives me an opportunity to highlight the strength and the giant strides women are making.
ROWEAD (The role of women in emerging African democracies) a not for profit initiative in partnership with the United Nations Information Centre Lagos held a stakeholders focus group meeting to mark the International Women’s Day March 8, in promotion of the UNSC article 1325 of women inclusion in conflict and peace resolution and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 ZERO HUNGER.
It was exactly 10 am in the morning and the venue was set for the 2018 international women’s day. Gradually the women started arriving, in singles and some in the company of their friends chatting away excitedly at the prospect of the inclusion of women in decision making going forward.
The conversations took a more diverse tune as more women had come in and quickly clusters were formed, a new sisterhood emerging, each sister bonding regardless of difference in opinion.
These women were from different walks of life, but there was a young lady who stood out, not because her voice was the loudest, nor any spectacle about her looks, but there she stood with more ears listening to her and her facial expression left nothing to the imagination.
As I drew close to get a piece of the oratory that held others spell bound and a frequent nod of heads almost in a rhythm of some dance, I finally could see why.
A very young lady clad in a denim and a black jacket, hair woven in braids, no over the top make up but in a nice strappy high heel sandals, speaking in a very articulated queens English, hands moving to drive home with the emotion with which she spoke with…
As she asked a question with her eyes directly fixed on my face I wondered if she wanted to know my opinion when we have all sat listening to her very inspiring tales.
No woman should ever say she is broke? When in the comfort of your home you can become a farmer to feed your family and make money. She went on not waiting for an answer even as my lips parted to say something about women being financially dependent most of the time because that’s how culturally it’s meant to be. She quickly ignored my side and spoke on. In her opinion, any woman who is still waiting for manna to drop from heaven is just wasting her time.
At this point I became eager to hear all she had to say.
She calls herself AMICABLE, THE UNREPENTANT FARMER. I took a step back to look at this pretty lady, very well groomed and her hands didn’t look as though she had ever lifted a straw talk less of a bunch of something… farmer? As if reading my thoughts, she said I was a banker, head of a department in one of the big banks but resigned to go into full time farming, I cultivate rice, beans, snail farming, piggery and mushroom farming.
I am a big supplier of organic foods across Nigeria. She said farming is sassy…
True to talk, this sister is sassy, elegant and smart. But beneath this great achievement is a sadness that also got me worried. She narrated how for the fact she is a woman regardless of her success at the business of farming still many don’t do large scale transactions with her simply because she is a woman.
My question how long are we going to be in this being a woman thing….
Amaka Chukwudum a.k.a THE UNREPENTANT FARMER, women and the world celebrate you.
Let me leave you with this word from the United Nations Secretary General’s message on INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.
“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.
The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruits. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in private sector, academia, politics and international organizations, including the United Nations.
Let me clear; this is not a favor to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests; men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harm us all.”
Till I write again. I love you for reading.
Adaobi Alex-Oni is an Honorary Ambassador and a recipient of the Nelson Mandela Leadership Award by the African Youth Parliament. A broadcaster and writer, she is the convener of the ROWEAD conference. A social and women’s rights activist, she is a promoter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit her website www.rowead.org