The theme of this year’s IWD is be “Bold for change”.

This is a very timely theme, because indeed the world is changing. Infact, change is inevitable, change is the only constant thing.

Looking back in retrospect at where the woman of today is coming from, it is evident that change is gradually and consistently taking place.

In most countries of the world (especially advanced countries) women were de-enfrachised until 1920s.

Women could not own property. Women did not have rights over their own bodies. Prior the 1920’s women could not attend college. As a woman, i keep asking the question, why was this so? Who is so afraid of what a woman would do with education, economic empowerment and independence? I thought the creator made them equal? Why would the world system deliberately put one down for the other to stand? However, i am glad that Bold and courageous men and women rose up to create a day like this (the United Nations), and a system to right the wrongs done to women on the platter of “protecting the weak gender”‎. Now i see women professionals, engineers, pilots, doctors, présidents of nations, who are making things good and contributing to the development of their nations.

Let us all be Bold for Change. To change from status quo, evil traditions, obnoxious culture and religious répression requires boldness. There’s still much to be done. The Sustainable Development Goals, all 17 of them, wants us to create àn equitable world , where everyone irrespective of sex, gender, ability or disability is equal and has equal access to education, health, human rights and dignity. I make Bold to challenge leaders in the north of Nigeria; making mothers and wives from female children is Criminal and an infringment on the rights of this children. It is a truncation of their destinies. ‎I want to see education of girls in Nigeria and all over the world made compulsory till secondary school. I want to see à Nigeria that will criminalise child-marriage, and hold parents responsible for ensuring the education of their girl-children.

The contribution of educated, informed, and enlightened women to their homes, the lives of their children (raising powerful educated children) and community cannot be over emphasised.

I urge every woman to mentor at least one girl in your neighbourhood.

We want to make partners out of men. A Bold, secure and courageous ‎man would not raise his fist at a woman, rape à woman or a baby girl. I thought we used to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper in Nigeria, let us be Bold by re-awakening the positive aspects of our culture. Men, protect your sister, mother, baby girls, grandmothers, this is the protection women need; stop all forms of violence against women. Let our government be Bold to punish in clear terms Criminal behaviours. We must stop being a nation that condones criminality. Politicians are bracing up to take power again in 2019, i want to see internal democracy in the political parties and affirmative quota for women. If as a nation, we have quota system, national character, Niger Delta Development Commissions, all in a bid to create equity and right past wrongs. I challenge political parties to be Bold in ensuring at least 35% seats for female candidates in upper and lower houses. I want to see at least five female governors émerge in 2019. Let this change start from the present ruling party.

Happy women’s day!

Dr. Adepeju Oti
Lecturer at the Department of Sociology
Lead City University
And Executive Director, Global Youth Leadership and Girl-Child Foundation