The First Lady of Nigeria and President, African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dame (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. The First Lady stated this in her message to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
She maintained that women’s empowerment and gender equity must be given priority in
order to achieve sustainable development. According to her, “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.”
Dame Jonathan said she was particularly enthused by this year’s global theme: “Equality
for women is progress for all,” describing it as a “fitting theme” because it draws awareness to the importance of women and gender inclusion. She added, “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.” According to the First Lady, investing in women and the girl child is an imperative. 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 achievementswomen 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.