Every day, women around the world are taking up the challenge to flatten the  curve in gender bias, women just like any other gender deserve an equal chance  to reach their full potentials. 

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day “Choose to challenge” is a  charge to women the world over to challenge the status quo, breaking grounds  and, making an impact in their various fields. Over time, women have proven  their capacity to handle different issues be it in the work environment or the  home. 

Although women are most disadvantaged in society because of certain reasons,  they still find the means to thrive regardless of the situation. In most African  countries and maybe the world at large women are saddled with the  responsibility of running the home.  

Regardless of the family responsibilities she carries on her shoulders and the  limitations thrown at her by the society she chats her course with grace to thrive. 

Woman is one of the most untapped resources in the world, according to  UNWOMEN, achieving gender parity is far off as women are underrepresented at  all levels of decision-making worldwide and, this plays an important role in  achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Women play a significant  role in the work towards achieving the SDGs. Goal 5 is known as the stand-alone  gender goal because it is dedicated to achieving these ends. 

The woman right from the beginning of creation was designed to be a solution; In  the garden of Eden, she was the solution to Adam’s loneliness. In current times,  the woman has proven that she plays an important role in nation-building.  Women in different quoters have dedicated their time and energy to building  capacity and relevance in society.

Although the woman has struggled to thrive in different capacities, she has also  suffered several setbacks ranging from patriarchy to sexism, economic inequality,  navigating career and motherhood, domestic violence, and the increasing rate of  maternal mortality amongst many others. 

There has been significant progress since the campaign for gender equality began, however, the gap is still wide as women are still lacking on the table of decision  making. Continually, decisions about women and girls are taken without the key  players involved in the process. The potency of such decisions becomes  questionable. The lack of women in seats of power has smeared the progress on  issues concerning women. 

Yet with resilience, dedication, and determination, women have impacted society  in different sectors. Recently, Kamala Harris was celebrated as the first female,  first black, and first Asian-American Vice President. And a few weeks ago, the  world celebrated the emergence of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the first female  Director-General of the World Trade Organization; feets never attained since the  history of both America and the World Trade Organization. 

Young Nigerian teenage girl Faith Odunsi just won the Global Open Mathematics  competition. The 15-year-old girl beat other competitors from China, Europe, the  UK, the US, Africa, Asia, and Australia to become the global winner. 

In 2019, Finland elected a new coalition of government headed by five women,  the government is headed by Sanna Marin. Finland is rated as the safest and  cleanest country in the world it has the least organized crime. It also has the best  educational system in the world. 

Jacinda Ardern is a world-celebrated leader, under her leadership New Zealand  became Covid-19 free in about seven weeks, New Zealand has one of the lowest  unemployment rates in the world. In 2017, Jacinda became the first sitting Prime  Minister in New Zealand to have a baby on the seat and the second female world  leader to go through that experience. In 2017 she announced on her Twitter  handle that she will be wearing two hats a mother and a Prime Minister.

Women have taken menial jobs believed to be for men just to make ends meet  for their families. This goes to show that there is little or nothing a woman cannot  achieve her dreams and sustain her immediate environment. 

Society needs to do more in ensuring that women and girls have the enabling  environment that allows them to explore their abilities and also freely exhibit  them; the government has an important role to play in setting up policies that will favor the female gender. Women’s rights are human rights and must be upheld by every member of society regardless of status and position. 

Its time for the disparity between genders to be laid aside. Every member of  society needs an equal chance to showcase their innate abilities be it in  government, business, sports, entertainment, or economic.  

Women have chosen to rise above the challenge thrown at them and have  refused to allow anything to hold them down; they have chosen to thrive through  every form of discrimination and bias that will come their way.  

Women have contributed immensely to the growth and development of different  sectors in the world, the sooner we understand that the lack of women in  leadership roles holds back not only women but all people, the sooner we will be  able to advance society as a whole.

Author: Kangmwa Gofwen

Lagos Bureau Chief, Nigeria