For the today’s African woman owes her societal standing and pockets of achievement to the long and difficult road taken by Amazons of the past, women leaders of old
who refused to be bowed down, who refused to let go, who continued to fight that women be given a voice in society and an opportunity to contribute to the conversations in society. From oppressions of not having a voice, oppressions of rape, incest and violence, they have trudged on. For in time past, the African
Woman could not speak, even though the issues affected her children and her society. Yet she was the one that nurtured life in her womb; she was the one that toiled to feed the family and her society; her strong arms have farmed and fed others even when she has not eaten.
It did not matter how much a woman was intelligent; it did not matter how hard she toiled to feed the family. It did not matter that she was the pillar that kept society in peace and order though years of training and raising little ones into adulthood; the African Woman was continually an object of oppression, suppression and victimization.
But all of that is changing and must continue to change. African Women must rise and be supported to harness their collective destinies. While speeches and words of
encouragement are important, it is now time to back our words with actions. African nations and governments must follow the Rwandan and South African example by
creating room for more female political engagements. We want to see more FolorunshoAlakijas emerge from the maledominated business arena to rise to the peak of their economic empowerment and achievement. I therefore must congratulate President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Joyce Banda of Malawi for becoming models of possibility for women who want to reach out for the peaks of success and achievement that it is doable.
African men and governments must develop deliberate policies and framework to give greater room for women to excel without encumbrances in the business and political
space. Enough of rhetoric, it is time for action, action and more action!
May this year celebrations of the International Women’s Day mark an era of renewed commitment to taking practical steps that would better equip women to contribute effectively to society and find fulfilment in so doing; for Equality for women is progress for all.