#ChoosetoChallenge: A call to end gender discrimination
By Eniola Mayowa
Globally, the world focuses on women as it celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women on International Women’s Day (IWD) annually.
March 8 represents advocacy day against all forms of discrimination and gender disparity. No doubt, women have made their marks and have continued to do so in all areas of human endeavors but the challenge remains the disparity they have to contend with in a world that tends to either downplay the achievements of women or denied them the opportunity to maximise potentials.
With the theme; #ChoosetoChallenge, the International Women’s Day for this year is calling on women and everyone to action on the need to challenge and make a change.
It is a call to end gender discrimination, an alert to make the decision and take bold steps to challenge the status quo. To question all gender insensitive policies, to reject every intended and unintended action, laws, customs and traditions aimed at limiting the capacity and capability of every girl or woman to maximize her potential.
This year’s theme call global, regional, country and local attention to the need for everyone that appreciates humanity to challenge the custom that sees the education of a girl as a privilege that can be subjected to the least of priority, rather than a right.
The world must choose to challenge the unwritten code that placed limitations to woman’s aspiration to be the best they can be in their chosen endevours without any form of gender inequality.
We must choose to challenge the system that denies women representation at the leadership position. Everyone can be a leader and gender shouldn’t be the consideration for a leadership position.
If a man can lead in economic, social and political space, we must collectively challenge any form of barrier designed to impede women from attaining the position of leadership in the same space.
It is about time we choose to challenge rules that discriminate against women in the workplace. A woman should not be denied promotion for the reason of maternity leave or be considered unfit for the reason of our physiological demands where and when skills and competency should be a major consideration.
We must all choose to challenge the tendencies to view the achievements of women less of what it is. Every achievement deserves celebration where attained and one should not be made less of another for the reason of gender.
If a rule didn’t prevent an unmarried man from enjoying certain privileges in an organisation, the same should not be denied of unmarried woman in similar roles with the same responsibilities.
We must choose to challenge every belief, remarks, comment or saying that subtly defile or demean the status, importance, functionality, role and capacity of women to perform in a given responsibility. Let’s choose to challenge job segregation. Women should not be relegated to certain kinds of jobs while certain jobs are preserved for men because of the unfounded belief that they are better equipped for the job.
Studies have shown that women are taken their place in certain job space that hitherto a forte for men. We now have more women pilots, more engineers, etc.
Women’s empowerment is key to world development. We must choose to challenge all forms of policies that tend to suppress women’s empowerment. If she possesses the right skills, training and prerequisite education, there should be no disparity.
Earnings in the same role and performance shouldn’t be driven by gender configuration. High-paying jobs should not be exclusive of men.
Those customs and traditions deliberately being promoted to limit women must be challenged. A woman should not be denied inheritance or be a custodian of a heritage, where it is entitled to for the reason of gender.
It is important that people of the world choose to challenge the system that compromised legal protections for women. A woman should be adequately protected under the law against all forms of abuse; sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, marital abuse, harassment in public facilities, etc.
A woman should not be forced to make a compromised decision capable of limiting her goals or cut short her dreams and aspiration due to lack of legal protections.
We must collectively choose to challenge societal mindsets that have a significant impact on gender disparity. The difference and values placed on individual members in the society should not be determined by the reason of gender but the role each person performs that added value to the society which aids development should be the major criteria.
~Mayowa is the COO of Steptcraft Nigeria Ltd and Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the NIPR