Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 International Women’s Day Celebrations (IWD) - March 8th 2012

Theme – ‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring futures’

Press Text

The 8th of March of every year is a day set aside by the United Nations as International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a day to recognise, celebrate and honour women’s struggles and achievements in the past years and to call attention to other areas of concerns that are critical to women’s life in particular and the society in general. This day is recognised and celebrated by various women’s human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society members, business outfits, government offices and educational institutions, in different parts of the world to bring issues that affect women to the fore.

This is necessary because of the disadvantages women face due to the disproportionate distribution of resources and gender roles in society. According to the United Nations, the majority of the world’s 1.5 billion who live on less than one dollar a day are women. Women also continue to be victims/survivors of violence both in domestic and public spheres. Violence against women including rape, incest, battery, etc continue to reoccur.  There is therefore an urgent need to introduce and implement more effective interventions to both redress and combat such incidents.

The International Women’s Day was first marked on the 19th of March in 1911 but was moved to the 8th of March in 1913.  Since then, this day has been celebrated all over the world with the sole aim of advocating, empowering and helping nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women. It is also focused on helping women gain full and equal participation in national and global development.

The theme for the 2012 celebrations is ‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures’. This is very instructive given the recent increase in incidents of rape and incest as reported in many national newspapers as well as in annual reports compiled by local and international organizations on Nigeria as well as on a number of other countries.  We all need to work together to end inhumane acts of violence against women and young girls to ensure that our society is free from all forms of such violence.

BAOBAB for Women’s Human rights is a not for profit, non-governmental organization working to promote and protect the human rights of women under customary, statutory and religious laws. As part of the organization’s intervention and advocacy to protect and promotes the rights of women, BAOBAB’s joins the rest of the world today to celebrate this remarkable event.

As part of our efforts to inspire young girls for positive change, BAOBAB has implemented various interventions which include educational empowerment for vulnerable young girls in the northern part of Nigeria, national talent competitions on easy writing and arts as well as mentoring programmes for young women interested in vying for leadership and political positions.

BAOBAB would like to use this occasion to call on the Nigerian governments to expedite action on its obligations under all national, regional and international instruments signed and ratified such as - Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women in Africa, Convention on the Elimination of all Form of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and others. BAOBAB recognises that the enforcement of these laws as well as the stipulations of non-discrimination in the Nigerian Constitution will further protect our women and young girls and expedite the realization of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

We would also like to use this opportunity to task the media to engage in more gender sensitive reporting, to give issues of women’s human rights and advocacy more visibility which will bring about positive development for the nation.

The organization encourages all stakeholders in the field of justice and human rights not to relent in their effort against violence against women until women and girls’ human rights become an integral part of everyday life.

Women and girls should be able to live a life void of violence. This we can achieve through our collective responsibilities.

Thank you.

Mma Odi
Executive Director

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