Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed. Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential. UN Secretary-General’s Message for International Women’s Day
This year’s International Women’s Day comes at a time when women have become increasingly conscious and aware of their strength and magic. From Yvonne Orji to Ihan Omar, we as women have come to own our space.
However, while we have recorded an appreciable level of success, much remains to be done especially in the workplace. Therefore, this years’ International Women’s Day theme Women In The Changing World of Work Planet :50-50 by 2030 is really pleasing to me and a lot of women as we are often faced with some form of gender discrimination at work.
Certainly, globalization has led to an increase in the number of women in paid labour. Nonetheless, women are concentrated in low paid jobs, low skill jobs with greater insecurity and are underrepresented in decision-making roles and fields such as science and technology. According to a UN Women report if women played an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion could be added to the global annual Gross Domestic Product by 2025.
Among the various challenges faced by working Nigerian women, workplace sexism is a topic that I have a profound interest in. My interest stems from the realisation that assignments given based on gender are not beneficial career wise. While some of my girl friends are pissed about being tasked with time wasting assignments such as cleaning the staff kitchen, others do not mind being .given assignments based on their gender.
Whether for or against what Sherly Sandberg terms as “office house work”, the truth is work place sexism not only has the awesome potential to mar our careers as women but also prevents us from taking up leadership positions.
I am of the opinion that women should refuse sexist assignments. It is not insubordination rather it is knowing your worth and standing up for yourself. If the guys can pick which assignments they would rather work on so can we. No one gets a promotion for planning the end of the year party. (Ladies let’s be visible at work. No more invisible, time wasting assignments we never get rewarded for).
In her message for International Women’s Day, UN Women Executive Director Phumizile Mlambo-Ngcuka says achieving equality in the work place will require an expansion of decent employment and employment opportunities involving governments targeted efforts to promote women participation in economic life, removing discrimination women face on multiple and intersecting fronts.
Therefore, in order to ensure workplace equality, there is a need for us to continue to promote gender equality and women empowerment in our various communities and workplace. In this light, If the HR policy regarding women in your workplace stinks, do something about it. If your boss thinks women should always be the note takers at meetings educate him/her a little.
I understand it can be hard changing stereotypes about women but we can at least try.
Let’s be bold for change, future generations will thank us for it.
Join the conversation on twitter with #BeBoldForChange.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Love and Light