Today marks International Women’s Day. We celebrate women for just who they are, their achievements and their contributions to the world, whether big or small. While we celebrate the contributions of women, there’s need to be cognisant that gender inequality still exists.
In Africa, and across the world, statistics show that women’s access to education, health, and resources is still worse than that of men, and more needs to be done to change this dynamic. After the celebration, it should not be “business as usual”, there’s need to continue working for change to ensure gender equality.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities the United Nations says.
According to the UN, it is also an opportunity to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:
– By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
– By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
– End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
– Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
– Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Today we join the world to celebrate the lives of women across the continent, and the globe.