By Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie
MARCH 8 is a special day for all women. International Wo-men’s Day, which was first celebrated in 1911, is a day when we celebrate the so-cial, economic, cultural, poli-tical and even religious role and achievements of wo-men all over the world. It is also a day to reflect on the progressive role of women in the society.
Issues such as gender equality, Women Liberation and widow emp-owerment are highlighted on such days. The theme of 2018 International Women’s Day is ’Press for Progress.’ We shall reflect briefly on some of the areas where women have contributed to progress in our socie-ty.
Progress through Pro-creation: The greatest progress in every society is in the area of procreat-ion. Without procreation a society will be stagnant. Procreation is the propa-gation of more human be-ings into the society. It is indeed the foundation of every other progress in society, because human beings are the agents of progress. Incidentally, wo-men are the agents of procreation. They are the ones that give birth to all the human beings in the world, including you.
Women are the first teachers we encoun-ter in life: Educ-ation is the ess-ence of prog-ress. Without education there will be little or no progress. Women play a vital role in education. They are the teachers of teachers. Almost all the teachers in the world passed through mothers, who are the first teachers every child encounters in life. After the informal training most mothers are ready to sell their cloths to ensure that their child-ren get the best of educ-ation, which is the essen-ce of progress.
Women are managers in their various homes: To manage the home is not as easy as one may think. Home management has to do with daily feeding of family members, the gen-eral upkeep of the home, such as daily cleaning of the compound, water su-pply, firewood or gas as the case may be, school run, laundry and so on and so forth. Most of these activities are per-fectly executed by wom-en. Without women the homes will not experience progress. A healthy family is one that is headed by a men but managed by women.
Women are Agents of Change: Former US Sec-retary of State Hillary Rod-ham Clinton, narrates her encounter with women as agents of change: “I’ve met with women from every walk of life, and le-arned that women every-where have much more in common than what sepa-rates us: aspirations for good jobs, healthy fam-ilies, strong communiti-es, the drive to be entre-preneurs and builders, agents of change, drivers of progress, makers of peace.”
Change cannot take pla-ce without women. Nume-rically, their voting power is more than that of men. Women can easily mobi-lize themselves to effect any form of change. If the world must change for better then it must carry women along.
Women are Agents of Harmony: The Holy Father, Pope Francis, describes women as the agents of harmony. According to him, “Without women there will be no harmony in the world. It is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harm-ony which makes the world a beautiful place.” Harmony, according to the Holy Fath-er, beautifies the world. A harmonious world is indeed a beautiful world. This har-mony cannot be establish-ed without women. Women are therefore the agents of peace and harmony.
Women are Drivers of Pro-gress: Most of the progress we have recorded in our world today whether at the rural areas and even at the urban cities, were initiated by women. That is why Ban Ki-moon describes women as major agents for prog-ress in climate change and development goals. On development, he said, “we need to think of women who change their commu-nities. Consider Banglade-sh, where the success of microfinance has transfor-med the lives of its peo-ple, mainly through the empowerment of its rural women.
In affirmation, the UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, also declares: “Wh-en we are free to claim our rights—we are extre-mely powerful drivers of progress; and this is just as true of a woman in a fishing village as it is of the Director of a multi-national agency.” If this is the case, women are ther-efore the drivers of pro-gress.
Women are indispens-able Helpmates: The Chri-stian Bible presents wo-men as helpmates to men. After creation the Lord God declares: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will ma-ke him a helper.” The role women is not just restri-cted to the kitchen as President Buhari declar-ed. Women are helpers in all ramifications. Without women there will be no progress. Any institution that ignores the helping role of women is bound to crash.
As we celebrate all the women who have contributed to progress in our society, we wish our womenfolk happy International Women Day celebration!