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WOMEN AS STRATEGIC AGENTS FOR ENDING THE PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY – ”Men are naturally selfish”

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  • ’There is no country in the world where girls and women have equal opportunities to boys and men. ‘’Take a stand for a world where # She is Equal. – GLOBAL CITIZENS
  • Men are naturally selfish: This is not to say that we should behave badly to those we love, but that we should care less about anyone or anything draining or needlessly time-consuming.This attitude goes against almost every woman’s instinct. I’ve noticed that men, like my husband, are much less likely to worry about how their actions will impact on others, while women are often preoccupied with how others will judge them. Alexandra Reinwarth
  • IT IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING IN AFRICA – THE POOREST CONTINENT:  “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by Civil War and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institutions. Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build.” – Salim Ahmed Salim – Chair, Prize Committee
  • REWARD FOR SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: An interesting revelation in the course of compiling this account on Mo Ibrahim who champions good causes, several of them unknown to humanity. For instance, BBC reports indicate that: ‘’Veteran peace campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded US$1m (£620,000) by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for “speaking truth to power”. The London-based Foundation called the cleric “one of Africa’s great voices for justice, freedom, democracy and responsible, responsive government”. He won the Nobel Peace Prize – and 10m Swedish Krona (£935,000) – in 1984 for his campaign against apartheid. Archbishop Tutu, the South African cleric was outspoken on international affairs’’
  • ABOUT THE INITIATOR/FINANCIER/FOUNDER & CHAIR, MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION:  — A PHILANTHROPIC DEED WORTH EMULATING – Sudan-born, Dr Mo Ibrahim is the Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which he established in 2006 to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent. Dr Ibrahim has a distinguished business career. In 1989 he founded Mobile Systems International (MSI), a world leading cellular consulting and software provider and in 1998, Celtel International, one of Africa’s leading mobile telephone companies that pioneered mobile services in Africa. Dr Ibrahim is also Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, a private equity fund focused on Africa.

GENDER EQUALITY AS A GLOBAL AGENDA – ALSO DEPENDENT ON ERADICATING POVERTY: The first elected female head of government in the world was Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who in 1960 became prime minister of Sri Lanka, the South Asian country then known as Ceylon. In Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf followed suit. In 2015, Mauritius had its first elected female president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who was elected through a parliamentary vote. Joyce Banda of Malawi got into office of president following the death of the sitting president. She was in office for two years and never won the election that would have thrown her up to be an elected president.

As at 2018, there were only 20 women holding the office of Head of State or Head of Government, which represented only 6,3% of the total number of international leaders. It is very glaring that no matter how loud all those international statutes are mouthed, men will not yield the grounds for the female gender in politics to rule. It seems a very tall order given the political configuration of this age, and particularly cultural and religious barriers in the developing world. But t is good to know that these formidable barriers could crumble within a few decades.

IN NIGERIA:  The closest women got to sniffing paramount political power in Nigeria was when Chief Obafemi Awolowo picked Mrs. Oyibo Odinamadu as his running mate for the 1983 Presidential election. She probably might have succeeded Awolowo after the statutory 8 years, had the pair won. Even at that, there was no assurance that men, on the excuse of democratic ideals, would not have shoved Odinamadu aside. Of course, there have been several other women considered formidable who have thrown their hats into rings. Rt. Hon. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, CFR remains the only woman to have risen to the highest political position in Nigeria as Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives as Nigeria’s no 4 citizen. Regrettably, however, she never enjoyed a breathing space.

Other women have made attempts to occupy the seat of President of the Federal Republic. They failed, not on account of incompetence but what could be referred to as the African/Nigerian factor. There were problems, and there are still issues of chauvinism, religion, culture, and lack of proper awareness.  And so, formidable candidates like Dr. Sarah Nnadzwa Jibril, a sociologist;  Remi Sonaiya, a professor and linguist;  Oby Ezekwesili, an accountant and a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in transparency in the extractive sector; and Olufumilayo Adesanya-Davis, a Professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education; Eunice Atuejide, Elishama Rosemary Ideh, and Adeline Iwuagwu-Emihe all fell by the wayside. A BBC Report of February 2019 titled: Where are Nigerian Women lamented that: ”Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female participation in parliament, according to the UN. Women hold only 5.29% of seats in Nigeria’s state assemblies, despite women making up half of the electorate. Experts suggest that women could be deterred from entering politics by a patriarchal society and a lack of transparency in the candidate selection process.”

ON GLOBAL CITIZENS GOOD REPORT: Anyone who has gone through publications authored by GLOBAL CITIZENS, the organization that facilitated the recent concert for a united world against COVID-19 would certainly be impressed by what the body is doing. Young people who have taken it upon themselves to educate the world on various issues. Take for instance their cliché on the development of the female gender. ‘’There is no country in the world where girls and women have equal opportunities to boys and men. ‘’Take a stand for a world where # She is Equal. The statistics provided by the organization is worth going through:

  • 130 million girls are not in school, and a girl is married as a child bride every two seconds.
  • 214 million women and teen girls have no control over one of the biggest decisions of their lives: if and when to safely have children.
  • Big businesses spend trillions of dollars on suppliers every year, yet just 1% goes to businesses owned by women.

Here’s What We Can Do   

  • In 1995, world leaders promised to achieve equality for girls and women — from getting every girl in school to ending child marriage. Call on them to deliver.
  • Tell world leaders that women will never achieve true equality without the choice of, if, and when to have children.
  • Demand that big business supports female entrepreneurs.(Global Citizens)

GENDER EQUALITY & POVERTY: There is correlation between gender equality and The United Nations is definitely conscious of the negative impact of poverty on its agenda for the welfare of the global community, as well as the promotion of peace and international understanding. It is most probably for this reason that the SGDs agenda on: ‘’Ending poverty and hunger for all persons with disabilities (Goals 1 and 2) occupy those prime spaces on the agenda terminating in 2030. Poverty is real. The United Nations has taken a good step by including gender equality as Goal No 5 in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by heads of governments in New-York in 2015 at the end of the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Women is the principal agency of the United Nations that is supervising this agenda. Goal 5: sub-titled: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The The targets are as follows:

  • 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
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment ofall women and girls at all levels.

HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: We require huge advocacy/sensitization campaigns for women and girls to create more than a passing interest in the campaign for gender equality. The campaign must permeate the grassroots and could be taught in institutions of learning to infuse confidence in young ones. Parents must be encouraged to teach gender equality practiced in a way that would be adapted to our culture that makes husbands the heads of family units; for this plan to succeed. Our society hasn’t advanced to a stage whereby the wife would call the husband to say: ‘’John or Joseph – It’s your turn to be in the kitchen tonight’’. Equality that will encourage the female gender to compete for leadership positions with men  at places of work, in politics, and wherever policies are formulated and implemented without being regarded as inferior human beings.  If we adopt the principle of the best hands manage the public and private sectors, we will move towards our anticipated goals. Therefore, some element of strategic communication is required. Communication that promotes knowledge widely beyond mouthing: ‘’Gender Equality’’

THE MAIN DRIVERS: According to President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, the main drivers of Africa’s strong performance in gender equality are ‘’women’s political empowerment and gender parity in education. However, there are still areas lagging behind, such as representation of women in the political space, gender equality in the workspace and the establishment of laws to tackle violence against women. Achieving gender equality requires women to be agents of change, makers of peace and drivers of progress, and to this end, African countries still have a long way to go.’’ From the foregoing, it could be inferred that:  It would occur only if women decide to come out of their shells and stop begging for concessions that might take eternity to come. It will be their turn if only women would refuse to be the cheerleaders, singing and dancing all over as men strategize.  Hillary Clinton never begged or waited for concessions. She got the nomination by running for the presidential contest after a very tasking campaign which she won, throwing her hat into the ring to confront President Donald Trump

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

AN EXCEPTIONAL AFRICAN WOMAN & ROLE MODEL — COLLECTED NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR NON-VIOLENT STRUGGLES: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s rugged ambition was the product of struggles as an activist and resilience.   She was President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018) and has made history as the first elected female Head of State in Africa. She had lost the 1997 presidential election to Charles Taylor. She became the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018.  In 2011, Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” In the same year, she was successfully reelected. She was listed as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes She is 80 years old.

EXCERPTS FROM PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF”S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:  It is an honour to have been selected for the Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership. By choice, I have led a life of service and sacrifice on behalf of the Liberian people, and I will remain forever grateful to them for the privilege to serve. As the first woman to receive the award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to reach for their true  to navigate the challenges, break through barriers, and to pursue their dreams. Where there is a first, there comes a second, and a third, and a fourth. I am thankful that the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in granting me this honour, has sought to emphasise the consolidation of Liberia as a democratic state under my two terms in office. Indeed, my most proud accomplishment is that after 30 years of conflict, the power in Liberia now rests where it should – with the people, grounded in rule of law, and in strong institutions. And I note with pride that Liberia was the only country on the continent to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance – a testament to all those who served in my government.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation continues to be a transformative force on the continent. They have changed the conversation about leadership. This is a discussion that I will continue to carry forward in my post-presidency years. When I accepted the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership back in April 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda, I stated as the first woman to receive this award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to break through barriers and push back on the frontiers of life’s possibilities.

HOW FAR CAN NIGERIAN WOMEN GO IN POLITICS & LEADERSHIP? – THE ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF EXAMPLE

GOOD GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA & THE MO IBRAHIM’S ENVIABLE PHILANTHROPIC GESTURES:  Andrew Carnegie, one-time richest man in the world at the age of 66 years in 1901 believed in the concept of Social Darwinism. Carnegie believed it was acceptable to make a lot of money. But he believed in philanthropy – giving to worthy causes. He authored a book: ‘The Gospel of Wealth’ (1889) in which he stated categorically that: ‘’ be the duty of the man of wealth: To set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community-the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves’’

PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF OF LIBERIA – THE BEST AFRICAN HEAD OF STATE FOR YEAR 2017:  “In very difficult circumstances, she helped guide her nation towards a peaceful and democratic future, paving the way for her successor to follow.” The award was instituted in 2006, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who got the award in 2017 was the fifth awardee.  The Ibrahim Prize is the largest annually awarded prize in the world, consisting of a prize of five million US$ 5 million USD over ten years; and US$200 000 per year for life thereafter. Essentially, the coveted prize aimed at boosting good governance and the plight of Africans is worth working for by heads of government. The prize is equally enough to sustain anyone who leaves office after a good outing; even without the statutory pensions enjoyed by former political office holders.

PRIZE CRITERIA

  • Recognizes and celebrates African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity
  • Highlights exceptional role models for the continent
  • Ensures that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent

ALSO COLLECTED NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR NON-VIOLENT STRUGGLES: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s rugged ambition was the product of struggles as an activist and resilience.   She was President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018) and has made history as the first elected female Head of State in Africa. She had lost the 1997 presidential election to Charles Taylor. She became the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018.  In 2011, Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” In the same year, she was successfully reelected. She was listed as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes She is 80 years old.

PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF”S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: It is an honour to have been selected for the Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership. By choice, I have led a life of service and sacrifice on behalf of the Liberian people, and I will remain forever grateful to them for the privilege to serve. As the first woman to receive the award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to reach for their true  to navigate the challenges, break through barriers, and to pursue their dreams. Where there is a first, there comes a second, and a third, and a fourth. I am thankful that the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in granting me this honour, has sought to emphasise the consolidation of Liberia as a democratic state under my two terms in office. Indeed, my most proud accomplishment is that after 30 years of conflict, the power in Liberia now rests where it should – with the people, grounded in rule of law, and in strong institutions. And I note with pride that Liberia was the only country on the continent to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance – a testament to all those who served in my government. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation continues to be a transformative force on the continent. They have changed the conversation about leadership. This is a discussion that I will continue to carry forward in my post-presidency years. When I accepted the Mo Ibraheem Prize African Leadership back in April 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda, I stated as the first woman to receive this award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to break through barriers and push back on the frontiers of life’s possibilities.

GENDER EQUALITY AS AN AFRICAN UNION 2063 AGENDA: Gender equality is a governance and development goal in Africa and globally. Agenda 2063 establishes that the Africa of 2063 will be a continent where gender equality is embedded in all spheres of life. SDG 5 sets that women and girls everywhere must have equal rights and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. These commitments towards gender equality are not standalone but must be integrated into all dimensions of governance, from security to education, health, economic empowerment and political participation. The importance of gender equality in all aspects of governance is reflected in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Its sub-category Gender measures progress in gender equality on the continent across areas such as the promotion of gender equality by governments, gender parity at school, women’s labour force participation, women’s political and judiciary representation, women’s political empowerment, and laws on violence against women.

The main drivers of Africa’s strong performance in gender equality are women’s political empowerment and gender parity in education. However, there are still areas lagging behind, such as representation of women in the political space, gender equality in the workspace and the establishment of laws to tackle violence against women. While I warmly praise the overall progress on the continent, I strongly voice that efforts must not stop there. Achieving gender equality requires women to be agents of change, makers of peace and drivers of progress, and to this end African countries still have a long way to go.

EMPOWERMENT THROUGH QUALITY EDUCATION: The first step to empower women is providing quality education to girls and young women. The 2018 IIAG shows that improvements in gender parity in primary and lower secondary school were made over the last ten years in 36 African countries, representing 83% of Africa’s population. Providing girls with skills development and quality education at least up to secondary level is essential to improving their lives and that of their communities. Lower levels of education are not only linked to child marriage and early pregnancy, but also to lower expected incomes and higher levels of poverty later in life. Educating women up to secondary level can help foster their participation in labour force, enhance their prospects of full-time work and double their income. In addition to economic empowerment, education is also the way to more decision-making power for women at home and to a stronger voice in the workplace and in society at large.

ELLEN SIRLEAF: My message is that we should all cherish the notable progress in gender in Africa, but this has to be sustained by stronger actions towards ensuring girls’ access to and participation in quality education. Education is key for young girls and women to fulfill their potentials, break through barriers and pursue their dreams. Only through laying the foundations from the very beginning can gender equality be fully realised on the continent and benefit the future of African girls and women, as well as of African societies as a whole.

INFORMATION IS POWER: How do we formulate policies if we are unaware of local and global issues as they affect the citizenry? Being in public office is a huge responsibility for which we must prepare. We must encourage GLOBAL CITIZENS to do more by way of public enlightenment. Check this information also from the organization:

Why Global Citizens Should Care: Every day, hundreds of women and girls die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. But there’s a movement of countries, companies, and charities attempting to fight for their lives.

  • An estimated 130 million babies are born every year around the world. That’s about 356,000 per day. Sadly, with all that new life comes a vast number of maternal deaths.
  • About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications every day — 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).
  • Paolo Patruno, 46, is a social documentary photographer based in Bologna, Italy. In 2011, he started a long-term project called “Birth is a Dream,” a photo series that seeks to shed light on maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.

POLICY MAKERS; DRIVERS & GOVERNORS OF BOTH THE PUBLIC & PRIVATE SECTORS We strongly recommend that you go through the website of these young GLOBAL CITIZENS who are doing a tremendous work. Please visit: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/

We will write more, to encourage the female gender, by the grace of God.

 

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