By Winifred Bulus
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in Kaduna State, North West of Nigeria, Hafsat Mohammed Baba, says her state government is poised to give women opportunity to showcase their potentials for the development of the state.
Baba, who was speaking on the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations, noted that the predicament of women calls for concern, and there was need to give them a chance to contribute to government programmes aimed at enhancing the welfare of its citizens.
At a round table discussion with journalists on ‘Violence Against Women and Children’ held at Africa Media Development Foundation Office in Kaduna, the Commissioner said, the media has a role to play in ensuring a level playing ground for women’s particpation.
“Every day is a day for the woman. She is the mother, the wife, sister, auntie and more. The woman takes care of everyone around her. Setting a day aside for the woman is in recognition of the hardships women have been going through and evaluating how far women have come and where they are going.
“In as much as we are celebrating, we also have to look at our issues as women and how we can address them. The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is going to make sure women in the state, especially women in rural areas feel the impact of the government in the next international Women’s day celebration.” She assured.
International Women’s Day, IWD, originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights. The theme for 2017 is #Beboldforchange.
Some Nigerian women interviewed spoke on their achievements as women and how far they have come.
“My name is Mrs. Juliana Abu. I have been a nurse for 29 years. I was lucky enough to be educated. Thank God my father was a teacher and felt the need to educate all his four girls. He used to tell us he had nothing to offer us but education so, he invested in me and I became a nurse.
“I had a choice to be what I wanted to be and right from the start, I wanted to become a nurse. Thank God my husband had the dream of marrying a nurse. That brought us closer and after we got married, we had the desire to invest in educating our children.
“Education is more valuable than anything else. Women are going through challenges and have limitations, there are men who have the mentality of reducing their women to domestic helps in the house,” she explained.
Also speaking on achievements, Tope Sherrif, a fashion designer said, “my focus is basically on male fashion. Over the years, I’ve had men tell me they cannot have a woman sew for them, what does a woman know? I’ve lost clients who became clients because they were hoping they could have some sort of relationship with me. Finally I’ve lost clients because their wives or girlfriends weren’t comfortable having a beautiful woman sewing for their partners.”
“My name is Faith Garba. I am a lecturer. Well my happiest achievement right now is the fact that I have lost 25kg, I know it sounds very superficial but believe me, it’s something a lot of people wish they could do but cannot.
“My weight hindered me from doing a lot of things I naturally would have wanted to do. It made me shy because of peoples negative comments and looks but today, I’m still on my weight loss journey and I am happier and feel accomplished in that aspect,” she noted.
“My name is Esther Pwajok. I am a chef. I cater for events both outdoor and private, render private chef services also run culinary training and serve as a food consultant.
“So far, it has not been easy as a young lady like me but so far I have been able to have my own food service (Veelicious Cuisine). I have been able to work with some professionals in the food service. I have been able to build my career around food business and also impact the younger generation by pursuing a career,” she said.
“My name is Amira Taiga. I was born on the 29th of April,1996. I obtained my BSc degree from Babcock University in Economics with a second class upper. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the American university of Nigeria, Yola.
“Getting to this level of achievements at such a young age is nothing but dedication, hard work and faith in God. The 100% support from family plays a vital role in my achievements. Being the youngest in the midst of grown-ups actually contributes to my growth as a person and at the end of my Masters programme, I plan to pursue a PhD,” she explained.