This year, I celebrated International Women’s Day with my fellow volunteers in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria. Here is a blog post I wrote for the impact ikorodu (https://impactikorodu.wordpress.com/) blog in March:
Tuesday 8th March 2016 was United Nations International Women’s Day. An opportunity not only to celebrate the inspiring women in our communities, but to acknowledge the progress made for gender equality and campaign for further progress and positive change for gender equality.
The theme for this year’s women’s day was Planet 50 50 by 2030, a world free from gender discrimination by the year 2030. Sometimes, we see that there can be a fear surrounding gender equality, we see the view that for women to win and have equal rights, men need to surrender some of theirs.
We found it important to stress that this is not the case, when women and girls win, everybody wins. Women’s issues are not just for women, they are issues for everyone. For the success of a nation, it cannot leave any of its members behind, equality for women is progress for all.
To celebrate International Women’s day, the Impact Ikorodu team held a flash mob in the market. Getting over the initial horror of a public display in an area where I try and scuttle through with the fewest shouts of ‘oyinbo’ possible while keeping one eye on the bikes passing millimetres behind, I managed to learn some ‘basic’ steps to Destiny’s child’s ‘Independent Women’ with the team.
Some of us were certainly better dancers than others, but we all managed to locate some rhythm eventually. The performance was an attempt to attract as much attention as possible for our cause, and it certainly did that. It was amazing to see people passing by and getting involved with the dancing (I caught a woman dancing while carrying a generator on her head). After a short speech on celebrating women and campaigning for gender equality we headed home to finalise the planning of the Women’s event in Aiyegbami, Ikorodu North, in the afternoon.
Ikorodu North is more rural than the other LCDAs that the ICS team works in, so it was fantastic to see over 70 attending the event, the majority of which were women. The event featured presentations from the ICS team, an interactive quiz, inspirational local speakers and a repeat performance of our flash mob dance (it’s amazing half of us managed to forget the steps from the morning) which received a cheer when we did the Shoki. We repeated the event in Aga the following week to an audience of over 50 to an equally warm reception.
The combined events were a great celebration of women in Ikorodu, they represent what ICS is all about as we celebrated in a way the community enjoyed and appreciated. It was an important reminder to keep the community at the centre of all our community action days for them to be successful, even if they don’t suit our own personal beliefs down to a tee.