ODE TO WOMEN FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
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Thank you all for being role models.
For championing the cause of girls;
For inspiring and motivating them to
Have hope and believe in themselves
To excel and achieve and to know that
All things are possible to her that believeth in Herself.
There will be successes and setbacks
Causes for celebration and causes for sorrow
We celebrated the release of Aung Yun San Suu
Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1991),
from house arrest on the 13th November2010.
A universal symbol of courage, endurance and peaceful resistance.
2011 was a remarkable year for women.
We celebrated Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and
Tawwakul Karman in 2011 “for their non-
violent struggle for the safety of women and for
women’s rights to full participation in peace- building work”.
We celebrated the elevation of women to
top positions in two major international institutions.
Christine Lagarde assumed the position of
Head of the International Monetary Fund,
(IMF), the first time a woman occupied this position.
Fatou Bensouda was appointed Chief
Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court
(ICC), the first African to occupy this position.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago, was appointed to
be an ICC Judge.Both women are from
developing countries and strong advocates and
supporters for women’s rights and gender equality.
On the 25th September 2011 we mourned
The passing away of Wangari Mathai
The first African Woman to win the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2004.We mourn for Marie Colvin the
Sunday Times foreign affairs correspondent
killed in Homs on the 23rd February 2012 and all female journalists who are victims ofkillings,
state reprisals, abductions and kidnappings.
We witnessed many atrocities
against women in the horn of Africa, the Arab
Springs and other places of conflict.
Millions of Girls are still out of school and
gender based violence is still the living reality of
many women and girls.Women are still being
excluded from decision making in the public and private spheres.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day
today we want to show appreciation for their
immense contributions and achievements in the
cultural, economic, environmental, political,
peace and security and social spheres.
In spite of all odds they forge ahead
demonstrating courage, strength and versatility
in face of adversity and vicissitudes.
Trekking long distances to find safe havens for
their families in times of war and natural calamities.
Going hungry to feed their families and pay for
their education in times of hunger and food insecurity.
Living gracefully as survivors of violence andtrauma.
As emerging leaders, they play a critical role in
supporting other women, and teaching their
peers how to address their practical and strategic needs.
Informing institutions on their needs, and
demanding accessible services and raising
consciousness of shared experiences.
Thank you all for “Connecting Girls and Inspiring
Futures”.Without the dynamism and input of
the individual champions like yourselves;
Organisations and initiatives such as ECOWAS
Gender Development Centre (EGDC), Forum for
African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the
Green Belt Movement, Global Call for Action
Against Poverty (GCAP) and the United Nations
Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), UN Women, the Media
to name a fewwho are touching and changing
the lives of so many girls and women and
transforming societies we would not have come
As we celebrate today let us keep up the
momentum and renew our commitments to
gender equality and the struggle against
inequity and injustice.
Author: Adelaide Sosseh