Today, March 8 is the International Women’s day and what better way to celebrate than to recognise the numerous women of honor that have made impacts in their chosen fields of endeavor.
About the International Women’s Day
The IWD is the day set aside globally to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women, past, present and future; it is celebrated annually on March 8 everywhere across the globe. In some countries like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.
It is in addition to celebrating accomplishments or achievements of women also to remind all women of the inequalities or inequities that are still unaddressed globally.
The importance of women in the society cannot be overemphasized actually…yes, we run things, we run the world.
In my (sometimes straight and smooth, sometimes curvy and bumpy) life journey, I have indeed been priviledged to have come across some of these earthly angels without wings in the form of women who have nurtured, ‘mentored’ and steered me in the right direction, getting me back on track while constantly cheering me on.
They are indeed blessings who have been divinely deposited in my life purposefully. Some have been role models, motivators, friends, family, anchors and encouragers. They constantly remind me of who I am and what I can become. They are just too numerous to be mentioned but for the purpose of this writeup, I will write about 10 of these wonderful specie who had inspired and are still inspiring multitudes out there.
Superwoman numero uno…on my list..is my MUM…yes my mum…
An industrious and hardworking woman who sacrificed many that would a pleasure be for the sake of her children; a woman who was ready to navigate the atlantic ocean with only her will as tool.
An educationist per excellence, a beautiful and dutiful wife, a loving mother and a stern disciplinarian all rolled into one!
What manner of woman would combine raising and training 7 children while schooling and working? A superwoman!
She came, she saw, conquered and now is peacefully resting, transformed into an heavenly being, lovingly, still watching and guiding her offsprings with her peaceful mien, even in her deep eternal sleep.
I truly love and miss you, every day.
2. Buchi Emecheta
She is one woman I admire immensely, whose work I got acquainted with through my mum who was a literature teacher and an avid reader.
B.E. inspired me with her unique and distinct style of writing with her works focussing mainly on women and their issues, at least the two I read were. I still have my tattered copy of Joys of Motherhood which I inherited from mum’s library. I recall those days of unaffected innocence and freedom when I would just curl up in bed with my novel, no cares in the world…
A brief on her biography:
She was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1944. She married as soon as she left school at the age of sixteen, and had two children. She joined her husband in England where he was studying, travelling by boat with 2 children. They went on to have 3 more children but..her love for writing eventually led her away from an unsupportive husband who would not read her first novel but rather burnt it. Talk about sheer determination and passion. She started writing fully to supprt herself and her children and has about sixteen novels in her kitty among other works. You may read more about her here.
(That reminds me, I have to dust that book again and read..I pick new things from it every time I do)
3. Flora Nwapa.
I also got to read one of her books in my formative years -Efuru. The novel first published in 1966 (years before I was conceived) is among the first English-language novels by a woman from Africa.
She paved the way literally for a generation of African women writers. While never considering herself a feminist, she is best known for recreating life and traditions from a woman’s viewpoint. In 1966 her book Efuru became Africa’s first internationally published female novel in the English language (Publisher: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd). Later she went on to become the first African woman publisher of novels when she founded Tata Press. A superwoman indeed.
Read more here.
4. Kudirat Abiola
She was MKO Abiola’s second wife who turned an activist when her husband was imprisoned. She launched a campaign for democracy and human rights when her husband was incarcerated in the aftermath of the election in 1993.
She proved to be a loyal wife and courageous fighter, inspiring many women and men alike. She held pro-democracy rallies, endured constant harassment from the government all the while defying the millitary decree banning political associations. She was persistent in calling for her husband’s release. She was assasinated in 1996, June 4.
5. Madam Tinubu
She was the first Iyalode of Egbaland. And though I have no affiliation with Egba, I read she was a wealthy slave trader with her headquaters in Abeokuta.
She discovered the ills of her business on visiting Badagry and seeing how she has been aiding in subjecting humans to babaric and inhumane treatment.
She reportedly stopped the trade and devoted her life and wealth on the abolition of the slave trade.
(Thank God for civilization)
Never read about her until very recently.
She did a lot in the area of women emancipation, devoted efforts to organizaing and motivating women by reportedly donating a month’s salary to some rural women to enable them start a trade or business ventures. She founded COWAN (Country Women Association of Nigeria) initially with 6 cooperative groups of 150 members; this has now grown to over 1400 across Nigeria.
A superwoman and motivator indeed.
7. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti
She was the matron of the Ransome Kuti dynasty, a distinct prominent leader of her generation.
Her political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria.
Kuti was the mother of the activists Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a musician, Beko Ransome-Kuti, a doctor, and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor and a former health minister of Nigeria.
She was known as an educator and human rights activist. She founded an organization for women in Abeokuta, and was also the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria.
Some of her achievements are listed below:
First Nigerian woman to drive a car, First Nigerian woman to ride a motorcycle, Co-founder of the Nigerian Union of Students, Co-founder of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Founded the largest African women’s organisation ever with 20,000 members, As the leader of Egba women lead a campaign against arbitrary taxation of women, that led to the abdication of the Egba king Oba Ademola II in 1949, Was Nigeria’s first ever representative at a women’s international conference in the USSR in 1963, She ran the junior section of Abeokuta Grammar School, Led a concerted campaign to ensure that girls went to school, etc
8. Grace Alele-Williams, (born December 16, 1932) made history as the first Nigerian woman to become the vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university, the University of benin. Mrs. Grace Alele Williams was also reputed to be one of the first Nigerian women to obtain a PhD.
9. Diana Wiwa.
Diana is the wife of Owens Wiwa, a medical doctor and human rights activist (Owen is the brother of Ken Saro Wiwa, the slain activist)
She was actively involved in the struggle for the ‘liberation’ of Ogoniland (human rights and enviromental issues). In the aftermath of Ken Saro Wiwa’s arrest and eventual death, she fled the country with her husband and child to continue the campaign from Canada where she was involved in putting pressure on the Government. She was a student leader at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, was elected Organizing Secretary of the National Youth Council of Ogoni people (the youth version of MOSOP – the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People) and also an international representative of the Federation of Ogoni Women Association (FOWA) and the coordinator of MOSOP Canada.
Last but not the least on my list is YOU.
Yes YOU, the everyday superwoman….juggling work with studies, family and still managing to find time to connect with other women around…
You, the everyday superwoman, making impact in your world, in your own way..one word at a time..one post at a time…
You are all my superwomen.
Have a great weekend.
One last word…let’s take the proactive step (if you haven’t) of getting our breasts scanned + having the (the dreaded) cervical screening or pap smear.