Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day: Press For Progress For Nigerian Women

Today is International Women’s Day, a day set aside worldwide to celebrate the social, political, economic and cultural achievements of women.  The United Nations celebrated the day for the first time in 1975 and although women have made great advancements a lot still remains to be done which makes this year’s theme “Press for Progress” apt.  The US Mission in Nigeria is also making its contribution to the advancement of women and girls in Nigeria through several programs that it runs, some specifically targeted at women.

One of such programs is the Techwomen exchange program which the Embassy supports.  The TechWomen is a U.S. initiative empowering and connecting the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  Some Nigerian women who participated in the 2017 Techwomen exchange program include Carolyn Seaman and Damilola Anwo-Ade.  Carolyn Seaman is using technology to empower girls through her Girls Voices Initiative, while Damilola Anwo-Ade is mentoring the next generation of coders, including young women, through her initiative CodeIT.

The Embassy each year also organizes programs to stop gender based violence during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.  Last year, several events were organized including a roundtable discussion on the theme “Eliminating Violence against Women with Disabilities.”  This program was linked virtually through Google Hangout with the five American Corners across Nigeria:  Kano, Bauchi, Calabar, Sokoto, and Maiduguri.  A panel discussion also took place on “United in Justice:  Stopping Gender-Based Violence with Institutional Support.”  Panelists included representatives of the National Police, NGO community, religious institutions, and the National Human Rights Commission.

Women are equally represented in all U.S. Government exchange programs such as the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Fulbright Program, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship and the Mandela Washington Fellowship.  Of the 100 Mandela Fellows last year 50% were women drawn from different parts of Nigeria.

Editor's note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Mission Nigeria's publication on Medium

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