International Women’s Day is here and sure there will be a lot of depressing stories and articles on how women in Sub Saharan Africa are still subjugated and choked with oppression. There will also be stories about how they cannot do much without the intervention and help of the Western World.
Well, I do agree that women in Sub Saharan Africa go through hell everyday. I strongly believe they need a 360 degree support system which helps them build skills, provides access to funds and markets alike. What they don’t need is pity!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie rightly points out in her recent call to arms statement: “My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better,’” writes Adichie in the essay. “All of us, women and men, must do better.”
Women here are strong. Yes, thats the word. They are brave, confident and determined. They hustle in the markets, start small businesses and make them big… a lot of times all on their own. In every aspect of life, they are ahead of men. Nigerian women today are also challenging the glass ceiling in the corporate world and the creative sphere. Nigeria is one of those very few places where we have more women entrepreneurs than men. From markets to homes to corporates, they are the true games changers. And I must say, I admire their grit and strength. There is definitely a lot to learn from them.
As a banker, I have always worked towards financial inclusion and will continue to do so. We have made some progress but definitely there’s lots more to be done. I believe investing in women can change the face of our continent. Improving women’s access to working capital and enabling their ventures can add billions to the global economy.
Just like in Wakanda, the fictional country in the movie Black Panther – our women are warriors! They need our unbiased support, but not pity!