In the midst of indications that the world is gradually moving away from long-held beliefs about the suppression of women, it became necessary to set aside one other day during the year for women across the world.
The world is increasingly aware of the effect of ruthless patriarchy as regards human existence. From the days of slavery to voting rights to civil rights and more, women, and oftentimes children became even more indirectly affected badly by cultures which sought to underscore the role of women in society.
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The International Women’s Day was believed to be first celebrated at a Women’s Day observance called National Woman’s Day in New York City on February 28, 1909. It then grew into being marked yearly on the 8th of March every year. The International Women’s day hence became year-marked to be celebrated after the United Nations marked it as the International Women’s Year, 1975.
As much as men have many firsts in setting new standards and breaking glass ceilings in human civilization, women definitely have a lot of firsts which are exemplary and worthy of mention.
Without Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz who invented the first non-horse-drawn vehicle, the modern car would not have become popular if she didn’t dare to go on that long trip with the prototype vehicle. Groundbreaking research in the field of science, technology and medicine may not have been possible without the ingenuity of Marie Curie who discovered radioactivity in the lab with her husband Pierre Curie. Without the brilliance of Katherine Johnson and her company of fellow human computers at NASA, exploits in space exploration would have been drawn decades more behind. If Rosa Parks had not been courageous enough to stand her ground and refuse to move in that bus in Montgomery, the struggle for civil rights would have drawn more blood and taken more years to achieve.
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Many of these women who exemplified the distinction of these accomplished women were either forbears or predecessors of the women in early Nigeria who also stood for what they believed in and became outliers and heroines in their own right. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti led a host of women on marches which expressed their dissatisfaction with despotic traditional and military regimes before Nigeria became independent. Margaret Ekpo did same earlier in 1921 when she led a revolt of women against a draconian tax law by the colonial government. Many young girls have since taken after the initiative of these earlier icons to become educated against all odds, strive amidst difficulties and expectations by the society, to become industry leaders and accomplished people in their own right.
It is the legacy that these courageous women continue to leave behind and many marks who are hardly equalled that continue to make our world a better place.
As goodwill messages poured in from diverse angles of the world, the moment remained a reminder and also an acknowledgement of the awesomeness of the entirety of womenfolk who make up the human race.
Therefore, here is a belated toast to all women, accomplished or not, whether ascribed heroes or not, for making our world a better place. May you witness many more International Women’s Days.
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