International Women’s Day Celebrations | Rumana Jibrila, Blessila Nafoe Kandoh and Hafsat Sey Sumani

Story: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria | Producer, Breakfast Live Show

Every Year, the world observe 8th March as International Women’s Day (IWD). This day is set aside to celebrate women and also call out the inequalities that women and girls face at, home, school, community, work and other open places. It also serves as a day that pledges are made to better advance the rights of women in all places.

This year, the theme for IWD is “Breaking the Bias: Speaking out Towards a Gender Equal World Today for a sustainable Tomorrow’’. This theme seeks to promote a gender-equal world. A world free from discrimination, stereotype, bias and also create a world that is diverse and inclusive for all to thrive.

On this day, we all acknowledge that bias exists and we can break this bias if we all come together as one and take action at our schools, home, workplace, community, etc. then we can achieve that.  Here is the staff of NORSAAC choosing to break the biases that are dear to their heart as we celebrate women in this month of March. 

Rumana Jibrila, Girls and Female Empowerment Manager,

‘‘I choose to break the bias against female leadership. In the past, people have viewed women to be incompetent of handling key positions. This year, I want to challenge all those in authority to create level grounds for girls to aspire and occupy key positions. I believe that, if we really want to be more developed as a country, we need see a lot of women in spaces of leadership and as you know, a woman can better articulate about women issues than a guy. For instance, if you are looking at the issue of menstruation, a guy will only talk about what he has read he has not personally experienced what menstruation is.

So whatever policy he is coming out with is going to be based on book but then a woman who has experience menstruation will make policies or decisions based on the experiences that she has had. And I think that, this will positively impact girls more. So we need to see more women in places of decision making ’’

‘’I want to throw a challenge to the few women who are also in these positions to work harder and let us feel the impact of them in these key positions. Because I also believe that, part of the reason that people are kicking against this issue is that, sometimes, they are not able see the impact of the few people in that spaces. So we have to see them translate their words into action and we need to see development through women. It is only when the few women there are doing something positive that, people will be motivated to do that.

For instance, the female MPs that we have, if they are doing something significant in their district people would look at it and be like we have a male MP but he is not doing something for us but look at this woman there, see what she has done. She is distributing sanitary pads to vulnerable girls. She is building model girls school, ah, then next year, let us also push and have a female MP in our district so that she can also replicate that. But if we are not really seeing the impact or the change that they are bringing. It also adversely affect the struggle. ’’

Rumana Jibrila

Blessila Nafoe Kandoh, Youth Advocate and Campaign Coordinator.

‘’I choose to break the bias around gender job stereotyping and discrimination against women. So in the work that we do, we always advocate for the inclusion of women at all levels and this is something I resonate with. I believe that women have the opportunity to do a lot of things if given that platform. However, we are usually discriminated against and so for me, I believed that we need to rally and make all effort to be able to create equal opportunity for women to be included in programmes, interventions, decision making in all levels.’’

‘’I also believe that we need to sensitise women especially young girls on breaking gender job stereotyping. Helping them understand the kind of ability that women have to be able to perform all kinds of jobs. As part of our project activities at NORSAAC, we do provide training for girls in areas like paintings, in areas like satellite dish installations, in areas like tiles laying to be able to build their capacity and also link them to business opportunities for them to develop the interest and skills in these areas and also serve as inspiration for other young girls in marginalised communities. Young girls in the northern region need to believe that, they can do so much if they believe and work hard towards it.’’

Blessilla Na-afoe Kandoh | Norsaac

Hafsat Sey Sumani, Head of Programs, Policy and Campaigns

‘’ I want to see the bias around women in leadership changed and women taking positions at all levels and actually taking the decisions themselves. I am saying this because we still have a lot to do around affirmative action and I feel that it is one area we could workaround to change which would also go down to change the biases around it at all levels at the national, regional and district. For me, that is what I seek to challenge.’’

‘’Even in our homes, we are informed, we are not part of the decision making with regards to our children. A child is going to school and you are just sitting down watching, you would not be able to direct her or him choose these subjects and all that. It has to be the man. In fact, the man would just take the decision and inform you later. For me, that is one aspect I see personally that we are not involved in decision making at home.’’

Hafsat Sey Sumani

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