March 8 every year has been set aside by the United Nations to celebrate women and their contributions to nation building, growth and the development of the human race globally; however the day is also used to highlight the various challenges women go through on a daily basis, the hindrances they face, the limitations to achieving their full potentials and the gross abuse of the fundamental rights of women in various countries across the world occurring daily.

Women[men] all over the world have also used the day to press for issues that will improve their lives and those of the younger generations of women, from education, health, gender equality, freedom of expression and association etc. The yearly themes are chosen in accordance to the peculiarities and necessities of the moment.

This year’s theme #PressforProgress is apt at a time when the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report for 2017 states that gender parity is over 200 years away. It is therefore important that emphasis be put towards ensuring that progress is made towards gender parity.
While it is important to acknowledge that gender disparity did not happen overnight, [it has been from time immemorial]; it is also worth noting that it cannot also be achieved in a day or year, but significant efforts have to be shown towards achieving progress by various governments of the world.

The standard of lives of women should be improved. Women should not be discriminated against simply for just being women and denied their rights to a dignified livelihood. The growth of advocacy and supports towards activism geared at ensuring gender parity has over the years made it possible for us to see the little progress witnessed so far in this drive towards gender parity.

While gains are being made towards gender parity(due to the various advocacy and activism being engineered by various groups), we cannot afford to lose focus and be distracted as this, when there is still a lot of grounds to be covered and a lot more achieved.
There is need for everyone to come together, reach out to friends, colleagues and families go work towards gender parity. This is the time to #PressforProgress and that can only be achieved more when everyone works together.

The 2018 International Women Day should serve as a call to action and we cannot afford to be complacent about the core issues associated with gender parity.
Since the day and theme per year is not country or region specific, every country, group and organization is encouraged to do the needful as we #PressforProgress – it is our collective responsibility so to do.
No matter the obstacles towards the achievement of gender parity, with focus and tenacity a lot more can be achieved as we move along.

Women across Africa have over the years proven not to be pushovers, from standing up to dictators and facing oppression, to achieving great feats in different spheres (despite very many limitations), these gains were achieved in decades where issues concerning gender parity were considered taboo not to be discussed in public, one can only imagine how far the African woman can go as we continue to #PressforProgress and work towards actualizing gender parity within the shortest possible time.

Although the International Women’s Day is marked on March 8, the theme and activities are meant to continue all through the year – March 8 merely serves as a kickoff date, while the theme ensures that everyone is focused on a particular goal, that way the desired objective is significantly achieved per year. It is then left(after today) for groups, organizations, individuals and governments to further the campaign in various ways and forums by carrying out gender focused initiatives and events.

Last year’s theme #BeBoldforChange had engendered a need to seek new ways of doing things, this year’s theme #PressforProgress will further keep the flag of gender parity flying.

Collective action towards the #PressforProgress will make both the 2018 International Women’s Day and the dream of gender parity achievable. The struggle for equality should be the major concern of anyone who cares about Human Rights, as Gloria Steinem puts it “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

The entire #TeamChanceMedia wishes all women the world over a HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 – gender parity is achievable.

Photo Credit: www.internationalwomensday.com

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