International Women’s Day 2022 theme, history and wetin e mean for Africa

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Each year, di UN dey set aside 8 March to celebrate di hard-win rights of women – and to focus on di challenges wey still dey ahead to end gender discrimination for almost all parts of life.

“Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow” be di theme wey di UN don choose dis year to mark wetin dem officially sabi as International Women Day (IWD).

So why dem choose dis theme?

Dr Maxime Houinato, wey be di UN Women regional director for East and Southern Africa, tell BBC say “to advance gender equality for di issue of di climate wahala and disaster risk reduction be one of di greatest global challenge of di 21st century”.

“Women and girls dey experience di greatest impact of climate change,” she add.

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In fact, UN research show say na women and girls dey die pass for natural disaster.

“For example, 95% of pipo wey die for di Solomon Islands 2014 flash floods be women, 55% of deaths dem record for di 2015 earthquake for Nepal be women, and 59% of pipo wey dey displaced afta Cyclone Idai for 2019 for Malawi be women,” UN Women say for dia website.

Furthermore, weather-related disasters don make socio-economic problems worse.

“For Uganda, for example, loss of livestock, crop failures, and food insecurities sake of extreme droughts, and locust invasion na sometin dem find say increase school dropouts, force di practice of forced labour among girls, and increase di case of child marriage sake of exchange for food,” one article for di development-focuse news agency, Inter Press Service, point out.

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How di International Women Day take start?

IWD bin grow out of di labour movement for 1908, and den become officially recognised as every year event by di UN plenti years later, for 1975.

For 1908, more dan 15,000 women bin march through New York City to ask for shorter work hours, better pay and di right to vote.

Di Socialist Party of America declare di first National Women Day for di US one year later.

German Marxist and feminist Clara Zetkin be one of di pipo behind di recognition of international version of di US National Women Day.

100 women from 17 kontries join Zetkin for International Conference of Working Women for Denmark capital Copenhagen for 1910.

Di conference bin agree to Zetkin suggestion say from di following year, Women Day go dey celebrated for Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Zetkin idea for International Women Day bin no get fixed date.

E bin dey formalised afta war-time strike by women for Russia for 1917. Di women bin demand”bread and peace” and four days inside di women strike, di Tsar bin dey forced to step down and di provisional goment bin give women di right to vote.

Di date wen di women strike start for di Julian calendar, wey dem bin dey use for Russia, be Sunday 23 February. Dis day for di Gregorian calendar be March. Dis na wen dem dey celebrate am as public holiday for Russia and about two dozen oda kontries.

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What about Africa?

Dem dey celebrate IWD as public holiday for seven African kontries. Dis wan include Eritrea, to recognise di ogbonge contribution women and girls make as fighters for di kontri 10-year-long struggle for independence.

Fighters ofdi Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) dey considered equal among dia male colleagues for di struggle for an independent Eritrea, 20th June 1978

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Women fight as equals for Eritrea struggle for independence

Oda African states wey don declare 8 March as public holiday be Angola, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Uganda and Zambia.

For Madagascar, e be official holiday for women only.

Some African kontries get dia own Women Day – South Africa dey mark am as public holiday on 9 August to honour di 20,000 women wey march on dat day for 1956 to protest against di racist policy of di white-minority regime wey bin dey power dat time.

“You strike one woman, you strike one rock,” di women dey sing as dem dey move towards di regime seat of power for di capital Pretoria.

To add to dis, di African Union don declare 31 July as Africa Women Day.

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Di AU say di day aim “to recognise and affirm” di role of women to “achieve di political freedom of Africa and advance di social and economic status of women for di continent”.

Although plenti tins still dey need to achieve gender equality, women for Africa don make some notable gains wit 2021 UN data wey show say Rwanda get di highest number of females for parliament. 61%, followed by Cuba and Bolivia wit 53% each and di United Arab Emirates wit 50%.

East and southern Africa get di highest representation of women for parliament in sub-Saharan Africa – 32% as at December 2020, compared to di global average of 24.5%.