IWD 2024: President NAOWA, Mrs Lagbaja Advocates for More Prospects and Empowerment for Women to Inspire Inclusion

With well over a century of history and change, the first International Women's Day (IWD) was held in March 1911. International Women's Day isn't country, group or organization specific. It's a day of collective global activism and celebration that belongs to all those committed to forging women's equality. 

In a glamourous ceremony, the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association today, 8th March 2024 joined the rest of the world to mark International Women’s Day, with the global campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day which is “Inspire Inclusion”,the United Nations International Women’s Day theme which says, “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, a day set apart to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide, as well as to raise awareness about the issue of gender equality. 

First, the NAOWA members, led by the President,  Mrs Mariya Lagbaja had a symbolic walk to draw attention to the issue of gender equality and raise awareness about the various issues which affect the inclusion of women in the society. 

After the symbolic walk, members of NAOWA, Special Guests and representatives from sisters associations like DEPOWA, NAFOWA, NOWA, and POWA converged at the Army Command Officers Mess, Asokoro Abuja the venue of the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association International Women’s Day Symposium. 

In her opening remarks, President NAOWA, Mrs Mariya Lagbaja noted that International Women's Day is more than just a one-day event; It is a global movement which recognizes the crucial roles women play in developing the society, and highlights the need to address gender gaps and work towards creating a world where women have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. 

Mrs Lagbaja added that, "International Women’s Day also serves as a platform to raise awareness about issues affecting women globally. Some of these issues include gender-based violence, discrimination, child marriage and the challenges faced in getting quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, amongst others.

She noted that This programme is therefore being organized as part of NAOWA’s Corporate Social Responsibility, to raise awareness and support various initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and women empowerment for a more inclusive society.

Mrs Lagbaja charges all military wives to remember that their collective efforts have the power to bring about positive change. "By spreading awareness, promoting women's rights, and supporting each other, we can “Inspire Inclusion."

"The day equally emphasizes the importance of empowering women by supporting initiatives that promote women's rights, provide equal opportunities and promote an environment where women can thrive personally and professionally. The global campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day which is “Inspire Inclusion”, is a call to action which highlights the need to bridge gaps in creating more prospects and empowerment for women.

"It emphasizes the importance of creating an environment where women are empowered to take up greater responsibilities beyond their traditional or cultural roles determined by society. This theme and the United Nations International Women’s Day theme which says, “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, align perfectly with NAOWA’s commitment to promote equal opportunities for women, and we are delighted to join women all over the world to call for more inclusion for the female gender. 

"As we all know, gender discrimination still exists and this affects women's access to education, healthcare, economic and leadership opportunities, amongst others. This lack of inclusion is a major challenge as it prevents many women from reaching their full potential." she stressed 

The Special Guest of Honour, the President, Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association and wife of the Chief of Defence Staff, Mrs Oghogho Musa in her remarks revealed that the International women's Day holds immerse significant not only in recognising the remarkable achievement of women throughout history but as a day specially set aside to honour the virtues of women and also to reaffirms commitment towards recognising the need for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women.  

"Over the years we have witnesses women professionals and social groups such as DEPOWA,  these groups have met advocacy that have encoding women participation in the develop of societal things,  encourage women to seek forth and to excel in reaching their endeavours. Our advocacy has inspire professional excellent and positive well being of women in our communities.  We need to consider appealing for more support from the society for more support from the society by inspiring our family members and colleagues to put noble course. 

"Women continue to face systematic barriers and discrimination,  limiting their access to education healthcare,  economies opportunity and leadership responsibilities. Let us therefore resolve to build a world where every woman and girl child can realise her full potential and contribute her talent to society." she opined

Mrs Musa stressed that women must portray positive mental fortitude Individually and collectively that will attract respect and inspire inclusion of women and girls in leadership a a decision-making. 

On economic empowerment, agriculture and food security, Mrs Musa said more access to quality education and training, retreachment and development to diverse talent and other numerous endeavours. 

She urged women to dedicate themselves to what they intend to achieve tomorrow and the legacy to leave behind. 

Look beyond gender stereotypes and dismantle discriminatory practices and utilising any opportunity we get to execute laudable programmes that and people driven these,  I believe will further drive the chance of materialising our advocacy for policies that promote women right and empowerment. 

The one-day NAOWA International Women’s Day symposium features presentations on lifestyle, personal development, and economic empowerment for women, amongst others.

There was also open dialogue, where military wives shared experiences, learn from experts, as well as an interactive session chaired by the President of NAOWA herself to address questions related to gender equality and empowerment for women.

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