Each year on the 8th March International Women’s day is celebrated across the globe. This generates a lot of heart-to-heart talk as always to symbolise the role that women are playing in society: as the common adage states, empowering women is empowering humanity. But is this still rhetoric or is this a ‘new hope’? With this year’s theme being “Play 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, the main purpose of this day is to celebrate women’s achievements and inspire young women to come forward and exercise their choices freely. They are given new hope as the world is focussing on empowering them for equality.
Like many organisations, NGO’s are shifting their main focus from HIV/Aids related assistance to empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs. This holds true at large, as in recent years women folk have seen an unprecedented awakening of strong support and assistance. The stereotype notion I would argue is being gradually washed away, and will soon mature into something everyone will embrace. This gives new hope in a society that needs brilliant locally made ideas. But you may ask, if we believe that women are the pillar of development in any society, why are they still marginalised in terms of accessing opportunities and platforms to enable them to play this role.
Everyone, men and women, can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop a more inclusive and flexible culture or root out work placed bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.
Take the SME I am currently working with. SME accounting services is a partnership firm of two female Chartered Accountants established with a primary goal of ensuring strong accounting systems and control environments are created for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia (particularly those run by women). With its unique business model, I find the tremendous achievements made in helping SME through the PEP Zambia project inspiring. As Challenges Worldwide ICS (International Citizen Service) volunteers we hope to secure more grant funding and similar projects coupled with marketing and sales strategies to help set the platform to enable our client to penetrate the SME market as there is resounding potential for the company yo grow. Owing to the fact that there are thousands of SME’s in Zambia that need specialised accounting services tailored to them .
In my country of Zambia i can see new hope for women; with the first female Vice President in the country’s history currently in office, the next general elections running with the presidential mate poised to be female, the rise of successful women entrepreneurs and with issues like the criminalisation of Gender Based violence being tackled. The stage has been set and the foundations are slowly taking shape for NEW HOPE.
Globally, with individuals pledging to move from talk to purposeful action, we can collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realize the limitless potential they offer economies the world over. We have urgent work to do. Days such as women’s day should only rekindle and reinvigorate our action. Are you ready to accelerate gender parity?