Lagos, Sunday, 19th March 2017 – According to the World Bank, females comprise almost one-half of the world population. Unfortunately, we find that this sect of the population has gone grossly underutilised and unrecognised in the past. Today, more conscious effort is being made to promote equal opportunities for women in the workplace, in the society, and even in politics, but the onus also falls on women to build themselves up and take their rightful place today’s world. In light of this, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Victoria Island joined the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) as earmarked by the United Nations, with the IWD 2017 summit themed, “Be Bold for Change: The Place of Women in the Changing Nigeria”.
The event, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos, had in attendance past and current presidents of the JCI Victoria Island, Senators and National board members of JCI, representative of the current JCI National President, members and friends of JCI Victoria Island, as well as a handful of female guest speakers with exceptional accomplishments within and beyond the Nigerian space.
The event commenced at about 4pm and hosted the following guest speakers: Ama Nnoli-Edozien – Co-Founder Teenagers Growing Business Club (TGBC), Dr Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien – Founder Growing Business Foundation, our own Bekeme Masade-Olowola – Chief Executive CSR-in-Action, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett (OON) – Foremost Nigerian Actress and Mrs. Morin Desalu – MD, Risk Watch Insurance Broker.
As swayed by the master of ceremony, Jide Benson, who is also the immediate past President of the chapter, the event started with the recital of the JCI creed, an introduction, recognition of notable persons present, and the call of guest speakers to the high table. The event featured a welcome speech by the chapter president – Abimbola Owosina, remarks from JCI Senator Ola Ogunlano, presentations by the guest speakers, question and answer sessions and photograph sessions.
The 2017 IWD event was a very special one in the history of JCI Nigeria as it marked the 60th year of its existence in Nigeria, making impact through over 100 local organisations in community development. This was the focus of JCI Senator Ola Ogunlano’s remarks, which bordered on how JCI has been involved in the cause for national development in Nigeria. He mentioned how they led the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s vision 2010 farming initiative, as well as their annual Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) program and awards, which recognises young people below 40 years of age who are excelling in their chosen fields and creating positive change.
The highlights of the event were the presentations by guest speakers who touched on women positioning themselves in the present call to action in the world’s drive towards gender parity. Women were challenged on the need to be bold and trust in themselves and their abilities to do what they wanted to do with their passion. They were inspired to support each other in business and development, seeing that, only one person and one step is required to attain every great feat, likewise not minding that even if only one life is changed, remarkable impact has still been made. Women’s roles as mothers, producers, home managers, and organisers were also stressed as a strong contact point to raising a younger generation with the right balance of respect for all humanity, irrespective of gender.
Ultimately, the event proved to be a push in the right direction for women by inspiring them to build capacity first, and then go after what they believe in. Rather that extol the challenges that could be faced, more emphasis was placed on the capacity of a women to achieve whatever she sets her mind to. We are certainly looking forward to an increasing crop of empowered women achieving great feats in diverse areas, industries and sectors, and we stand with our Chief Executive, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, to speak out against all who may stand in the way of progress.