Inspiring Inclusion: Barriers?

It is International Women's Day 2024! the theme for the year is inspire inclusion, how do you inspire female inclusion as an individual. There are however some barriers that impede female inclusion, read this post to find out. Happy International Women's Day...

A lot of girls need career guidance 

During the Christmas break, I spent most of my holidays in Wa, with my family. I always make time to visit a lot of family members anytime I visit Wa. I traveled to my hometown, my mother’s hometown, and other communities where my family members are settled. During one of the visits, we went to one of our family houses and were seated outside the compound under a large mango tree exchanging pleasantries when a very young lady, probably between the ages of 13 and 16 was compelled to approach and welcome us. She did so timidly and went back quickly into the compound. My mother asked who she was and one of my aunties explained that she was a new bride in the family. She had just been married to one of the young men in the family. This young man has been out of the village, found himself a job in one of the mining areas, made some money, and returned to the village to marry her. This is a girl who had just completed her BECE. Her uncle, who is her guardian, had done all he could for her to further her education before marriage, but she wouldn’t listen. Elders were invited to give her some counsel, but she insisted she wanted marriage. According to her, she had thought about it and hence her decision to choose marriage over education. I was so shocked to the bone!

How could anyone even think like this, how could she not learn from all the other young girls who chose marriage

Girls should aspire to set goals and achieve them

over education and are now reduced to baby-making machines? They don’t have any reliable source of income. Limited livelihood opportunities exist for such girls. If such ladies are lucky to have a generous mother-in-law, then they would rotate Pito (Local beverage made from millet) brewing with them so that they can make some income for themselves. Otherwise, they largely depend on their husbands and do some farm work to support the family. You may find a few industrious ones who will take up some businesses like petty trade, making and selling of Koose (Local Delicacy made from frying beaten beans flour), production of shea butter, and so on. Sadly, some of these men are unable to cater adequately to their families, but they will marry a second wife or even a third. Due to the hardship, they go through, such ladies normally look much older than their ages. Today, ladies who are younger than me, sometimes look like my mother’s age.

This is just one example, there are many more I can share, for example, we have heard stories of how women feel loved by their husbands when they assault or maltreat them. This does not make sense to a lot of us, but then, that is the situation we find ourselves in. There are instances where some girls genuinely need support to continue their education, but they are denied, and here is a girl who has someone who is not only willing to support her financially, but also willing to provide her with information on career options, but she is just not interested. Also, there are instances where the women genuinely need help to walk away from abusive relationships and marriages, but they have no help whatsoever, so they just endure it. Furthermore, others have all the assistance they need to walk away but they would rather stay and protect their perpetrators.

We can inspire female inclusion to inspire inclusion

While a lot of donor organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other stakeholders are working hard to bridge the gap between men and women and get more women and girls to be included in decision-making, these are some of the barriers we women and girls create. It becomes very difficult to help when the victims do not even realize that they are in a dangerous situation. In as much as education is a basic right, you cannot force it on people who have no interest in it. Days like today are set aside to reiterate the need to give women a voice, the need to empower us, and our inclusion. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) is Inspire Inclusion, and I want to share some of the ways that we can ensure women’s inclusion.

One of the ways of enhancing women’s inclusion is through education. Access to quality education not only equips us with knowledge and skills but also boosts our confidence and self-esteem. When we acquire knowledge, we are exposed to diverse career paths, and this leads to us getting well-paid jobs which in turn leads to our economic empowerment. One of the things we can do today is to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that all girls have equal access to quality education, no matter the kind of background they are coming from. When we invest in girl child education, we invest in the future of many other people, and we also inspire their inclusion.

Another way to ensure women’s inclusion is to break gender biases in workplaces. It is sad to note that despite

We can inspire inclusion by taking action against gender based violence

significant advancements, many women still face barriers in the workplace, including gender bias, wage gaps, little or no consideration for their needs, and limited opportunities for leadership roles and progression within organizations. It is therefore very important to create inclusive work environments where women are valued, respected, and given equal opportunities for career advancement. Organizations need to be innovative and implement policies that promote gender equity, equal pay for equal work, and support work-life balance. This will not only increase productivity, but also can drive innovation, and sustainable economic growth. The full potential of women in the workforce will be fully harnessed.

Lastly, we need to encourage women to take up leadership roles. Women in leadership are imperative for bridging the gender gap in politics, businesses, home, and within organizations, they bring their unique perspectives into play. This enriches the collective efforts we are all working on towards social progress. Women leaders are the voice of other women, they stand against gender-based violence and other injustices that women suffer. Women in leadership positions also challenge the status quo, work to strengthen legal frameworks that support women’s inclusion, and provide the necessary support for victims and survivors of gender-based violence. Together, we can create a world where every woman feels safe, respected, and empowered to live without fear.

Happy International Women’s Day

As we continue to strive for a world where every woman and girl can realize her full potential and contribute to a more equitable society, there is a need for us all (both men and women) to inspire inclusion wherever we find ourselves. International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that the journey towards women’s inclusion is ongoing and requires collective action from us all. And if you are a female reading this, do not be like the young girl from my hometown who is excluding herself from education, allow yourself to be included in the fight against women’s exclusion. I wish you all a happy International Women’s Day! CHEERS!!!


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  1. Cheers sister… very educative..
    I wish every girl child will read this and ponder over it

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