By Mabi Azefor Fominyen
Each year, women the world over are in the spotlight on March 8 coined the International day of the woman. It is a day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Simply put , it is an occasion to think about the woman, assess her role in the community and celebrate her contribution to making herself and the world a better place .Women’s groups, organizations as well as individual usually take part in the celebration.
In Cameroon March 8 hardly goes by unnoticed, unlike in some other countries. A number of socio-cultural activities are organized prior to the day ( with the women being active during all such events)even though the women’s march-pass is a “vital” part of the day's celebration. The day usually culminates in heavy eating, drinking and dancing by women groups.
The “Women’s day” fabric is considered a “must-have” by many women in Cameroon, for the celebration to be somewhat complete. Different dress patterns especially the ‘kaba’( a traditional free-flow outfit typical of the Sawa people)as well as head-gears are usually on display.
I have a passion for women and gender issues. Sometimes I describe myself as a "Womanist". You would therefore imagine my feelings each time I think of such moments when people the world over pay tribute to the woman such as:
March 8(The International Day for the woman),
July 31(The day of the African Woman),
October 15 (Rural women’s day).
Many are those who question: why celebrate the “woman”?
The road has been a long and tedious one for many women in their quest to get a “fair treatment” like their male counter parts –call it gender equity. The challenges have been and are still enormous. Many women the world over continue to suffer from acts of violence caused by the men sometimes leading to pain and death. Some face discrimination at home and at the workplace. Many still lack access to education. Harmful traditional and cultural practices continue to stand on the path of women.The rights of many are violated. A good number of women are yet to make their voices heard in different circles.
However, it is important to recognize that the emancipation and empowerment of women is today a reality in many areas and communities .Women are seen in all facet of life, they hold key positions and take the lead in many spheres. Many now hold themselves in higher esteem. In fact they have come a long way and this calls for celebration. They are politicians, bankers, pilots, doctors, journalists, nurses, teachers, traders, drivers, cooks, farmers; to name but these!
Happy Women’s Day!