U.S. Consulate General Marks International Women’s Day

To mark the International Women’s Day, IWD, on Sunday, March 8, the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General in Lagos, in collaboration with Access Bank Plc and Idea Builders Initiative, launched the 2015 International Women’s Month on Thursday, March 5 with films, a panel discussion and a theatrical performance.

This was aimed at increasing women’s civic, corporate and political engagement in Nigeria showcasing the theme: “Make It Happen.”

Over 200 women participated in the program that took place at the Access Bank Headquarters in Lagos.

International Women’s Day, is observed yearly around the world to celebrate women and to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of their countries and communities.

The IWD encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way and for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

Jeffrey Hawkins, U.S. Consul General opened the event with remarks focusing on women’s role as civic leaders and political actors.

He noted that Nigeria will be better for it, if women are given more opportunities to participate in governance at all levels. The Public Diplomacy Officer, Rhonda Watson introduced a film about Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for the office of President of the United States.

The program also featured a panel discussion with speakers, including: Toyosi Akerele, Olajumoke Adenowo, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Fela Durotoye, Amaechi Okobi and Ope Wemi-Jones, Access Bank executives.

Akerele, one of the panelists, who doubles as the CEO of Rise Network, called on the older women in the society to mentor the younger ones. She also implored the younger generation of women to submit themselves to such mentoring opportunities.

On her part, Adenowo lamented the economic constraints negatively impacting women and discouraging them from taking the lead on the political scene.

Renowned motivational speaker, Durotoye gave remarks on gender inequality in the corporate environment, while Adesuwa insisted that women are at a vantage position to “Make it Happen” in the Nigerian situation.

Access Bank, Plc. co-sponsored the event as part of its ‘W’ Initiative, which demonstrates the bank’s commitment to enhancing the economic and lifestyle status of women in Africa and expanding the services threshold to encapsulate what matters most to women, thus promoting financial inclusion.

The program was held in partnership with Idea Builders Initiative, a leading NGO that is dedicated to enabling women to see, understand, claim and demand their rights to economic freedom, gender equity, social justice and political inclusion.

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