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  • DIN Resource Centre

IWD 2021: Choose to Challenge

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

The theme for the International Women's Day celebration on 8th March 2021 is "Choose to Challenge." This is a Day that reminds us that the struggle for a gender equal world is far from over.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who recently assumed office as the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), has been celebrated by Nigerians and countless well-wishers across the world. She was an outstanding candidate for the position based on her personal qualities, educational background, professional experience and meritorious contributions in public life.

Nevertheless, the recent description of this highly accomplished professional as "this grandmother" by a Swiss newspaper as she commenced work at the seat of the WTO speaks volumes. It is doubtful that a male appointee of the same calibre would have been dismissively introduced as "this grandfather!"

Beyond, the apology subsequently tendered by the newspaper concerned, which was graciously accepted by Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, this episode demonstrates that attitudes and behaviours that dismiss or diminish the position, skills, experiences or qualifications of women persist and must always be called out and openly challenged.

Let us choose to challenge gender bias wherever it occurs!


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