The EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS used the occasion of the International Women's Day 2020 to amplify the message of gender equality and inclusiveness, which has been at the core of its engagements in Nigeria. The EU has been in the forefront of campaign for a more inclusive society, free from gender discrimination in all the many guises in which it manifests. On February 28, the Head of Delegation, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, joined Nigeria's Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, and the Country Representative of the UN Women in Nigeria, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, among others at a press conference to flag off the #IWD2020 and later to unveil the Wall of Women - an EU-funded initiative that recognises women whose trail-blazing examples have inspired others to identify with the quest for gender equality.
However, the Delegation's flagship event was the live performance of 'August Meeting', a stage play set in colonial Nigeria, and which derives its theme from the famous Aba Women's right of 1929 in Eastern Nigeria. The stage play performance, attended by wide range of people from different walks of life, underscores women's age-long struggles against oppression and their awesome capacity to bring about the desired change when they unite for a common goal. The theme of the play resonates with the message of Ambassador Karlsen:
"While recognising the challenges, we must also recognise there is a real opportunity to achieve change."
In a message to the 'amazing, inspiring women of Nigeria, the Head of Delegation recalled that the EU has always stood by the Nigerian women and would not relent until success is achieved. "Together we can make the generation equality to happen," he said. (Watch video below)
Ambassador Karlsen is optimistic that the foundation for success is already taking shape with the work the EU has done in supporting women entrepreneurs, the establishment of Sexual Offences Register and Sexual Assault Referral Centres across the country, among many others. "It takes time to achieve good things, but good things are worth waiting for," he said.
The staff of the Delegation of the European Union in Nigeria also congregated to strike the "EachforEqual" pose to show commitment to challenge the status quo and help forge women's equality.
Ambassador Karlsen later gifted roses to the female staffers of the Delegation to celebrate the International Women's Day.