As the global community marks the International Women’s Day, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Abuja chapter has applauded the role women play in raising families and in building the nation.
The literary body further called on government at all levels to give women more opportunity to replicate the success they have achieved at their various homes at the national level, saying the Nigerian nation will be better for it.
Addressing participants in Abuja on Tuesday at an event to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day, with the theme ‘Women In Art, Literature And Leadership: Achieving An Equal Future In A COVID-19 World’ chairman of ANA Abuja, Halima Usman noted that women have demonstrated that they are active stakeholders in national development.
According to Usman, women have made huge sacrifices as mothers, sisters and caregivers especially at a time the global community is grappling with COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
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“One thing I have come to realise is, whether she is a nurse, housewife, daughter or whatsoever, in this season of COVID-19, the woman is the first frontliner before we talk of doctors and others.
“That is why as authors, it is important to honour these people, not because I am a woman but because they have sacrificed a lot to building their families, building themselves as career women, housewives or anything they have chosen to be” she said.
While noting that achieving equality between the women and the men folk has remained challenging in the society, she challenged the younger women and youths to draw inspiration from women who have left indelible mark in their chosen fields of endeavour to achieve greater success in life.
At the event which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the association founded in 1981 by late Prof. Chinua Achebe, Usman reiterated the commitment of the chapter to continue promoting literary knowledge at all levels of education within Abuja and environs.
In her remarks, a member of House of Representatives and the African Chairperson, Commonwealth Women Parliament, Hon. Dr. Zainab Gimba noted that literature shapes civilisation, changes the political discourse and exposes injustice in the society.
While pledging support for younger people in the literary world, the lawmaker added that literature has a significant role to play on chronicling human experiences over time which advances discussion for a better society.
Hon. Gimba further called on women to persevere in challenging contemporary issues in the society especially the continuous abduction of female students, gender based violence and other issues that impede their development.
“My own contribution to the ‘choose to challenge’ is, we are of course celebrating women that have excelled, women that have broken the glasses, I am therefore encouraging more of our young girls to have more capacity to collaborate, to have skills, to be strong so that we can change the status quo” he added.
A renowned writer and cultural administrator at the event, Dr. Lizi Ben-Iheanacho observed that women in art are confronted with series of challenges which she insisted has limited their ability in getting their voices heard through literature.
“We need more publishers. I’m talking about reputable and recognisable publishers not just out of desperation. This will help us in getting our voices out there to be heard.
“We need more marketers. The problem with art in this country is that the artist is the writer, publisher, vendor, marketer. You have already penciled this person for a premature death. He is doing everybody’s job and getting dead before he is able to deliver” she lamented.
Dr. Ben-Iheanacho further noted that the practice is fairer in developed countries where according to her there is division of labour and specialisation in producing literary art works.
She also highlighted that stress from work and career poses a challenge to authors in getting their work ready for public consumption especially as they strive to meet family obligations.
While advocating for promoters whose responsibility it will be to scout for markets for various genres of literature work, she expressed dissatisfaction that 40 years after ANA was established, there are no publishers dedicated only to the publication various genre of books to make it easy for authors to access.
She also called for recognition and award programmes for authors as well as a reward system for their work to serve as a morale booster.
A veteran broadcaster, Moji Makanjuola who was at the event represented by the National President National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Ladi Bala called for more writers critical in thinking to help in shaping the conversation and defining what the future of the country will be.
She expressed the readiness of the media to continue setting the agenda by ensuring that issues that border on the welfare and development of women will dominate the airwave and newspaper space.
Deserving women were also given award of recognition at the event, including the first ANA Abuja chairman, Mrs. Gladys Russell, International Renowned Author, Prof. Zaynab Alkali and others.