Women are the set of human beings that belongs to the female gender. They play the role of mothers, caretakers in family affairs, farmers, educators, entrepreneurs, teachers, e.t.c. It is historic that women play significant roles in societal development and ensure the stability, progress, and long-term development of nations. Women also play the role of decision-makers in homes. Globally, women contribute immensely to agricultural development, comprising about 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force. In some countries, the number of women involved in the agricultural labor force increases to over 70%. Available records indicate that in Africa alone, 80% of agricultural production comes from small farmers, most of whom are rural women. It is noteworthy that agriculture is the bedrock of national development as the best approach to food security, poverty reduction, job creation, and economic stability.
At home, women, notably mothers, play the role in decision-making about family meal planning and diet. Women also initiate and preserve the nutritional and healthcare programs of children at home. In addition, women are not only caring for their children at home but are also the primary caretakers of both children and elders in every country of the world. International studies indicate that women lead in finding solutions to the problems occasioned by a change of political and economic organizations in countries, thereby helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges. Indeed, women are the initiators who play important role in facilitating changes in family life. The UN Women Watch organization asserts that ” rural women play a key role in supporting their households and communities in achieving food and nutritional security, generating income, and improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing.
As educators, the role or contribution of women to society’s transition from pre-literate to the literate period is highly significant. Basic education is key to a nation’s ability to develop and achieve sustainable policies and programs. It is evident that education helps to improve agricultural productivity, enhances the status of girls and women, stabilizes population growth rates, enhances environmental protection and, increases the standard of living. It is the mother at home who most often urges children of both genders to attend and stay in school. The role of women is at the front end of the chain of improvement, leading to the family and the community’s long term capacity.
The role of women in providing an improved and sustainable workforce is also significant and exciting. The women’s share of the global workforce is about 45.5%. Women’s formal and informal labor can transform a community from a relatively autonomous society to a participant in the national economy. It is obvious that despite the cultural, social, and political setbacks of women, small businesses controlled by women in rural communities are not only extending beyond family lifelines but can also form a networked economic foundation for future generations. The role of women in the urban and rural workforce has expanded greatly in recent times.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, was chosen to identify innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, accelerating the 2030 agenda, which is ” Building Momentum for the Effective Implementation of the New U.N Sustainable Development Goals.
Although women are still lagging behind men worldwide, the historic and current role of women is indisputable. Michelle Bachelet, the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women notes that “when women are empowered and can claim their rights and have access to land, leadership, opportunities and choices, economic growth, food security are enhanced and developmental prospects are improved for current and future generations.
The role of women as volunteers in local and international organizations for development has global collective recognition. The global Volunteers Community Development work in host countries worldwide strengthens women’s and children’s capacity and supports their sustained health and development. Under the development and direction of local leaders, women volunteers help ensure academic accessibility, foster parental involvement, offer psycho-social support, provide nutrition and health education, fund girls’ scholarships, construct schools and educate children and women through programmed extension works.
Some of the notable women achievers in the world include Jane Austen(1775-1817); Anne Frank(1929-1945); Maya Angelou(1928-2014); Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603); Catherine the Great(1729-1796); Rosa Parks(1913-2005)and; Malala Yousafzai(1997 to date).