The international women’s day was celebrated nationwide with great enthusiasm. In Central region the celebration was held at the Expo hall on Sunday, 8th March, in the presence of ministers, high officials and invited guests.
In her opening address, Ms. Alem Belay, head of the Central region’s chapter of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), said that this year’s theme, our horizon full participation of women, focuses on the ongoing fight for the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of life.
Ms Alem added that the mission of the NUEW is to demonstrate to the world that what we are now experiencing is the result of the values brought up during the armed struggle as well as the social changes that we achieved through fighting and martyrdom, which will be maintained until we reach the highest level of freedom and civilization. The task of NUEW is to build a civilized and just society that does not have tolerance for harmful cultures. One such task is to eliminate the negative stereotypes against women and develop a culture that treats women and men as equal.
“Even though the level of participation of women in social, political and economic spheres is gratifying, we will work hard to ensure that Eritrean women are full beneficiaries of all resources and opportunities provided by the government,” Ms Alem said. She highlighted that the main objective of NUEW is to fight for the rights of women, especially those living in rural areas, to raise their awareness by providing education and to empower them to increase their capability economically and to create an environment for their social and political participation. In the modern world the level of development of a nation should be measured by the active participation of women in all spheres.
What makes the active participation of women so important is not simply because it benefits women but also because it benefits the whole society. For this reason, the empowerment of women should not be left to women but the whole society. Also, it is the duty of both governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
In her closing remarks Ms. Alem said that women’s question should not be raised or remembered only on occasions such as March 8. Since women’s question is crucial and addressing it serves as a stepping stone for the development of a civilized society, it should always be in the mind of every citizen. After all, it is every citizen’s responsibility to fight for the rights of women.
At the event held at Expo hall, Mr. Zereit Teweldebrhan, a representative of the governor of Central region, said that in the long and arduous struggle for independence, the Eritrean people achieved freedom without anyone’s help. Similarly, they succeeded in securing the rights of women. That’s why the Eritrean struggle for liberation is considered as a big example of how women’s equality can be ensured.
In their speech, both Mr. Abarham Semere, head of the Central region’s assembly, and Mr. Samsom Kifle, head of the Central region’s chapter of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, expressed their best wishes to the NUEW on its future plan of work. Both of them highlighted that the future of any society and nation depends on women and that liberated and educated women can build a developed nation. They both pledged to do their part in empowering women as well as in supporting NUEW. They paid tribute to the Eritrean women for bringing independence and for safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty.
On the occasion, members of the NUEW narrated stories based on some true experiences of Eritrean fighters and mothers. Eritrean women’s history is not just the history of the fighters, those who gave up their lives for us, but the history of those who made food and fed the freedom fighters. It is about the people who sent money from abroad, it is about those who gave up their time to teach, and it is about the mothers who lost three or four sons and daughters in war.
International women’s day is a day to remember the wisdom and power that women have, to remember that there is still a long way to go even if we are a step ahead of where we used to be. As women it is our place to stand up for other women, it is our place to inform our daughters that they should not feel like they could not do anything because they are women. March 8 is one of the important moments when we raise our voices and make them count.
The celebration ended by giving awards to female students for their academic excellence. The international women’s day was celebrated for the 41st time nationally and 109th internationally.