Hello! It’s that time of year again when women are celebrated. It’s all the buzz this week. Sitting down and thinking about why women are celebrated, I asked myself, “Is it really necessary?” Then I recalled the various ways women are maltreated, maligned, disgraced, rejected, violated, forgotten and unappreciated and I told myself, “Yes, indeed. It is necessary and worthwhile.”

Today, I want to celebrate a special woman in my life, my sister, Sinmisola Ogunyinka, an author, blogger, speaker, pastor, wife, and mother. She is a good example of a strong woman, a woman of resilience, creativity and full of Spirit and might. Over the years, I’ve watched her handle life, it’s ups and downs, with grace and character. She is someone who does not give up. She is tenacious and determined. And all these with a barn full of children and her husband to look after. She is indeed an encouragement to me. An example of a woman that refuses to be forgotten, or pushed aside. She refuses to let anything defeat her and she keeps pressing in and pushing ahead.

It’s been quite encouraging to see the heights women have attained all over the world. There is hardly any role or position that women have not attained in various industries, and this without losing their femininity. For me, it is not so much about the gender per se, but the fact that anyone can actually dream of heights and be able to work and scale required hurdles to achieve such heights, without having barriers of gender, race, colour, language or religion put up to prevent them. This is freedom. This is liberty. And such liberty should be available to everyone.

God made them male and female in the beginning. He breathed his life into both male and female. So we both have the breath of God, the mandate of God and the capacity in-built by God to make strides and to do the good works that He ordained for us to do before the beginning of the world (Eph. 2:10). So each one must be allowed to venture, to soar, to attain anything and everything that they feel led to, without fear and without opposition.

About twenty years ago, when I worked in the banking sector in Nigeria, a friend of my husband asked me, because we had not seen each other in a while if I was still “competing with my husband in the industry”. I felt offended. At the time, my husband was also in the same industry. But we were not competing. In my view, he was doing a job he loved. And I was doing a job I loved. It was just a coincidence that we happened to be in the same industry. That friend had this notion that a wife ought to stay at home or do a job that was considerably less rewarding than her husband. His own wife at that time was a stay at home mum.

I’m glad that these things are changing now. Things are definitely better than they were twenty years ago. The battle rages on though because there are still some elements that would not mind a reversal of all grounds gained. So we have to keep pushing, striving, pressing and not giving up.

To all women out there, and the men that support them, I say “Happy International Women’s Day!”. It’s not over until it’s over!