Happy International Women's Day!

Being a woman is a privilege which should not be taken for granted. A brave and courageous woman who chooses to challenge is strong minded, she can overcome obstacles and defeat them. She can stand up to speak and prove her points no matter the odds. Aisha Yesufu stood in defense of the End SARS protest she was brave and courageous and she gave other women voices during the protest. Obiageli Ezekwesili spoke up confidently about the bring back our girls campaign. Dr. Ameyo Stella, who was threatened to discharge the patient who would have infected Nigerians with the disease. She was not tempted to do that just “for the greater public good.” They stood out among others. A brave and courageous woman is human, she also goes through emotional stress, but she does not see showing emotions as weakness. She does not break down easily.

Being a woman to me in my past has always meant being too much. This is what I was always taught in my childhood and adolescence—to be conservative and passive. Culture has played its role in my identity and the intersectionality of my identities. But over the years I have learnt that being a woman is more than the X-chromosome and more than the societal constructions. It means being opinionated, articulate, strong-willed, working to destroy the disgusting double standards that can be forced upon women, sharing my ideas unapologetically, pushing boundaries, and finding my own voice, can prove that although gender is part of anyone's identity, it should never restrict them to cultural boundaries of how a woman is expected to be. To me, a brave and courageous woman is someone who is capable of taking risks and facing problems headfirst without being scared; someone that stands for justices; someone that wants her voice to be heard the situation not withstanding; someone who is determined, fearless, bold, audacious, valorous, dauntless, stalwart, conqueror and spunk; someone who is admired for her fearlessness, magnificent achievements or noble qualities. Ideally, the society believes that the role of women should be instrumental (passive nurturer, providing emotional support in the private sphere, being responsible for the well-being of family members, and the socialization of children). The implication of this is that being brave and courageous are not attributes of a woman. A lot of women are rising up to the challenge to rewrite the rhetoric of their position in society.

A brave and courageous woman is someone who can lend her voice to the voiceless no matter the obstacle holding her bound. For example, in 2020 Aisha Yesufu stood in defense of the End SARS protest. The protest was a result of the incessant police brutality especially among the youth. End SARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in

Nigeria. The slogan calls for the disbanding of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses. The End SARS protests attracted massive national and global attention with numerous political, business, entertainment, and religious leaders and organizations across the globe lending their voices to the campaign. Aisha was one of the few women that stood up to the occasion to challenge the brutality. She advocated for justice, tranquillity. Aisha Yesufu viewed silence as a killer. The protest she lead was one that

was geared towards the survival of the youth that were been killed daily by the special squad. Aisha has proved to be brave and fearless in leading this protest. She spoke widely and boldly against police brutality. Aisha Yesufu has shown this in leading the protest and speaking up against police brutality without fear. She made Nigerians stand up for themselves more. With the bravery she showed, she has unconsciously made people come out and make their voices heard and some

people used their social media platforms to air their support about police brutality.

Another example of a brave and courageous woman is Obiageli Ezekwesili a former Nigerian minister and co-founder of the bring back our girls campaign. This group was set out to raise the awareness of about more than 270 girls who were kidnapped from their school in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014 by Boko Haram. She led a protest trying to advocate that these girls should be released from their captors. She showed her bravery and courage by leading

the protest and she inspired a lot of people to be brave and come out for the protest. Obiageli, however, did not keep quiet about this demoralizing situation. She spoke up confidently about it which makes her a brave and courageous woman.

A brave and courageous woman sacrifices everything not minding if she loses her life. Dr. Ameyo Stella who was the lead consultant physician and endocrinologist at a private hospital in Lagos. She was able to diagnose Nigeria’s first ever Ebola patient in July 2014. She was threatened by the Liberian executives who wanted the patient to be discharged to attend a conference, she restrained and said “for the greater public good” she would not release him. She however, contacted Ebola

and died but she has shown herself to be brave and courageous by holding her stand. A brave and courageous woman also faces challenges but those challenges does not overwhelm her instead she conquers them.

In conclusion, a brave and courageous woman who choose to challenge the status quo, is one that has broken loss of every cultural embargo and societal constructions of passivity, fights for her rights and voice to be heard. Being brave and courageous is not about the physical strength but strength in character. In life, every woman should be brave and courageous.