This blog is by Bimbola Adeluwoye, ONE Champion Ogun State, Nigeria.
Music has been a highly strategic tool in provoking public discussions on how females have been getting a raw deal. It has been one of the greatest instruments in bridging the gap between the sexes. Some Nigerian musicians have contributed in educating the public on creating equal opportunities for women and girls. In the continued spirit of the celebration of the women, these local musicians have adequately contributed with their songs.
Salawa Abeni – Equal Rights
‘Equal Rights’ was released in the late 70’s. It opens with a melodic Yoruba proverb, which highlights the need for equal rights. The song commands attention to the socio-economic inequalities and warns the society on the handicap the nation would experience in advancing one gender over the other in its development. Women provide roughly half of all agricultural labour in Africa, yet female farmers continue to have less access to; farm tools, extension services, and finance.
Princess Bunmi Olajubu’s -Ba Ta Mi
The song was released in the early 90’s and drew attention to the importance of female education in Nigeria. It reminds us that we must focus on getting girls into school and helping them stay there. We can do this through the introduction and strengthening of existing concrete policy measures. If we ensure that all students in low-income countries, including girls, leave school with basic reading skills, we could cut extreme poverty globally by as much as 12%. Today, 39,000 girls become child brides every day.
Self-acclaimed Nigeria’s Mr Sexy released a dancehall hit in the 90’s titled “Rosie”. While it is easy to get carried away with the humour in the lyrics, the song is celebratory of a woman’s recognition of her worth. It highlights that a person’s value should not be measured by their gender but by what they have to offer. A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.
Christy Essien Igbokwe -No Stopping that Girl
When women are given the means to realise what they are capable of achieving, there are many possibilities in ending extreme poverty. She sings “No stopping that girl/ No stopping her”. If we get more women into the labour force and increase their access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the internet, we would boost the overall economy. Affording women more control over finances could significantly improve the quality of life at the household level. There truly would be no stopping that girl.
Wait for Me – Onyeka Owenu & King Sunny Ade
This song is as timeless as it is melodic. It was commissioned by the government to sensitise citizens on Family Planning and responsibilities that come with marriage and child rearing. About 60% of refrigerators used for vaccine storage in clinics have an unreliable power supply, compromising the effectiveness of life-saving vaccines for pregnant women and children. We should not let grim statistics overshadow this beautiful song.
This is only a short list of the songs that celebrate the woman and speak for her. Feel free to add yours as we actively request our governments to make, but more importantly, implement policies that bridge the gap in development. There are reportedly 130 million girls out of school in the world, 51 million of this number in Africa. Poverty is indeed sexist, and that is why girls and women must be at the heart of the fight to end extreme poverty.
Join us in advocating for girls education. Add your name to the postcard that will be presented to the African Union .