Friday, July 16, 2010

Dr. Sanders Remarks: 50@50 Speech

Women For Change Initiative (WPCI)
Women’s Center
Abuja, Nigeria
July 16th 2010

Written as Delivered

I am honored to be here among such distinguished women. Let’s all applaud her Excellency First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan for asking all of us to come together to celebrate change… To celebrate the lives of women past and present that have made an impact on history… on the world and to celebrate 50 years of Nigerian Independence. So today because we are strong we always say YES WE CAN!

In fact, today what I am going to ask you to say with from time to time. Is Yes We Can! So as we women can we make a change in the world? Can we make a change for Nigeria?

Yes We Can!

Why can we be “Women For Change”? Because, we are giving like Ogun Leye, who once gave her month salary to a women’s rural empowerment group; we are organized, like Funmilayo Kuti, who brought together 20 thousand women that led to equal tax rights for women; and we are educators like African American Mary McLeod Bethune who founded the National Council of Negro Women and served on the cabinet under the U.S. President Roosevelt. [And Grace Alele Williams who was the first Nigerian women to earn a PhD and the first female vice chancellor of a Nigerian University]

In Nigeria today there are 75 million women; that’s the 9th highest female population in the world. Here today we are going to come together to take stock of the way forward as Nigeria turns 50 this year.

Can I hear a Yes We Can! Yes we can, yes we can, be “Women for Change” and take stock of where women are in: finance, education, and health today.

We know we can change the development in Nigeria. Because, every women or young girl believes that they are the change. You are half of Nigeria. Because, every woman or young girl anywhere in the world can become and do whatever they want to do to make better lives for themselves. You are half the population of Nigeria. Therefore, you are the force for change in Nigeria. You are the movement for change.

Women must be the force behind economic growth. You know in the United States one of the first black millionaires was a woman. Her name was Madame C.J. Walker. She promoted herself into business by building her own factory from the ground up. So we must strive together we must support female ingenuity... We must support female creativity we must support female leadership. Can we do this! Yes We Can!

We must support the education and development of women! Can we do this! Yes we can! We must support the health and businesses of women. Can we do this? Yes We Can!

On education, we must take educating our daughters more seriously. Right now 21% percent of young girls in Nigeria from 10-16 year old are not in School. Education is directly related to income of women...

And we all know that economic independence is power for development… power for elections. And we all know you as women have an important and critical election coming up in 2011, and I hope you all go out and vote... So that you have more representation at all levels of government. If Nigeria is to progress and move forward we need change for women Can We Do this? Yes We Can!

You are about to celebrate 50 years of independence. This will be a tremendous marker of your future. And all Nigerian women must play a bigger role in the next 50 years. Can you do this? Yes We Can!

You know I have been welcomed here as a member of the family. Therefore, as a family member I want to do my part, this is what fuels my desire to help…. To care… and to want the best for Nigerian women everywhere. You are my friends, I am too a woman for change. I am with you every step of the way (see link for full remarks). http://http//