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2019 International Women’s Day: Six Women who shaped the World Order

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Nigeria makes the list

Today is International Women’s Day. This day of recognition shines a spotlight on the achievements of women past and present. It was formally established in 1975, when the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Year and held the first World Conference on Women in Mexico City. However, the day’s origins can be traced back to the first decade of the twentieth century and the women’s labor and suffrage movements.

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All too often women and their stories are edited out of history. However, women have played critical roles in forging the contemporary world and the international institutions that help govern it. Thanks to women, we gained—among other fixtures—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first treaty to articulate the fundamental human rights that should be universally protected. Eleanor Roosevelt steered the treaty through a tumultuous drafting and adoption process; Hansa Mehta, Minerva Bernardino, and Bodil Begtrup insisted upon inclusive language that referred to “humans” instead of “men”; and women such as Begum Shaista Ikramullah, Evdokia Uralova, and Marie-Helene Lefaucheux pushed for it to address women’s issues such as marriage and equal pay. Furthermore, women such as Hannah Arendt, Marie Colvin, and Elena Poniatowska have challenged us to understand the world in new ways. And in recent years Margaret Chan, Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka have changed the face of leadership.

Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we highlight just a few of the women whose contributions have helped to shape world order into its present form.

Mabel Newcomer. Dr. Mabel Newcomer was a respected economist, passionate educator, and prolific writer. From 1917 to 1957, she taught economics at Vassar College, where she was known as the best “tax man” of those years. In addition to teaching, Newcomer served as the first female vice president of the American Economic Association and as a consultant to the U.S. Treasury. In 1944, she represented the United States at the UN Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods. She was the only American woman at the conference that would establish the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, later to grow into the World Bank. At the meetings on the IMF, Newcomer was the only woman at the table, though not the only woman in the room. The other women present sat behind male delegates as expert consultants. After the conference, Newcomer helped sell the program to American women, and traveled throughout the country speaking to many groups, contributing to the success of the institutions that have been essential in managing the world economy.

Doris Stevens. Doris Stevens was a champion for women’s rights both at home and abroad. Stevens was a prominent organizer and leader within the American suffrage movement. Though she was arrested multiple times, she remained committed to her cause. In 1922, the suffragists secured the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Stevens turned her attention to international women’s rights and legal status. She was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW), the first intergovernmental agency established to ensure recognition of women’s human rights. During her tenure, the IACW meticulously documented how laws around the world codified gender inequality. In 1933, this work yielded the Convention on the Nationality of Women, which was the first international instrument adopted concerning the rights of women. The treaty ensured a woman’s right to retain her own nationality in the event of marriage to a man of another nationality. Decades later, women around the world continue her fight for legal equality.

Gro Harlem Brundtland. Beyond becoming the first woman and youngest individual to hold the office of Norwegian prime minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland played an essential role in popularizing the idea of sustainable development. In 1983, the UN General Assembly established the World Commission on Environment and Development and mandated it, among other items, “to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond.” Brundtland chaired this commission and oversaw the three years of deliberations that produced its seminal report, Our Common Future [PDF]. The findings of the Brundtland Report, as it came to be known, have served as a foundation for much of the United Nations’ subsequent work on environment and development, including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and, more recently, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The concept of sustainable development articulated in its pages has gained currency well beyond the halls of multilateral institutions, becoming a twenty-first century global social, cultural, economic, and political touchstone.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. While some international institutions, like the Brundtland Commission, have had women at their helm, others have proved more recalcitrant to female leaders. One such institution, the World Bank, saw cracks in its glass ceiling in 2012, when Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ran to become its president. After serving terms as Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister and finance minister, and then as a managing director at the bank, she (and Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo) squared off against American physician Jim Yong Kim in the bank’s first-ever contested presidential selection. Historically, a longstanding transatlantic gentlemen’s agreement has put an American in charge of the bank and a European in charge of the IMF as a fait accompli. Okonjo-Iweala helped to challenge that non-meritocratic status quo with her candidacy. Although unsuccessful, she put up fierce opposition and laid the groundwork for future challenges from non-Americans, especially from developing countries. With the World Bank presidency now up for grabs once again and the controversial David Malpass as the U.S. nominee, Okonjo-Iweala has garnered attention as a potential alternative. As the current chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and an influential figure on the world stage, she will remain an inspiration for women across the globe regardless of whether she assumes the mantle of World Bank president.

Jody Williams. For decades, Jody Williams has been one of the world’s most effective peace advocates. In 1997, Williams and the International Coalition to Ban Landmines (ICBL) jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to ban landmines. Williams was first exposed to landmines’ devastation during her work in El Salvador in the 1980s. As an aid worker, she was responsible for providing prosthetic arms and legs to children who had lost limbs to mines. She returned to the United States, and in 1991 began working with ICBL as its chief strategist and spokesperson. Williams was a triple threat: she had a flair for activsim, was an effective organizer, and did not mind if people found her difficult. Within six years, she had grown the coalition to some 1,300 organizations across ninety-five countries. In December 1997, ICBL achieved a major victory when world leaders gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, use, stockpiling or transport of antipersonnel mines. Although these weapons still exist, the treaty contributed to a strong norm against their use. Ever the activist, Williams continues to work toward peace. In addition to her work with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, she co-chairs the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and has joined with fellow survivors of sexual assault in lobbying world leaders to end sexual violence in conflict.

Lise Meitner. Science, alongside politics, is one of the most powerful forces shaping the modern world. Dr. Lise Meitner, a prolific and pathbreaking Austrian physicist, had a profound influence on both. She was a critical member of the team that first unlocked the potential of the atom, a structure central to international politics since World War II. After her colleague Otto Hahn’s bombardment of uranium with neutrons in 1938 yielded barium isotopes, Meitner correctly inferred that the splitting of the atomic nucleus—nuclear fission—was responsible. She and her nephew Otto Frisch articulated the process through which this occurred, leading scientists to surmise that a fissile chain reaction would release enormous amounts of energy, generating an explosion of immense power. Although Meitner, who had fled to Sweden due to her Jewish lineage, had made a contribution integral to the development of the atomic bomb, she refused to participate in the subsequent Manhattan Project. The Nobel Committee overlooked her several years later, when it awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Otto Hahn “for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei.” Meitner’s personal legacy, then, is one of profound humanity, having escaped the atrocities of Nazi Europe and abstained from the making of the bomb only to see her genius employed toward the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and bring the world to the knife’s edge during the Cold War.
The Way Forward
The women highlighted here represent only a small proportion of the women who have worked across borders to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world. Their already challenging work was made even more daunting by the barriers—legal, economic, and social—that they had to overcome in order to do their work. Today, in addition to honoring these women and their achievements, we should take a clear-eyed look at the barriers that remain intact and double-down on efforts to dismantle them. A generation of young women waits to engage in the hard work of changing the world, and it is our responsibility to make it easier for them to do so.
Piece by Rebecca Hughes, research associate for Women and Foreign Policy, and Kyle L. Evanoff, research associate for International Institutions and Global Governance, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Doris Stevens. Doris Stevens was a champion for women’s rights both at home and abroad. Stevens was a prominent organizer and leader within the American suffrage movement. Though she was arrested multiple times, she remained committed to her cause. In 1922, the suffragists secured the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Stevens turned her attention to international women’s rights and legal status. She was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW), the first intergovernmental agency established to ensure recognition of women’s human rights. During her tenure, the IACW meticulously documented how laws around the world codified gender inequality. In 1933, this work yielded the Convention on the Nationality of Women, which was the first international instrument adopted concerning the rights of women. The treaty ensured a woman’s right to retain her own nationality in the event of marriage to a man of another nationality. Decades later, women around the world continue her fight for legal equality.
Gro Harlem Brundtland. Beyond becoming the first woman and youngest individual to hold the office of Norwegian prime minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland played an essential role in popularizing the idea of sustainable development. In 1983, the UN General Assembly established the World Commission on Environment and Development and mandated it, among other items, “to propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond.” Brundtland chaired this commission and oversaw the three years of deliberations that produced its seminal report, Our Common Future [PDF]. The findings of the Brundtland Report, as it came to be known, have served as a foundation for much of the United Nations’ subsequent work on environment and development, including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and, more recently, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The concept of sustainable development articulated in its pages has gained currency well beyond the halls of multilateral institutions, becoming a twenty-first century global social, cultural, economic, and political touchstone.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. While some international institutions, like the Brundtland Commission, have had women at their helm, others have proved more recalcitrant to female leaders. One such institution, the World Bank, saw cracks in its glass ceiling in 2012, when Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ran to become its president. After serving terms as Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister and finance minister, and then as a managing director at the bank, she (and Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo) squared off against American physician Jim Yong Kim in the bank’s first-ever contested presidential selection. Historically, a longstanding transatlantic gentlemen’s agreement has put an American in charge of the bank and a European in charge of the IMF as a fait accompli. Okonjo-Iweala helped to challenge that non-meritocratic status quo with her candidacy. Although unsuccessful, she put up fierce opposition and laid the groundwork for future challenges from non-Americans, especially from developing countries. With the World Bank presidency now up for grabs once again and the controversial David Malpass as the U.S. nominee, Okonjo-Iweala has garnered attention as a potential alternative. As the current chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and an influential figure on the world stage, she will remain an inspiration for women across the globe regardless of whether she assumes the mantle of World Bank president.
Jody Williams. For decades, Jody Williams has been one of the world’s most effective peace advocates. In 1997, Williams and the International Coalition to Ban Landmines (ICBL) jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to ban landmines. Williams was first exposed to landmines’ devastation during her work in El Salvador in the 1980s. As an aid worker, she was responsible for providing prosthetic arms and legs to children who had lost limbs to mines. She returned to the United States, and in 1991 began working with ICBL as its chief strategist and spokesperson. Williams was a triple threat: she had a flair for activsim, was an effective organizer, and did not mind if people found her difficult. Within six years, she had grown the coalition to some 1,300 organizations across ninety-five countries. In December 1997, ICBL achieved a major victory when world leaders gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, use, stockpiling or transport of antipersonnel mines. Although these weapons still exist, the treaty contributed to a strong norm against their use. Ever the activist, Williams continues to work toward peace. In addition to her work with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, she co-chairs the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and has joined with fellow survivors of sexual assault in lobbying world leaders to end sexual violence in conflict.
Lise Meitner. Science, alongside politics, is one of the most powerful forces shaping the modern world. Dr. Lise Meitner, a prolific and pathbreaking Austrian physicist, had a profound influence on both. She was a critical member of the team that first unlocked the potential of the atom, a structure central to international politics since World War II. After her colleague Otto Hahn’s bombardment of uranium with neutrons in 1938 yielded barium isotopes, Meitner correctly inferred that the splitting of the atomic nucleus—nuclear fission—was responsible. She and her nephew Otto Frisch articulated the process through which this occurred, leading scientists to surmise that a fissile chain reaction would release enormous amounts of energy, generating an explosion of immense power. Although Meitner, who had fled to Sweden due to her Jewish lineage, had made a contribution integral to the development of the atomic bomb, she refused to participate in the subsequent Manhattan Project. The Nobel Committee overlooked her several years later, when it awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Otto Hahn “for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei.” Meitner’s personal legacy, then, is one of profound humanity, having escaped the atrocities of Nazi Europe and abstained from the making of the bomb only to see her genius employed toward the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and bring the world to the knife’s edge during the Cold War.
The Way Forward
The women highlighted here represent only a small proportion of the women who have worked across borders to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world. Their already challenging work was made even more daunting by the barriers—legal, economic, and social—that they had to overcome in order to do their work. Today, in addition to honoring these women and their achievements, we should take a clear-eyed look at the barriers that remain intact and double-down on efforts to dismantle them. A generation of young women waits to engage in the hard work of changing the world, and it is our responsibility to make it easier for them to do so.
Piece by Rebecca Hughes, research associate for Women and Foreign Policy, and Kyle L. Evanoff, research associate for International Institutions and Global Governance, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Pastor Adeboye Leads Protest to End Killings in Nigeria

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Pastor Adeboye carrying placards

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, discarded his hitherto conservative and conciliatory disposition and took to the streets to lead thousands of his members in a protest march against insecurity and killings of Christians across the nation, especially in northern states.

The action is sequel to an earlier directive by the leader of one of the most influential Pentecostal churches in Nigeria that its members should conduct the protest nationwide, with him starting his own action at exactly 11am at the RCCG National Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos.

The Assistant General Overseer (Admin and Personnel) of the church, Pastor J.F Odesola, in a circular dated January 29, 2020, addressed to all regions and provinces of the RCCG, parishes of the church were asked to end their service not later than 11am on Sunday to enable members “march round their immediate environment, praying for God’s intervention in the ongoing situation in Nigeria.”

The protests are at the instance of the RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Adejare Adeboye.

The circular, read: “The Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body for all Christians and Christian organisations in Nigeria, has made a clarion call for prayers and advocacy to all Christians in Nigeria in response to the inhumane acts against Christians in the country.”

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Aremo Olusiji Balogun

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Who is Aremo Olusiji Balogun

Olusiji Balogun is a Nigerian politician. He is presently aspiring to be Ondo State Governor.  He is an Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Nigeria among others. He is the Founder of Ase Youth Association, among other organisations, His company Promec Innovative Concepts was a child of necessity when his attempt to register Prince Royal Media Concept (Promec) at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) met a brick wall.

Olusiji Balogun is an organizational growth and business development expert with adaptable skills. He is able to use own initiative or work as part of a team. An efficient and effective Human Resources Manager, community worker, excellent communicator at all levels within and outside organizations; he has good problem solving and analytical skills with pioneering spirit. Specific interests include teaching and learning for new product development, business development, participatory social activities, keen insight into the needs of others and with high energy, initiative and focus, proven leadership skills including managing and motivating others to achieve objectives. An effective community and social worker, he is fluent with information technology and capable of handling executive assignments and leadership.  Other qualities include being positive with potential ideas, he has the ability to work with any existing staff under any condition or situation and contribute greatly to achieving the best goals of the establishment.

He was born in Ondo town to the family of Samuel Olusegun Balogun and Mrs Grace Remilekun Balogun at Surulere, in PA Akingbola’s house. He was raised up with strong Christian virtue in a nuclear family of three girls and two boys. All alive and doing well in their chosen fields.

He had his early education at St. Luke”s Primary School, Akure but finished at St. James’s Primary School, Ikaram Akoko, all in Ondo State, where he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate. Olusiji Balogun subsequently earned his west African Senior School Certificate in 1990 after attending Omoluorogbo Grammar School, Akure before proceeding to Ala Community Comprehensive High School, at Ala-Elefosan, Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State. He also attended Institute of journalism and Nigerian Institute of Journalism, (NIJ), Akure Campuses for his Diploma in Journalism. He also attended Akwa-Ibom Polytechnic, for his Higher National Diploma in Business Administration. He later proceeded to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Edo State. for his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. He is an Associate Member of various professional bodies.

Olusiji Balogun experience in politics is vast. His team helped installed Olusegun Agagu, Olusegun Mimiko as Ondo State Governors. He was the nucleus of Olusegun Mimiko Campaign Organisation for his second term when he was Editor.

He is married to Mrs Olamibo Oluwadamilola Balogun, Proprietaress of Great Minds Readers Literacy Club, in Abuja.  He is blessed with three children, One boy and two girls, namely Oluwabanke, Modesireoluwa and Modesolaoluwa.

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PDP will win 2020 Governorship Election in Ondo State – AOB

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Aremo Olusiji Balogun is a seasoned journalist and aspirant for the 2020 governorship position in Ondo State. In this interview with some journalists and our team, led by Peter Akinduro, he speaks on zoning of the governorship position, chances of the PDP winning the election and his agenda. Excerpts:

Taking critical look at the 2018 Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Ondo State and projecting into the forthcoming 2020 governorship election. What would you say are the chances of the PDP?

The chances of PDP as a party winning the coming Governorship election in Ondo is very bright, I’m 100% sure considering the failure of the present APC government. If the recent happenings in political landscape is anything to go by, PDP will occupy Alagbaka government house in the forthcoming election. However, the party needs to restructure it’s leadership for balance. The State Party Chairman is from Ilaramokin. One of the top aspirants who was the party’s governorship candidate in the last governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, who lost the last election by whimsical, is from Akure. Both from the same Central Senatorial district. The former Governor of the State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, who spent constitutional eight years, is from Ondo town: same Central Senatorial district. All these prominent indigenes of the State are from the Central Senatorial District. If you go by the present settings, themood of the people, this is one anomaly that has to be corrected. For this year’s Governorship election, PDP, as a party will win. So, taking a critical look at the 2018 Presidential and National Assembly elections result in Ondo State and projecting into the forthcoming 2020 Governorship election, the chances of the PDP, as a party is very bright.

Zoning of the next governorship ticket of the PDP to Ondo South Senatorial District has been a loud agitation from mostly governorship aspirants coming from there. However, the PDP’s leadership said zoning would not be a criteria for electing it’s candidate for the election. What’s your take?

On the issue of zoning, the agitations from the Southern and Northern Senatorial Districts, to produce the next Governor cannot be wished away. Having said that, I also believe the leadership of the party, I mean, PDP, is very sincere and principled by saying zoning will not be a criteria. The contest for primaries should be open to all contestants.That is fair enough.

Your party, the PDP has criticized the independent electoral commission of not been objective in recent elections, particularly, that of Kogi State. Do you think your party can evolve mechanisms to curtail possible APC’s rigging mercenaries in the forthcoming election in Ondo State?

The INEC in recent time cannot be said to be objective. When you say party, you’re talking of people with different opinions coming together. We have not criticized INEC decisions. But it is imperative the electoral umpire checkmate rigging in order for election results to reflect the wishes of the electorates.

Why are you aspiring for the position of Ondo State Governor?

My aspiration as Governor in year 2020 is a divine project. It’s the people’s agenda. Nobody can deny God His rights. I’m aspiring to be the next Governor of Ondo State, after Akeredolu might have spent his four years constitutional tenure by God’s grace.

Do you have the wherewithal to scale through the PDP’s primary?

The wherewithal to scale the primaries is God’s given. All my resources are given by God. I don’t lay claim to anything.

What difference are you going to make if eventually elected governor of Ondo State?

Government is a continuum. You only bring new projects to the table. What the previous government can’t achieve, I’ll achieve double by the special grace of God. Be it roads, agriculture, education, etc. All I’ve done in my life is to surround myself with capable hands. My team always deliver. No matter where we find ourselves. The people can testify to this. My aspiration, I repeat, is divine. The difference I’ll make if elected Governor this 2020, will marvel the populace.

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