On the 5th of June, 2020, YSDC Administrative Director, Amarachi Ego-Osuala went live on Instagram with Caroline Rakus-Wojiechwski, a Harvard Alumnus and SDG advocate and they had a discourse revolving around SDG 5 (Gender equality). The host, Ms. Amarachi, introduced Ms. Caroline stating that she was a member of the Harvard 2018 cohort, is the CEO of Make 17 happen (a CSR inclined establishment), is currently serving as the Chief Partnership and Innovation Officer (CPIO) of the YSDC 2021 (Pan African Edition).
Amarachi started off by asking Caroline a question: What is Gender equality and why is there be a need to fight for gender equality? Caroline responded stating that SDG 5 is more than just women’s rights. Even in 2020, there’s still a misconception that biological sex and gender sex are one and the same. Moving further, she stated that biological sex refers to that which you are assigned based on your genitalia at birth but gender sex is far more complicated. Gender identity is a personal choice. It focuses on everyone having equal rights irrespective of their gender. However you identify, you’re entitled to the same basic human rights that everyone is privileged to have. According to her, what most organizations are doing is to put children in the loop from an early age. The earlier we entrench gender equality into their vocabulary, the greater the success rate of individuals and organizations.
Amarachi added that she believes gender equality envisions equal access by both genders to opportunities.
When asked whether she had ever been discriminated against, Caroline gave a brief history of her personal encounters and stated that it all comes down to putting young boys in the loop about gender equality so they don’t get overwhelmed by society’s expectations from them. In one life illustration, she mentioned how her mentor stopped taking her to embassies and UN meetings because he couldn’t put his urges in check but he hid under the pretext of Caroline “clouding his judgment”. According to Caroline, this is how women get sexually harassed and have to deal with a lot.
Amarachi spoke about stereotypes in Nigeria ranging from grounding girls in the kitchen while boys go to school, inability of women to inherit properties. She went further to recount her experience at YSDC 2019 where a lad stated that a woman cannot be the president of the country because she thinks with her emotion. She advocated that “what is” extant should be replaced by “what ought to be” (changing such redundant mentality).
In response to a comment from Chikamso on female emotions, Caroline went further to state that men can be emotional too using her father as an archetype.
In the closing remarks, Caroline urged viewers to apply for the positions of director and deputy director of YSDC 2021 especially people who are passionate about SDGs. She noted that quarantine has provided an opportunity for us to reset, correct our past mistakes and address pressing socioeconomic issues. Amarachi added that everyone could join YSDC and stay in the loop by connecting with us via our various social media platforms and our website