Women have been charged to be all God has created them to be regardless of the hindrances set before them. This admonition came from the Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, while ministering at the first Discovery for Women Rally in 2021.

Speaking on the theme, You Can Have It All, Pastor Taiwo told both the onsite and online participants of the May 2 event that women are created with the capacity to achieve all that God has made them for on earth without competing with anyone.

He said, “You can be what God wants you to be in life. Don’t mind the distractions of what anybody is saying. You are not in competition with men. If any man can think and achieve it, then you too can. Don’t be intimidated; you can have it all. God has given you everything you need to be all that He created you to be in life.”

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Citing the examples of the Proverbs 31 woman, and Christian women in Nigeria who have broken the glass ceiling in male-dominated professions, the clergy told the women in attendance that a woman is a crown to her husband and that she can have it all in career, marriage, and all spheres of life. “You are not to be disturbed by the world’s gender war. You’re a child of God created with dominion,” he announced.

Also, drawing lessons from Genesis 1:26-28, he said that a woman is still a part of God’s purpose for dominion. In his words, “Your being a woman is a special feature, unique to your brand. It gives you a creative edge over the rest of creation. Then this gives you more options and introduces some ease in the pursuit of life matters over the man. So when it comes to making the required life impacts, you have extra options. That means everything a man can do, you can do, and even more in terms of your assignment.”

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While enumerating a woman’s capacity to have it all, the president of Discovery for Women spoke of the woman’s ability to birth and nurture and her intuitive prowess. “There’s something about the women that humanity jumps to,” he noted.

Therefore, he urged the women to continually thank God for making them as they are, understanding who they are and seeing themselves as victors. He further asserted that women are not an afterthought of creation but God’s decision even before creation. “You are not just part of mankind; you’re a unique brand. You are capable of making independent decisions like the man. The day you stop seeing yourself as subjugated concerning things of life, you will rise.

He continued by saying, “Never approach life with the fear of failure mentality. Life is about priorities. Your achieving all is a matter of priority. You’re a winner. You’re as bold as a lion. Enjoy where you are now because it will affect the future. Never forget that women are in demand now. So stay prepared. Be ready in and out of season.”

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Dr Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, founder of Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), an NGO that tackles gender-based violence, rape, and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria, gave a Pep-Talk on Gender-Based Violence and how to handle it. According to the public health physician and academician currently undergoing a PhD in gender-based violence, any violence directed or inflicted on anyone, whether male or female; sexual assault or rape, are also termed gender-based violence.

She also revealed that the effects of abuse or violence against women increased during the lockdown. WARIF recorded a 64% increase in calls from women trapped with an abuser and a 20% increase in domestic and sexual violence cases. In Nigeria, 717 rape cases were recorded by the Police force between January and May 2020 and over 3,600 rape cases were recorded during the lockdown.

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Dr Ibru, therefore, called for an end to patriarchy and cultural practices and norms like shaming, blaming, and stigmatisation. She also called on the government to ensure there are immutable laws against perpetrators of such violence. She further suggested that sensitisation and training should be given to boys so that they do not grow to become perpetrators themselves, thereby continuing the cycle of violence. Still speaking on solutions to the societal plague, Dr Ibru advised that girls in rural areas should be given the opportunity to learn vocational skills. Health facilities should be provided for attending to victims, she added.

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Following Dr Ibru’s presentation was a panel session anchored by Pastor Mrs Ibukun Awosika. The discussants at the session were Dr Mobola Johnson, Mrs Titi Akinsanmi-Bolarinwa, Bunmi George, and Mrs Imisioluwa Owolabi – all successful women in their chosen endeavours. During their session, they discussed the topic, Can a Woman Have It All? The discussants spoke on the value of each woman understand that life is in seasons, the importance of having laser-sharp focus and a discerning spirit to hear God, and the willingness to follow His direction.

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Other conclusions drawn at the end of the session were that each woman is unique; therefore, her experiences are peculiar. Women certainly can have it all, but they need to understand that sometimes they can’t have it all simultaneously; they must appreciate seasons and times. Women must also be ready to do the work, pay the price, and remain positive through it all.

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The Vice-President of Discovery for Women, Pastor Nomthi Odukoya, welcomed all first-timers and led the congregation in the DFW Anthem. Following that, she briefly spoke from 1 Samuel 18:14-16 on the benefits of wisdom and how it provides direction for life’s decisions. Pastor Nomthi also encouraged the women to keep seeking the face of God and not get discouraged.

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The event, which Nigerian Comedian Chioma Omerua, also known as ChiGurl, anchored, ended with prophetic declarations by Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, who blessed the women and declared them equipped for great exploits.

Reported by Becky Olorunpomi