Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Gender Equality

Work for Gender Equality

Puri speaks for gender equality

Lakshmi Puri is UN Women’s dynamic Deputy Executive Director, from Huff Post

Lakshmi Puri is UN Women’s dynamic Deputy Executive Director. She spoke at an event in New York on May 17 with thanks and a call to action to promote gender equality.

I love her reference to UN Women as the “United Nation’s only twenty-first century entity.”

She gives a wonderful overview of the goals of UN Women – ambitious, but so necessary!

They include women’s empowerment, gender equality, an end to violence against women, and increasing women’s leadership and participation. She herself and the Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are examples of strong women leaders.

She says UN Women has, “brought home the realization that gender equality and women’s empowerment is vital for the well-being of women and girls themselves, but also for sustainable development, peace and security, human rights, climate change and humanitarian response.

But as we know, so much remains to be done.

U.S. in Front on Gender Equality?

She says, “Our review shows, despite progress, the world still has far to go towards gender equality and no country can claim that they have achieved gender equality—not even the US which is supposed to be in the avant-garde position.”

Did you know we were supposed to be in the avant-garde position? I wouldn’t have claimed that for us!

Progress, yes, but we’re far from anything like gender equality in wages, employment opportunities, leadership positions, or political life.

I do like the tag line she and others use all the time – “join us in achieving a Planet 50-50 by 2030!”

Jane Green and us at event

Clem and me with Jane Green on patio; photo courtesy of Deborah Burns 

Award Night

The Connecticut Press Club Award Celebration on Wednesday evening was delightful!

We were at the Saugatuck Rowing Club‘s 2nd floor patio and bar, with an indoor seating area that easily held the 50 or so people present.

Clem dressed in one of his Nigerian traditional outfits, black with silver embroidery. He looked very smart.

He wore a hat with colors that matched my dress, a green and red print Nigerian top and long skirt I had a tailor make for me recently (in New York!).

Michele, who has re-activated the CT Press Club and is its president, my publicist Aline, and others had arranged a smoothly run event. Deborah, my communications consultant, took lots of pictures.

At CT Press Club awards celebration

Enjoying the company and the wine! Jane’s husband is seated behind us; photo courtesy of Deborah Burns

Jane Green, New York Times best-selling author who lives in Westport, was friendly and gracious as she spoke with many guests, including us, beforehand. She asked to confirm the pronunciation of our last name. She nailed it!

She was a wonderful emcee as she called on winners to accept our certificates and have our photos taken with her and Michele.

I spoke with many writing friends I’ve come to know and respect. There were new people I met too. I will follow up with some. Even my husband was networking like an old pro!

The river view from the patio was ideal, the wine and hors d’oeuvres were delicious and plentiful, and the crowd just fun.

Award in hand!

Receiving my awards; photo courtesy of Deborah Burns

The awards – first-place for my speech, with honorable mention for my blog post – were icing on the cake!

African Fashions and Fabrics

In Sunday’s Business section of The New York Times I read about Kelechi Anyadiegwu.

I was first struck by her name – so similar to Kenechi, our grandson. And same meaning – Kene or kele means greet, or greeting. Chi is one of the Igbo words for God, so the name is greetings to God, or praise God.

The New York Times article where she is highlighted says, “Her website is a portal where African-inspired designers from around the world can market their wares.”

I saw some exciting fashions. I love the prints and styles. It was a quick visit and I didn’t immediately see many things I could or would wear. But I will certainly look again.

Zuvaa fashion item

One of the fashion items on Zuvaa

My fashion-forward granddaughter would look wonderful in some of the clothes.

Anyadiegwu is one of Forbes’ Magazines 30 Under 30 in retail and commerce.

Stacy Cowley who wrote the article is describing new rules that let individuals buy equity in small businesses with just $2,000.

She said, “When Zuvaa’s sales recently topped $1 million . . . [Anyadiegwu] started thinking about expanding. So far she has been relying on pop-up retail events, networking, and Instagram and Facebook accounts that now have more than 100,000 followers.”

Anyadiegwu says she hopes to crowdsource funds. She believes some of her fans will want to be part of the ownership. I’m sure she’s right.

Oil Price Above $50

I feel like putting last night’s “Breaking News” from Financial Times in really large, bold type! The oil price topped $50 a barrel – such great news for Nigeria. Will it last?

You can help!

Please, drive lots of miles. Visit friends and relatives on the opposite coast, make your long-delayed trip to all our national parks. Order plenty of stuff online so the delivery trucks have to come often.

I guess we have to think about the environment too, so don’t go overboard. Still . . .

Nigeria’s budget, passed a few weeks ago, is predicated on $38, so $50 oil would allow for a lower deficit than the $15 billion forecast and give Buhari’s government a little flexibility.

Robin Sanders Looks Back

Dr. Robin Renee Sanders was the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria from 2008 to 2010.

She reflected on Buhari’s first year in office in Huffington Post recently. She gives him overall positive marks.

Sanders believes Buhari is making progress on his stated goals of ending corruption, securing the return of looted funds, and improving the economy.

She acknowledges the many difficulties, especially the price of oil, but is hopeful.

She wrote before the oil price topped $50. If that holds, Buhari will have a much better chance with the economy.

She is looking forward to his first anniversary speech on May 29. So am I!

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Congratulation it is so rewarding to see that women are taking a part in building
    twenty first century, we still have quite a bit to accomplish, but we will with women
    like you working as hard as you do.

  2. Congratulations, Catherine. You and Clem look very elegant!

  3. Congratulations on your CT Press Club Award!

    I, too, love that quote about the UN Women being the UN’s only 21st Century entity! Too many of our institutions remain firmly rooted in the 20th century – not only in gender equality but generational blindness in key areas from communications to philanthropy and more. Communications that come in an envelope with a stamp on it increasingly get ignored completely. Offering plates get passed that ignore a whole generation of would be givers who pay for everything from a cup of coffee to a bag of groceries with their cell phones and not with their”checkbooks or cash.”

    • Thanks, Lynda. Generational blindness – a great term I hadn’t heard. You’re right about envelopes and offering plates being ignored. Surely there’s a way churches can accept gifts from phones and cards. Who has figured this out?