This post is an excerpt from a lecture given by Mr. Soji Eniade ( Executive Assistant to Gov. Abiola Ajimobi on Administration) at the NAWOJ special seminar to commemorate the 2018 International women’s day. It was nice to see a man advocating for the emancipation of more women in governance. I hope it inspires some woman to go for her dreams:
Lecture: The International women’s day is a day designed to celebrate women all over the world where contribution and achievements of women are appreciated. It gives me immense pleasure to share that Nigerian women have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Nigeria. However, there is room for more development.
The level of significance of International Women’s day is increasing yearly and has become a convention. It is a celebration of respect, of appreciation, love and care towards our women. It is a day to reflect on progress. According to Joyce Bander, former Malawian President, “The seed of success in every nation on earth are best planted in women and children. This year’s celebration #IWD come at a time when there is advocacy for women’s right, equality, and justice. And a call to put an end to sexual harassment, violence, discrimination against women, kidnapping, trafficking and child abuse amongst others.
Women in Nigeria are usually given high regard and respected though as wives, daughters, and even widows. It is in this regard that I classify my wife, my daughter and my mother as the three most important women in my life. They have not only made me a better person today and supported me through thick and thin they have equally inspired me to my present status. I am sure that many successful men in our society will not have attained their various successes if not for the women in their lives.
The status of women across the world today is precarious, about 70% of the 1.3billion people in the world living in extreme poverty are women. In developing countries, women own less than 2% of the land. Worldwide it has been reported that about 60 million girls are missing due to female for sex slavery. About 5 thousand women are murdered in what is called in some realms honor killing.
93Million children who are out of school are female children. These are issues that policymakers should give attention to.
While good governance has been identified as a key factor for rapid and sustainable development bad governance is increasingly been regarded as one of the root causes of all evil in Nigeria.
When women are seen as equals and are given equal responsibilities their participation enriches governance. Examples are seen in Mrs. Margret Thatcher of UK, Mrs. Theresa May, Angela Merkel of Germany; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia amongst others.The population of women in Nigeria in the last 15 years has grown substantially from 26.8 million to 94.2 million as at 2017. Women and children are regarded as the vulnerable in any society’s demographic composition. However different empowerment programs are been designed to encourage and equip women and further spur them to live meaningful lives and encourage their participation in all areas of human endeavor.
Traditionally our women are involved in home management and just regarded a baby making factories. My own mother was a primary school teacher and I am very proud to be her child. But look at what is happening today, more women are coming boldly out and they are blazing the trail. Then women were less educated and had many societal inhibitions and most especially during elections. Men ask their wives to stay at home during elections back then bot knowing that the right he has, she also has.
Women such as Mrs. Margret Ekpo, Mrs. Janet Mokelu, and Miss Young were members of the Eastern state house of Assembly. Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti was a big voice in the Western region and was the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. Hajiya Gambo Sawaba fought for political and cultural emancipation of women in the North while Anike Agbaje Williams was a highly talented television broadcaster. These women were all trailblazers but have we improved on their legacy?
We must stop gender stereotypes and seeing of our women as objects of pleasure. Women that are bold to step out are seen as loose women but these women know what they want.
We must involve men and boys in the struggle for gender equality and women empowerment. Boys at tender age should be encouraged to protect their sisters, female neighbors and their women when they grow up.
I want to submit that there is no doubting the fact that women participation in policy and decision making as a whole which is abysmally low in Nigeria is what we should encourage. If encourage this it will benefit the whole society.
I hope to see the next generation of Nigerian women who will stand up to take their destinies into their own hands and lead this country to greater glory within their sphere
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
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