By Gloria Orogun
AS Nigeria joined rest of the world to mark this year’s Internal Women’s Day, a nongovernmental organisation, the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) has charged Nigerian women to rise up to the challenge of becoming pacesetters in national development.
The Executive Director of LAPO, Mrs. Sabina Idowu-Osehobo, who gave the charge while speaking at the 2017 International Women’s Day Ceremony organised by LAPO Lagos 2 Region said the importance of women in the society cannot be overemphasised.
The International Women’s Day had the theme: “Be Bold for Change,” while LAPO’s celebration had the sub-theme, “Women as Pacesetters in National Development.”
The Executive Director who was represented by Mrs Sandra Asowata, Regional Officer, LAPO Lagos 2 Region, said: “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of their families, communities and society at large.
“On this special day, we are asking you to be bold for change, call on yourself to help forge a better working and gender equal world.” According to her, LAPO on its part has been doing a lot to better the lives of women.
Idowu-Osehobo said the region provided free health screening and referrals for 2,554 men and 36,234 women in 2016. She said the tests included malaria, diabetes, blood pressure and hepatitis; adding that sensitisation programmes were also carried out on cervical cancer, hand washing, breastfeeding among others.
According to her, women were also empowered socially through topics ranging from son preference, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, self-esteem, leadership in governance as well as marriage and separation.
In her lecture, Dr Chika Okangbe of the School of Medicine, Babcock University, Ogun State, said gender-based gaps exist across the globe which could only be closed with thesupport of all and sundry.
Okangbe said Nigerian women were still faced with issues such as domestic violence and lack of equal participation in politics.
“Women can be great leaders and pacesseters in national development. This has been demonstrated in the past by Queen Moremi and the Biblical Queen Esther.
“Women such as late Dr Dora Akinyuli excelled very well in her position as NAFDAC boss. Dr Oby Ezekwesili has been on the forefront of the campaign to bring back our girls who were kidnapped in Chino.
“So there are many women out there including you and I who are ready to perform if given the opportunity but we as women need to be supportive of each other, “she added.