By Bartholomew Madukwe
Lagos—Director General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, CBAAC, Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe, has said that women hold the key to Nigeria’s development.
He noted that the struggle for economic reconstruction and social progress which the country strives to attain can only be achieved when women are made to occupy places of relevance in the scheme of things.
Speaking at a one-day symposium organized by CBAAC and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in Lagos, titled “Encouraging Gender parity at all Levels of Society” Anikwe explained that because of the role women play in the family and homes they have a continuing influence in the shaping of a peaceful and prosperous society “which Nigeria of today is canvassing for”.
Guest Speaker of the event, Mrs Owanari Duke, Chairman Board of Directors- Child Survival & Development Organization of Nigeria, stressed that women have equal or greater strength than men in certain areas.
“Women are leaders everywhere you look – from the CEO of a successful company to the housewife who raises her children and provides a fort for her household. We cannot deny the fact that the sustenance of a nation’s growth and stability is hinged on strong women. However, for us to retain our strength and increase it, women must continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes,” she said.
According to her, women contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievements, apart from accounting for half of the global labour supply and about 70% of the global consumption demand.
“The fight for gender equality has been ongoing for centuries and many battles have been won across the globe with astounding success for women in politics, policy and in the private sector. While no country has yet succeeded in achieving complete gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report, which measures how effective countries are in removing obstacles that hinder women, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have thus far come the closest.
“With a clear vision of where we going, practically speaking, we need to look at where we are now so that we can assess what changes need to be made and how far we need to go to get to where we want to be. The gap or chasm between where we are and where we want to be should serve as a blueprint for policy formulation,” Duke added.