By Providence Obuh
THE Lagos State Government has called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Assembly to enact law and guidelines that will provide for more women professionals to participate in politics.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR)’s Annual Mentoring and Leadership Event with theme: “Women Rising: Transforming Leadership” was well attended by the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Mrs. Idiat Adebule; Rtd Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu; Managing Director Lotus Capital Limited, Mrs. Hajara Adeola; CEO, Terrakulture, Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters; Managing Partner, Biola Alabi Media, Mrs.Biola Alabi; among others.
In her remark, Adebule said that the enactment of the law is the only legal and credible means of assuming political leadership in a democratic society, just as she highlighted that the reason for the retrogressive nature of development of our political culture saying is due to low representation of women in the corridors of power.
She added that any society that promotes the dignity of women and give them opportunity to thrive will experience rapid development because women more often than not, are family-centric which is the foremost frontier for national development.
Adebule said, “I have observed with keen interest, the rise of women professionals more than ever before to the leadership of corporate organisations, especially in the financial sector. This is probably one of the factors that has promoted healthy corporate culture which has kept banking sector stable even in the face of harsh economic realities of the moment.
“If the socio-economic sectors are taking advantage of the professionalism ‘of women, why not the political sector. I strongly believe that the reason for the one-step forward and two-step backward nature of development of our political culture is due to relatively low participation of women at the commanding heights.
“I therefore, call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Assembly to enact laws and guidelines that will provide a more humane environment comforting enough for more women professionals to participate in politics which is the only legal and credible means of assuming political leadership in a democratic society,” she said.
She said that the wind of change is blowing away the status quo and norms across the world. “This wind is mainly fuelled by dissatisfaction, dislocations and anxiety and not necessarily by any specific ideology. But if this wind must have positive long term impact, the role of women in the scheme must be defining and pronounced, else, I fear the world will be back to square-one in no distant time. I believe so, because any structural change for development that is devoid of a role for the family which is the only surviving bonding unit will eventually fail. Women make the family and families make the society.
“As agents of change, women’s inherent leadership qualities should come to provoke real change. Women must have self-awareness and be conscious of their abilities and potentials. Women have what it takes to lead the process of change. Therefore, transformational leadership is not an exclusive right of a particular gender,” Adebule said.
Also, Chairperson/Founder, WISCAR, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, said that despite some rises in the number of women in leadership positions, women do not necessarily have more power or influence since they tend to be pushed into the less impactful, peripheral positions.
She added that although Africa has more women in executive committees of private sector companies than the worldwide average yet women are still under represented at every level and only five percent of women makes it to the very top.
“Although the number of women in government, including cabinet positions and the legislature has almost doubled over the last 15 years, women are nevertheless under-represented and their numbers would have to double to achieve gender equality,” Oyagbola said.
Hotonu in her keynote address advised women to always stand their ground at all times adding that intellect has no gender. “Challenges does not brake you but it makes you stronger, if you ever compromise once, you will continue to compromise, you must balance everything you do as a woman,” Hotonu said.