Prof. Aize Obayan, Director, Africa Leadership Development Centre (ALDC),Covenant University Ota in Ogun, has called on women to step up efforts in taking up leadership roles and contributing to nation building.
Obayan made the call in an interview with newsmen on the sideline of a two-day Career and Professional Women Conference in the university.
She said that the conference, with the theme ‘Beyond the Glass Ceiling’ was aimed at bringing women together in an attempt to overcome barriers and progress beyond where they find themselves.
According to her, it will as well help individuals in making them to contribute more to the overall development of the country.
She said that the conference, among other things, was to create a platform for a network base for women as well as to find out if the `glass ceiling’ concept was a myth or reality.
“As women, we have a lot of God- given potentialities and skills that, if encouraged and harnessed, would contribute as drivers of change in our homes, the communities and the country at large.
“It is time for women to strive to look beyond where they are, which simply means scaling new heights and advancing.
“For us as women to begin to generate the needed momentum and contribute more to the development of our country, we must first be able to identify the heights we want to get to and then sit down and put them together,’’ she said.
Obayan, a former Vice Chancellor of the Covenant University Ota, and also host of the conference, said that efforts had been made in the past years to tackle the `glass ceiling concept’ but they seemed not to have created enough impact.
According to her, research has shown that the major challenges faced by in trying to reach the peak have to do with cultural, religious and social issues.
She said that the issues were imposed.
`Every woman needs to construct issues personally because what may be a challenge to one may not be a challenge to the other.
“However, collectively, the social construction of womanhood, social construction of gender may be a limiting force.
“Be that as it may, we as women should not limit ourselves by looking at such things as challenges, but rather identify our strenghs and see how we can harness it for overall national development,’’ she said.
Mrs Olubunmi Aboderin- Talabi, Chairperson Executive Council, Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WINBIZ) also spoke with journalists on the sideline of the event.
According to her, Nigeria is a free country with lots of opportunities that can drive change.
She said that women must strive to avail themselves of such opportunities that would further give them the room to participate and make the difference in nation building.
“I do not think that we as women are marginalised, rather, we should try and wake up, encourage ourselves to see beyond where we are and how we can be the drivers of change that we are supposed to be.
“I also know that as women, we may be faced with issues of cultural barriers and others, but that must not limit us or make us see ourselves as not good enough.
“There is need for us as women to stay focused and give our best, and this we can only achieve by training ourselves in order to be the best versions of ourselves,’’ she said.