AKURE – GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Kayode Fayemi have commended the wife of Ondo State Governor and founder of Forum for Wives of Ondo State Officials, FOWOSO, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu on her giant strides in grassroots women and youth empowerment through FOWOSO.
This was part of activities to commemorate FOWOSO’s one year anniversary of driving gender equality and improving family health through women empowerment projects and health awareness activities.
In her welcome address, founder of FOWOSO, Mrs. Anyanwu-Akeredolu decried the debasing statements, attitudes and cultural practices against the female folk.
She said: “Let me make it emphatically clear today; it is to no one’s benefit to suppress the abilities of women by denying them quality education, marrying them off against their will and confining them to the kitchen. The statistics are clear; nations that have risen to become world economic giants today are nations that invested significantly in their human resources, females and males alike, without bias. Everyone must be allowed to unleash their potentials without preference to any particular gender.
“How do we expect to develop if women, who make up more than half of the entire population, are restricted to kitchen duties and child rearing only, and are then expected to, like serfs, totally depend on their husbands for every need? It is simple economics; a high dependency ratio automatically results to stalled development. Knowing this, I have dedicated my life to driving gender equality, not because I love the female folk more, but because I seek the growth and advancement of humanity as a whole.”
In his opening remarks, Governor Fayemi, who commended Mrs Akeredolu lamented that there is a low representation of women in government, and appealed for a representative number of women in governance who, according to him, will make a huge difference as active change agents.
The keynote Speaker, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank, Liberia, Dr Munirat Ogunlayi, who spoke on the theme: Unlocking Hidden Potentials in Girls and Women: A Task for All, enumerated the factors responsible for hiding potentials in women –to include poverty, socio-cultural norms, abuse, religion, amongst others– and their implications to the society, while proffering measures to unlock the hidden potentials of women through sound education, leadership development and mentoring, equal opportunities, enabling environment, and governmental support, to mention a few.