…speak on women empowerment, mental education, others
By Ebunoluwa Sessou & Elizabeth Uwandu
The International Women’s Day has come and gone, yet the memories still linger especially the Vanguard International Women’s Day Round Table that took place on March 29,2019 at the beautiful hall of Radisson Blu Hotels, located at Victoria Island, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Lagos.
With the invited guests at the roundtable, the women who came from all walks of life took turn to discuss the theme: Redirecting the Nigeria’s future: the role of women.
The summary of the over two hours discourse as contained in this piece is summed up for action by all stakeholders including governments at all levels, corporate organisations as well as Nigerians at large to take affirmative action in redirecting the future of Nigeria at all levels.
Highpoint of the event were the 10 points agenda highlighted including mentoring the younger girls, sponsoring women programmes, maximum collaboration of women, improved education system, political participation, 75 percent appointment of women in position of power, removal of complexity, alleviating poverty in the country, taking politics to the grassroots, leadership relationship for women, housing, and social development.
Taking turns as questions were posed to them, the women explained that, there was no better time to take action than now.
Women should take away phobia-—Ajayi
Mrs Lucy Omosefe-Ajayi , Executive Director, LITFC, disclosed that until women kill their phobia for politics, they will not make meaningful impact in the country.
“APC led government has given women opportunity by making political forms free for them. However, at the grassroots level, some of them have phobia to run for electoral positions, forgetting that they have the warmth to influence change.
“We should not be setback by formal education rather women should know that they have enough mental capacity to make changes. “If women are not educated, they should endeavor to educate their female children so that they can enjoy the dividends of political participation.
“One thing about my party is that they have given women opportunities to participate in electoral process and made it free for them, while men have to pay. But what I found out is that some women are still afraid and that is why I am trying my best to educate women at the grassroots level. They believe politics is a man’s world and they claimed not to be financially bouyant to contest elections.
“I told them is all about intelligence and not really about going to school. If you do not go to school, it does not mean you are not intelligent.
“ I have challenged women to ensure that their female children go to school, even if they were not educated”.
African system makes women believe they are not enough – Coker
In her contribution, Mrs Erefa Coker, Founder, HR Expo Africa, and HR strategy consultant, called on women to constantly develop themselves and be competent to gain relevance rather than waiting behind the door.
“Women should create innovations and build strategies so that they can be able to make impacts.”I feel women are not given enough opportunity. You found out that in the Western world, you see that they talk about equality, balance among others. But, in Nigeria, women are used to be slienced not only in politics, but are also abused.
“Women need to be well equipped and position themselves strategically. This is because, when you are strategically placed, people will come to you. My take is to solve your bosses-bosses problems. So as women, if we begin to develop yourselves, we will be brought to the table, or better still, we will bring their seats to the table. Constantly developing ourselves and our skills are very important. And capacity building is very important. Be creative and unique. Look for opportunities where you communicate and competent is very important”.
Bill or not, man and woman should have equal opportunities – Adebisi
Foluke Adebisi, said, women and men should be given equal right. “I want a environment where women and men are given equal opportunity and women should not be treated as second class citizens.
Engagement of women should come from grassroots-—Ojinnaka
For Uju Uzo-Ojinnaka, CEO , Traders of Africa, TOFA, women should be mobilised in politics. “Engagement of women can only come through grassroot mobilisation; expansion of the female gender and putting women in key positions in sectors such as education; housing and social media”.
Women should understand the rudiments of politics—-Fashola
For Mrs Kudirat Fashola, CEO, Kuddy Cosmetics, said, “Women should understand the rudiments of politics and take opportunities by lobbying for positions for women in order to chart the way forward especially in redirecting the future of Nigeria using women as tools for positive change”.
Change can only start from us – Medubem
Folashade Ambrose Medebem, Director Lafarge, African Plc said, “Women need to collaborate.We know in Nigeria that there is dearth of data. And through, legislation, women are not been well represented. So, we need to address the issue of data legislation on the part of the constitution and collaboration among women. And not just women collaborating but being clear of what they are doing”.
Women can’t do much without mobilization—-Ominiabohs
Helen Ominiabohs representing former, first lady, Lagos state, Dame Abimbola Fashola, said, “I feel that a lot has to be done in terms of mobilization and encouragement. We find out that competent women are relunctant because they are not praised or encouraged.
“The men tend to take all the glory. When you encourage women, they will be willing to risk. But when they are not encouraged, they would remain at the background doing what they know how to do best. Therefore, lot of mobilization, encouragement and support will create enabling environment for women to soar especially in business and politics”.
Patriarchy system is greatly hampering women —Gamu
Lecturer/Chartered Estate Surveyor and Valuer, University of Lagos said, Hadjia Faoziah Shade-Gamu,”I believe that our society is too patriarchy. We need to come together on our own as women to fight patriarchy. The fact is that this country is not moving anywhere. Even, if 10 percent of us are successful and 90 percent are not we are all not successful. Then we ought to be taking people along.
“Everybody should join a party, whether it is the ruling party or not, it does not really matter. What matters is that you are involved.
“Men are not running this county well. God did not create us that it is all male or all women affair.