The Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, has launched the Centre for Gender Studies and Women Development, to drive holistic integration of women in development and mainstream gender issues in research and teaching.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Centre, Rector of the institution, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, said the centre would be instrumental in advancing issues of gender equality in the society.
He added that the setting up of various centres in the school is to provide platforms to interrogate various societal problems and ensure a well-coordinated approach to tackling them.
In a keynote address, Director, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. Evelyn Uwa Edosomwan, said the sustainability of socio-economic development of any society depends largely on the opportunities given to women to function with men without any inhibitions and restrictions.
According to her, “Civil society organizations, academia and governments have to play their parts to create awareness and implementation of projects that will mainstream gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
“Hence, the strategy to integrate gender concerns into programming must be accompanied by a strategy to ensure that the working environment and the society, in general, is gender-sensitive, guaranteeing equal opportunities and treatment to both men and women so that development can be achieved and sustained.”
In a lecture themed Gender-Based Violence: A Significant Drive of HIV&AIDS in Developing Countries, the Executive Director of the Edo State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (EDOSACA), Mrs. Flora Oyakhilome, said while males and females experience violence, evidence suggests that the risk factors, patterns and consequences of violence against females are different than that of males.
She said, “Young girls are exposed to high-risk infection via sex, forced early marriages and genital mutilation (or circumcision of both male/female).