There’ll always be space for women in his Govt — Sanwo-Olu
Women naturally endowed to stabilise society—Ibukun Awosika, others
By Ebunoluwa Sessou, Luminous Jannamike, Princewill Ekwujuru & Gabriel Ewepu
Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that ensuring the education of women and empowering them is an existential issue for Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this recently in a keynote address at a webinar organised by Women in Africa, WIA in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day, IWD.
Anchoring his contributions on the theme of the 2021 celebrations: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world, #Choose to challenge, the Vice- President noted that “a child of a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to live past the age of 5. Each additional school year increases a woman’s earning by 20 per cent, 2/3 less maternal deaths if mothers finish primary school.
“If we hold down half of the productive segment of our nation on account of culture or other frankly outdated considerations, we are much poorer and much more deprived as a whole. We do ourselves a favour by ensuring social and legal equality of women,” he added.
Speaking on correcting stereotypes against women in Africa and other developing societies, he said: “For many generations, women have fought these manifestations of gender inequality. Over time, the struggle has been refined to the level of a right to gender equality.”
Other speakers at the event include President of the MacArthur Foundation, Mr John Palfrey; CEO of AXA Africa, Hassan El-Shabrawishi; President of Women In Africa, Hafsat Abiola, who moderated the discussion, among others.
Meanwhile, Minister, for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has called on Nigerians to intensify efforts in ending all forms of inequalities, hardships, harmful practices and sexual violence against women and children; including girls and the vulnerable all over the world.
Speaking in Abuja at a press briefing for the commemoration of IWD, held in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, she stated that this year’s theme beams a searchlight on the tremendous efforts made by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to her: “The theme is aligned with the priority theme of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, CSW which calls for Women’s Right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs,” she said.
Covid-19, threat to women’s rights, leadership — African First Ladies
Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on the African First Ladies Peace Mission, AFLPM, Dr. Mairo Al-Makura has said that Covid-19 pandemic has posed serious threat to improving women’s rights and leadership in the continent.
The organisation stated that while various governments implemented measures to curb the pandemic, there was a spike in the reported cases of domestic violence and conflict-related violence against women and girls.
So, the African First Ladies called on political leaders across the continent to prioritise the empowerment of women and girls to ensure their participation at all decision-making levels.
She made the submissions in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja to commemorate the 2021 International Women’s Day.
She said: “Today on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the many achievements of women and girls in Africa and across the globe.
“Although we have seen tremendous progress on women’s rights and leadership over the last few years, the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening to reverse the gains that have been made.
As CCD demands attention on plight of women with disabilities
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, has demanded attention on plight of women with disabilities.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director, CCD, David Anyaele, the organisation called for respect of rights of Persons With Disabilities, PWDs, and stoppage of all forms of discrimination against them.
“This year’s theme, Choose to Challenge, reminds us of the resilience, doggedness, determination and constant push by women with disabilities in Nigeria to create society that is inclusive and participatory on equal basis with others.
“We are concerned that Women with Disabilities in Nigeria have continued to struggle for equal opportunity, access to healthcare and education as well as respect for their human rights.
“Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, wishes to use this opportunity to reaffirm its position for a better society for women most importantly women with disabilities, whom the society has long neglected and excluded.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that he will continue to support women and help them to achieve their potential.
Sanwo-Olu who spoke at the commemoration of the 2021 IWD organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, WAPA, vowed that his administration had recorded unprecedented feat in adding values to women and elevated them to the positions of authority and responsibility.
He said women had remained on the forefront of the battle against Covid-19, applauding them in the progress recorded in fighting the pandemic in Lagos.
He, however, challenged women to continue to amplify their voices in the quest for gender equality and desire to occupy more space in leadership at the very top.
Meanwhile, the First Lady of Lagos, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, celebrated the courage and commitment of female caregivers, frontline medical practitioners, activists and political leaders, who daily laboured to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, who spoke on Leadership in Extraordinary Times, said the role for which God created women in making society develop could never be negotiated.
Africa should give women more opportunities — Lawmaker
A member representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency I, in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mojisolaoluwa Alli-Macaulay, has emphasised the need for women to be given their pride of place as catalysts for a developed nation.
Alli-Macaulay made this assertion while reflecting on the challenges faced by women in developing countries. She stated that if women are given the opportunity, the country will be a better place.
According to her, women are incubators of success and it is high time government policies were tailored towards favouring women.
Iluyomade charges women to challenge poverty
Convener, Arise Women, Dr Siju Iluyomade has urged women around the world particularly Africans to stand up against the scourge of poverty that has bedeviled the human and socioeconomic growth of Nigeria as well as the continent.
In her Statement to encourage women and commemorate the 2021 IWD, Iluyomade said gender inequality is one of the problems that face every developing country in the 21st century and globally.
According to her, latest data released on unemployment in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that women ranked highest when it comes to unemployment, while discrimination against women remains a common occurrence today and serves to hinder economic prosperity.
“Several interventions have failed to yield significant improvement in Nigeria’s Human Development Index, even in periods of economic growth. Plagued with the challenges of unemployment crises, climate change, conflict, fragility and violence, Nigeria stands at grave risk if poverty is not tackled”, she said.
NGO makes case for inclusive Covid-19 vaccination for women
An inclusive and equitable Covid-19 vaccination programme of all women in Nigeria has been identified as an antidote for better society.
This was encapsulated in a one hour press briefing organised by the Ireti Resource Centre as part of efforts to celebrate this year’s IWD.
The Executive Director, Women’s Right and Health Project, WRAHP, Bose Ironsi called all stakeholders to support inclusive leadership opportunities for women across all strata of society.
According to her: “Covid-19 has impacted women and girls in profound ways, amplifying the inequalities that they face every day. It is fundamental that diverse women’s voices and experiences are central to national and global recovery plans.
“We must also identify those gaps that emanated as a result of Covid-19 and address them. It is important that women in leadership positions are encouraged for sustainability.”Women’s voices must be heard,” she said.
Firms partner Women Techsters Initiative Microsoft and non-profit
social enterprise, Tech4Dev have partnered the Women Techsters Initiative to train girls and women across Africa in coding and deep tech skills, aiming to bridge the digital and technology divide and ensure equal access to opportunities across the continent.
The Women Techsters Initiative, which is aimed at girls and women between 16 and 40, across 54 countries in Africa, was launched in a virtual roundtable hosted by Microsoft Philanthropies and Tech4Dev.
In her opening remark, Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director, Microsoft Philanthropies MEA, was excited about the initiative being scaled to other countries on the African continent from Nigeria where the program was piloted said: “When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry through greater access to skills and training, we not only unlock innovation, but also economic opportunities.”
A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, cautioned that Africa’s inequality could worsen unless concrete action is taken to bridge the continent’s digital divide.
Also, Akin Banuso, Microsoft Country Manager in Nigeria opined that while much has been done on the continent to streamline up-skilling in STEM areas, more and continuous efforts are required particularly in industries like these that are ever-changing.
“The overall objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech- empowered girls and women across the continent, which will have equal access to decent job opportunities as well as build and scale their ideas into tech-enabled businesses and deep tech start-ups, ultimately aiding overall economic growth.
“With initiatives like this, this is part of Microsoft Africa’s Inclusion plan, to skill six million people by end of calendar year 2023″, he said.
9PSB calls for gender equality
In line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Choose to Challenge, 9Payment Service Bank, 9PSB said it is celebrating all women and committed to upholding gender equality and women empowerment within its organisation.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac,
“IWD means a lot to me as I am proud of what I have achieved as a woman in the industry and this gives me the opportunity to inspire and encourage other women that they can do as much as I have done and even better.
Branka stated further that “Women deserve an equal future free from stigma, violence and stereotypes with equal rights and opportunities for all to realise their full potential.
In Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, First lady Ekiti State who is also the Chair, Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum, called on the federal and state governments to demonstrate political will to ensure that the needs and concerns of Nigerian women are addressed.
Adding that laws and policies for inclusion and non-discrimination to safeguard the interest of women and where they exist must be enacted and implemented.
“As governors’ wives, we will continue to support our husbands and remind them of their obligations towards the security, protection and empowerment of citizens especially women”she said.