By Child Nkwopara, Owerri
The full potentials of Nigerian women can be fully maximized “if people of good conscience mobilize requisite action towards addressing persistent socio-cultural norms and practices, hindering the maximization of this goal”.
The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, Professor Francis C. Eze, made his feelings known yesterday, while flagging off a one-day seminar, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, in the institution.
Professor Eze said: “I celebrate our women, who have remained an indispensable backbone of our administration. I am delighted to note that every modest effort we have made to reposition our University, bears the indelible imprint of our women, working tirelessly in various capacities.
“We particularly raised the bar of women empowerment in the University, through strategic appointments into leadership positions, including Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, DVC (Academic), Directors, Heads of Departments and Units.
“It is noteworthy that for the first time in the history of the University, we have a management team made up of three women, namely the DVC Academic, Bursar and University Librarian.”
The VC recalled that “a FUTO female undergraduate is among the Nigerian contingent to the forthcoming 2022 Tokyo Olympic Games, in the Taekwando category.”
Continuing, Eze challenged patriotic Nigerian citizens to make the crucial choice of challenging gender bias, inequality, discrimination, exclusion and violence, in all its forms against women and girls everywhere, adding that “together, we can take action, lend a voice and make the desired impact”.
Addressing the participants also, the President, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Women Association, FUTOWA, Dr Mrs Egejuru Eze, called for a change of mindset.
“The forefathers that handed this culture down to us, out of ignorance, had no respect, nor value children and women. Slave trade has since been abolished but the ill-treatment and perception of women as second class citizens, still continues”, Mrs Eze lamented.
She pointed out that everybody has a critical role to play in reversing this very ugly trend of gender inequality.
Her words: “Despite progress made in achieving gender equality, women still experience multiple forms of violence at home and in the public, globally. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviour and mindset, could have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can help create a gender-equal world.
“We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight biases, broaden perceptions, improve situations, motivate, support, encourage and celebrate women, with the aim of ensuring a gender-equal world.”
Welcoming the participants earlier, the Director, Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies, FUTO, Professor Gloria N. Okwu, opined that gender equality is essentially a question of power and in our male-dominated patriarchal society.
Okwu said: “We need to partner with men of goodwill, to make equality happen. I, therefore, call on men of quality, who are not afraid of equality, to support this noble cause and bequeath to their grand-daughters and great-granddaughters, a violence-free future, filled with opportunities, where their rights are guaranteed.”