The first lady of Ondo State, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has urged women to take actions that will promote gender-parity. She nudged women to become more resolute in competing for decision-making tables where they can take decisive actions on issues concerning women.
She said this in her good will message as a special guest at the Vanguard’s International Women’s Day Conference held today at Radisson Blu Hotel, Lagos.
“It is about time we took decisive actions for a gender-balanced world, a gender-balanced nation. If we don’t, nothing will change. We are currently sailing on troubled waters and the captains of the ship seem to have taken their hands off the wheel. We must work to be on the decision making table in order to ensure our women are protected.”
The First Lady of Ondo state, who joined the conference virtually decried the relegation of women’s welfare and maternal health issues at the heat of the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The pandemic has further proved that the Nigeria socio-political system is unfavourable to the welfare and protection of women and girls. We are currently sailing on troubled waters and the captains of the ship seem to have taken their hands off the wheel. It is about time we took decisive actions for a gender-balanced world, a gender-balanced nation. If we don’t, nothing will change. Our women continue to bear the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic and this should steer us up for action. We must work to be on the decision making table in order to ensure our women are protected. We must invest to build the capacity of our girls, broaden their intellectualism, give them that inner strength; that self-esteem; that self-worth that gives them the strong conviction that they are in no way the lesser version of men. When our girls are educated, the female folk will be protected and the nation will experience good development”
She further stated that the need to have more women in leadership positions is being acknowledged, urged women to come up with strategies to change the narrative.
“It’s no longer about sloganeering, it is about strategies. We need to go all out and get it done. We need to go back to the drawing board. There are women out there, even the educated ones.
We really mean business.
“Our women have been so marginalised for too long, subjugated due to no fault of theirs by the society at large, so we felt that to change the narrative, we have to reach out to the younger generation and make them realise that they do matter. And the process begins with information, making them key into what’s happening around them. It is about time we took decisive actions for a gender-balanced world, a gender-balanced nation. We must work to be on the decision making table in order to ensure our women are protected.If we don’t, nothing will change.”
While responding, during a panel discussion on “COVID-19 as it Affected Professional and Domestic Life of Women” on actions taken in Ondo state to curb to the spike of domestic violence due to the economic pressures faced by families during the lockdown, the wife of the Governor said while Violence Against Persons Prohibition law, is in the process of being domesticated in Ondo state, stakeholders against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, led by BAAF had used the opportunity of having a Covid-19 Response Centre which was meant for Covid-19 issues to also receive complaints on all sorts of gender violence.
The First Lady explained that the Covid-19 centre was operated in collaboration with the agency that responds to domestic violence and that it served well in helping the numerous people that faced domestic violence issues at the time.
She was also glad to share that Ondo state now has her own domestic violence response centre and she and her team are actively working hard to respond to every issue of domestic violence reported to their centres.
Stating the reasons for inviting The Ondo State’s First Lady to the conference, the Vanguard Media Representative Morenike Taire, lauded Her Excellency, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu as a distinguished stakeholder and participant in the development and welfare of Nigerian women.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, ably represented by Mrs. Jummai Mohammed, Director, Child & Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, noted that the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day #ChooseToChallenge, opens up the opportunity to reflect on the past movements of women, the present situation and the desired future.
“as we continue to grapple through the effects of the pandemic and Climate Change, gender inequality, conflict and other vices, it’s more clear that women should be keen to address these challenges.”
Other notable panelists and participants at the event included former First Lady of Lagos state, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Human Rights Activist Aisha Yesufu, Justice Yetunde Adesanya and so on.