BATTY Akeredolu, the first lady of Ondo State, says there is no greater tool for fighting gender inequality in society than girl-child education.
Mrs Akeredolu said this on Monday in Lagos at a programme, organised by African Women Industrialisation Award (AWIA), an NGO, to commemorate the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AWIA is an NGO formed to recognise and honour notable women, especially in Africa, who have put in great work to create jobs for youths and help reduce unemployment.
The governor’s wife said that all hands must be on deck to deploy necessary tools towards female education in order to bridge the gender gap and enable them to participate actively in nation-building.
According to her, `If we want to achieve equal seats in the legislature from local government to the National Assembly, have more women as CEOs or lead the affairs of this nation, we must have more educated women.
“Indeed, the gender parity-gap is still wide, but with the very rock of aspiration, zeal and courage, we will surely bridge the gap.
“This year, we chose to challenge the status quo because we have, for too long, endured an imbalanced society, a non-prosperous community and an environment inimical to our persons as women.
“We chose to challenge the remarkable achievement of our dear sister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has energised our spirits and like a horse that fled the stall, we have become untamable.’’
Mrs Akeredolu added that the norms and tradition that were carefully constructed to keep women’s mouth sealed, their hands chained and leave their wings clipped could no longer keep them down.
“The international community has been taking bold steps to create an equal world for both genders but unfortunately, our local community is still living in a patriarchal milieu,’’ she noted.
The governor’s wife said it saddened her heart to know that the United Arab Emirate (UAE), which was making almost equal amount with Nigeria in the 1970s, is now making 18 times more than Nigeria.
“This is simply because the UAE government made significant strategic investments in girl-child education, while more than 90 per cent of women in UAE are well-educated.
She expressed her displeasure with the high rate of female illiteracy in the country, saying that more than half of women were still without formal education.
“We must have more women-oriented policies and programmes, and this can only be possible if we have more women in leadership roles.
“In Ondo State, we discovered that 26.5 per cent of our pregnant women do not deliver in health facilities, a situation which is linked to increased maternal mortality rates in the state,’’ she said.
Mrs Akeredolu said that the state had designed the Solayo Safe Motherhood Initiative, which, she added, had seen over 3,000 women receive free birth delivery kits since its inception in 2019.
“The Solayo kit contains all the necessary items that an expectant mother will need to enhance safe delivery.
“This year’s International Women’s Day has seen another 1,000 women receive free birth kits. The aim is to reduce the financial burden on expectant mothers, especially those who are vulnerable and reside in rural communities.
“Our mission is to sustain this momentum in a bid to achieve our goal of reaching 5,000 vulnerable women at the end of 2023.
“This is an example of a women-oriented policy or programme designed by women for women, and this is only possible when we have more women at the decision-making table’’ she said.
The Convener of the award, Mrs Nnabugwu Chinyere, said that the platform was aimed at helping young learners to understand the role of science and technology in building sustainable businesses.
NAN reports that Mrs Akeredolu was the special guest of honour and also the ‘Woman of the Year’ award recipient for her contributions to the development of women and the girl-child. (NAN)
– Mar. 8, 2021 @ 18:55 GMT |