The First Lady of Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has made a passionate plea to government at all levels to understand that sustainable development cannot be achieved in societal framework where the roles of women are not included.
Mrs. Akeredolu made the remark today while delivering her keynote address at the 4th Ekiti Gender Summit with the theme: “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Post Beijing; the Political Will and Impact, organized by the Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development in conjunction with the office of the First Lady of Ekiti State, Forum of Spouses of Ekiti State Officials (FOSESO) and Forum of Women in Leadership, (FOWIL) at the AB Civic Centre, Ado.
Mrs. Akeredolu who said women just like men can contribute immensely to the socioeconomic and political development of Nigeria if given the chance affirmed that she has been deliberate about issues of women and girls through some of her initiatives like BEMORE and FOWOSO.
While noting that no country has been able to achieve the envisioned gender equality, Mrs. Akeredolu decried the Nigerian situation which is bedevilled by age long patriarchy and subjugation of women saying most women still earn less than men, work in less quality jobs and are subjected to physical and sexual violence
Mrs. Akeredolu who also used the opportunity to congratulate Erelu Fayemi for a job well done also lauded the Fayemi led administration for also being deliberate and committed to issues of women.
In her opening remark, the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi restated that the Fayemi led administration in the state places high premium on women’s health and has even gone a step forward to package a compendium of all laws and policies that had been able to put into place to protect the rights of women.
According to her, women are tired of being relegated to the background and are ready to move to the next level – a world of equal opportunity and of equal value where no one will be left behind.
While thanking Gov. Fayemi for being an unapologetic feminist in promoting the development of the female gender, Erelu Fayemi further restated her commitment to continue to empower women and children
The Governor of Ekiti State, Gov. Kayode Fayemi in his address said his administration has unarguably done its best to address post Beijing declaration saying under his watch, so much has been done to ensure gender empowerment and equality through the enactment of equal gender balance towards ensuring gender balance in governance.
While noting that women had held prominent position in his first tenure, Gov. Fayemi further affirmed that presently, Ekiti State has more women in the Assembly than in any other states in the federation and that his domestication some policies like the approval of six months maternity leave for women to further show its commitment to women development.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Olabisi Aina in his lecture said the fight for gender equality was not an anti-male agenda but a duty for all to protect the rights of women in the society.
The event witnessed presentation of awards to Dr. Fayemi and his wife, Bisi, by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF for their efforts at promoting gender equality in the state.
Some of the delegates from Ondo State include the Commissioner for Women Affairs & Social Development, Mrs. Titi Adeyemi, Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Mrs. Lola Fagbemi, members of FOWOSO, Be more Girls among others. The First Lady of Osun State, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola was also in attendance.
In a chat with newsmen, one of the stakeholders who spoke about the summit, Martins Mary Falana, the Executive Director, Kids & Teens Resource Centre, ( K& TRC) commended the initiative saying it was timely and commendable stressing that such a move will go a long way in creating awareness about the need to redefine gender roles.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs & Social Development, Mrs., Moji Fafure said the theme of the event was carefully selected to address gender issues.