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Why media must propagate cross-gender issues

gender-discriminationThe Board Chair of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) Prof. Ropo Sekoni has said that because men and women are partners in the enterprise of life, the media needs to further popularise cross-gender issues providing details and facts of how it is affecting the country.

To Sekoni, “Nigeria needs the brain power of women as it moves into a more high-tech experience. We cannot talk of competitiveness without gender competitiveness as the future of our children depends on the women, not only the men.”

He said this in Lagos at the event put together by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in partnership with the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, with the theme, ‘Encouraging gender parity at all levels of the society’.

The guest speaker, former first lady of Cross River State, Mrs Onari Duke, who is also the Chairman, Board of Directors, Child Survival and Development Organisation of Nigeria, noted that in as much as culture is good and helps in upholding a society, it sometimes impedes the woman from realising and maximising their full potentials.

Mrs Duke lamented that women are over represented in low productivity jobs with low payments. She expressed gratitude to the centres for organising the workshop as “it would help at ensuring ways to further close the gap between the sexes.

“The advocacy shouldn’t be limited to the women, as most men are still ignorant and in need of education on these issues. The police also has to pay more attention to domestic violent cases”, she added.

A documentary produced by WSCIJ on ‘the untold stories of girls and women in Nigeria’, highlighted some critical roles some Nigerian women played in the growth of Nigeria.

The Director General of CBAAC, Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe also stated that there are sections of the Nigerian culture that must be upheld and observed, suggesting a return to the practises where mothers would confine girls in a room for days to teach values and good mannerism.

Despite the claims on women’s lack of participation in major offices, Anikwe said “CBAAC lives on women empowerment, most of our employees are women that perform wonderfully well”.

For the Managing Director, Nike Centre for Art and Culture, Mrs Oyenike Davies Okundaye, the woman needs to be focused to succeed.

In the same vein, Eminent Nigerian women took turn to train other women in the areas of politics, agriculture and technology at a special International Women’s Day Conference that took place in Lagos recently. The theme of the conference was ‘Pledge for Parity: Empowering the 21st century African Woman’. The conference was organized by SME 100 Nigeria and Rubies Vocational School.

Welcoming participants to the conference, Mr Charles Odii, Executive Director, SME 100 said ‘the time has come for Nigerian women to be competitive on a global level in the areas of politics, agriculture and technology. According to him, ‘the nation can only develop substantially if women make efforts at being professionals in these male-dominated sectors. The conference was organized for women to learn from those who have become renowned.’

While speaking on the launch of the training plan for 1,000 women pan-Nigeria, Executive Director, Rubies Vocational School, Mrs Orode Okpu, said “women in the rural areas of Nigeria would not be left out of the training programmes plan for 2016. In her words, ‘There would be training in different vocations that best suit their locality. This training would be conducted by partnering with the House of Tara for the Make-Up category; Otres Restaurant for the catering category; Nuts About Cakes for the baking category and many others. Interested applicants can visit- www.sme100nigeriaconferences.com to sign up.”

The keynote speaker of the day, Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga, Chairperson, Access Bank Plc and other facilitators such as Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi, Executive Director, W.TEC; Hajjiya Aisha Babangida, Chairman, Better Life for Rural Women, Nigeria; Hon Lolade Akande, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Lagos State; Chief Mrs. Kemi Nelson, APC Women Leader;  Mrs Funke Egbemode, Founder, Mummy’s Integrated Farms Ltd; Mosun Umoru, Founder, Harvesters Farms Ltd and Special Technical Adviser on youth and gender  to the Minister of Agriculture Mr Audu Ogbeh; Adanma Onuegbu, CEO, Signal Alliance encouraged women to collectively fight the scourge of poverty by being empowered with the set skills that will challenge the status quo.

Other activities at the conference include free breast cancer screening by the Pink Pearl Foundation and there was also an extensive panel session.

One of the co-promoters of the event, Executive Director, Rubies Vocational School, Mrs Orode Ryan-Okpu, said the conference is about bringing women together to grow their careers or businesses through learning and hearing women who succeeded in their fields share their experience. “The conference is just like an avenue to rub minds together.”



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