AWCAM poise to use culture to empower women

Participants at the event

Association of Women in Culture, Arts and Music Industry (AWCAM) marked the International Women’s Day (IWD) with a lecture titled, Expectations Of Women In A Gender Sensitive Society.

Held at the National Institute of Culture Orientation (NICO), the lecture was delivered by former Dean of Studies, University of Lagos, Professor Sophie Oluwole.

Prof. Oluwole noted that bias against women did not begin today, as the English word, woman, used to project the female gender already connotes negativity; ‘woe-to-man.’

She said woman was not created inferior to man, but that people tend to use physical strength to measure superiority, forgetting that intellectually and wisdom wise, it is not so.

She disclosed that the Yoruba believe a woman’s wisdom is unmatchable. Oluwole advised women never to expect anything positive from a gender sensitive country like Nigeria, because everything women have achieved anywhere in the world, they fought for them.

She cited examples such as Nigerian women having to retire from the civil service at earlier age than the men, and women not allowed to participate in politics until women began to fight for changes.

According to Oluwole, even the education that was given to girls in the early days were to prepare them for marriage. The curriculum was basically on cookery, domestic science and other subjects that have to do with home management and children upbringing, until women fought to change the situation.

She continued, “when women were asked to pay tax, they fought to be exempted, that was what brought about the Aba women riot. Culture is dynamic and we should always work to change the negative ones; we must enhance the positive aspect to improve our society.”

The first executive secretary of NICO, Victoria Agodo, encouraged women never to give up on the association, but to use it to improve the lives of other women.

Lagos State Director for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Laitan Odulana, also urged encouraged women to be their own keeper and work together to achieve greater heights.

She said: “Most times, women are the ones that hinder the progress of other women. When women are made to drink the water of the corpse of their husbands, it is women that carry out such acts, instead of standing with the victim and fighting for her. Let us promote the culture that edifies and not negative ones like female genital mutilation.”

In her welcome address, the Interim President of the association, Mrs. Brigitte Yerima, said the essence of the lecture was to equip women to operate better in their careers and, as well to empower them in the culture sector.

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