National President of the umbrella society of women organisations in Nigeria, the Nigeria Society for Women Society (NCWS) Dr. Gloria Laraba Shoda has called on relevant authorities to embrace policies promoting gender inclusion in all national, political and leadership engagements.
Dr. Shoda was speaking as lead discussant at the Women Leadership Recruitment Roundtable session as part of the 2017 annual National Political Summit holding at the Abuja International Conference Centre.
In a lead paper titled: Cooperation, Mobilisation and Organisation of Women Groups for leadership engagement, the NCWS national leader, who also chaired the session, emphasised the place of the woman in demanding gender equation in Nigeria.
“The major kernel of our mobilisation is for women to realise that they could also attain heights reached by men, and also for the society to remove impediments in the way of women and the female gender. This is known all over the world as gender equality,” she explained.
She expressed concern that in highlighting myriads of challenges confronting the Nigerian women, there must be concerted effort on the processes leading to the expected outcomes involved in playing such roles.
“For better things to happen to women, we must pay particular attention to the mobilisation of women and coordinate the activities of women organisations for the attainment of common objectives, empowerment of women, access to opportunities, education of womenfolk, as well as facilitate the building of enviable standards that could promote human development.
“This is where sensitisation becomes important. We believe that women must not just sit down and await the desired changes. We must work for the changes to evolve, by putting in as much as men, and demonstrating competence and ability to perform. It is absurd if Nigerian women expect their men to provide virtually everything for them, even if they are working and earning good money of their own,” she noted.
While doing this, Dr. Shoda challenged the women on the need to be conscious of their rights, responsibilities and obligations, which she said must begin from the family units, then to the women themselves and the nation.
The NCWS leader charged women on the need to collaborate towards networking for effective participation in the process to involve women in the process of national decision making.
She charged women not to lose hold of their families in the course of advocating for their rights in the society.
“No amount of the goals of Beijing Declaration, Affirmative Action or Women Emancipation must make women depart from divine instructions as that would not augur well for the family and ultimately, the larger society,” Shoda stressed.
Former Plateau State Deputy Governor, Dame Pauline Tallen, challenged women to believe in themselves and work towards their belief, saying with education, women can work hand in hand to compete in clear-cut roles that are exclusively reserved for them.
Tallen cautioned her counterparts to refrain from assumption that they could do it all alone without the blessings of their spouses; “A woman cannot succeed in politics if you undermine your husband. Be humble, submissive and play your roles well as better wife, a mother and political leader,” she said.
Dr. Chichi Aniagolu Okoye, the Country Director Nigeria, Girl Effect, said, women in politics must ensure they fight for mainstream positions in their political parties while seeking elective positions. Women must change the way they perceive themselves for the society to see them same way, she advised.”
The President of Women in Politics, Barrister (Mrs) Ebere Ifendu pledged the readiness of the group to collaborate with the NCWS to realise the objectives of the organisation.
Hajia Mariya Ibrahim Baba emphasised the place of competence, compliance to professional conduct, respectful relationship, good self image and decent dressing as basic benchmarks for ethical considerations and value orientation for women in public office. She also listed financial capacity, self discipline and devotion to God.
Concluding the session, Women Leader of the South South in the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Chief (Mrs) Racheal Akpabio, urged Nigerian women to emulate the legendary roles of foremost pacesetters in the advocacy for emancipation of women in Nigeria and Africa. She paid glowing tributes to the memories of women who have played enviable roles to accord the womenfolk a good place in the history of Nigeria among them the late Chief Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti, late Margaret Ekpo, Hajia Gambo Sawaba; the late Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili and Dame Pauline Tallen.