MMS Hall Of Fame: Women Seek Relevance In Male Dominated Leadership And Political Architecture

MMS Hall Of Fame: Women Seek Relevance In Male Dominated Leadership And Political Architecture

In a world said to be dominated by men,it becomes almost an impossibility for women , particularly in African clime to be seen and be hard.

Marginalization of women in economic development, in social and political spaces is a worldwide phenomenon; however, it is worse in developing countries.

In Nigeria, despite the adoption of the United Nations’ Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in 1985 and similar local policies, such as the National Gender Policy of 2006, inequality still exists due to a myriad of cultural and structural challenges. This has constrained women’s participation in all spheres of life with serious implications for human resource development and, in that capacity, economic development of the country and the general state of gender equality.

With Nigeria being signatory to all these international conventions it would only be reasonable for domestication of these international norms as well as a focus on domestic reforms in laws and culture as a better approach towards women’s development.

It was therefore not surprising the 2022 induction of MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame ( WoFHoF) ceremony organized in honour of Dame Pauline Tallen had the theme as: “Women Arise In Leadership,SMEs Development And Port Efficiency In A Multi-Port Concept Age In Nigeria.”

Barr. Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of ZOE Maririme Resources Limited was the guest speaker.

Presenting the paper, Edodo-Emore noted that right from creation God bestowed upon the woman the gift of child bearing – a process of receiving, incubating ,bringing forth and nurturing the human life to replenish the earth,stressing that It takes discipline,care and leadership to navigate these processes successfully .

But to what extent, she asked, have the women brought this leadership to other aspects of human endeavors? Have they succeeded ,if not ,what needs to be done?

She argued that the participation of women in business and politics has become the subject of growing attention from non-governmental organizations, policy makers, researchers, development analysts and international organizations .

“This is because women have great potentials for contributing to boosting family income, trade development and economic advancement. However,the current level of participation of women in politics and business is far below her potentials, ” she said.

Edodo- Emore noted that Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State and former Presidential candidate of the United States, drew world attention to the fact that “Women’s rights are human rights” at the Fourth World Conference on Women organized by the United Nations in Beijing,from the 4-15th September 1995.

This, she noted, led to more awareness of the relevance of women in positions of authority .

“Global trends now champion the equality of rights and opportunities of men and women in all endeavors of life. Hence the call for gender equality .The capacity of women in national and international development is becoming obvious and wise countries are beginning to tap into this latent energy” she said

She argued that in Nigeria, notwithstanding the provision of Section 17 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which guarantees the equality of men and women in every sphere of national life, the participation of women in political and business leadership is still very low.

“For the avoidance of doubt , Section 17 provides that :

“(1) The State social order is founded on the ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice

(2) In furtherance of the social order ,

(a)Every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law;”

Thus the equality guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution has not yet translated into equality in leadership positions or aspirations,” she submitted.

Historically, many have argued that Nigerian women were an integral part of the political set up of their communities. In support of this view, the proponents have cited women of note like Queen Barkwa Turuku who founded the City of Zaria in the 16th Century and later her daughter, Queen Amina. They have also mentioned Queen Moremi of Ife and Emotan of Benin who exhibited significant bravery in conflicts which led to the preservation of their lands in ancient times.

The question then arises:If women in the past were able to make this mark politically,so what went wrong? How did women loose the grip on leadership and power?

It is pertinent to note however that whatever political impact or influence women made in the 1950s as a result of the agitation for independence took the center stage.. At this time, women like Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Margaret Affiong Ekpo were appointed into the Western and Eastern Nigeria Houses of Chiefs.

The early post colonial Nigeria recorded relative increase in the participation of women. Margaret Ekpo, Janet Nwadiogo Mokelu and Ekpo A. Young, all contested and won elections, into the Eastern House of Assembly. These were pioneer female members of the Eastern Region’s House of Assembly .

Going by the trajectory of women participation in politics in Nigeria,Edodo- Emore stated that,”By the second republic, only two women were appointed ministers, Janet Akinrinade and Adenike Ebun Oyagbola, Minister for Internal Affairs and Minister for National Planning, respectively. Only Franca AFEGBUA was elected into the Senate, although a few women were elected into the House of Representatives,” she said.

She noted that not much improved in the 4th Republic in 1999.

“Even with the 30-35% affirmative action recommended by the Beijing Conference of 1995, all the strata of leadership in Nigeria has been dominated by men,” she stated.

Her words,”According to a report by Gender Strategy Advancement Initiative, the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria remain at 6.7 percent in elective and appointive positions. This is said, to be far below the global average of 22.5 per cent, Africa regional average of 23.4 percent and West African Sub Regional Average of 15 percent. Of the 109 senators in the National Assembly, there are only 7 women, while there are 22 women out of 360 members of the House of Assembly”

Edodo-Emore however identified the following factors as being responsible for limiting the participation and advancement of Women in Politics. These include:Girl child education , violence and finance .

According to her, studies conducted in Enugu State, South East Nigeria , revealed a number of factors which have limited the effective participation of women in politics in the State. They include,the lack of girl child education, the general societal perception of the business of politics, violence in politics, deliberate exclusion of women by political decision makers and a lack of financial capacity

Other factors she identified include: Stigmatization ,religion, son of the soil” and state of origin “syndrome, amongst others.

However in order to address the inhibiting factors against women participation in leadership and political arrangements, she noted that efforts have been made in the past through advocacy.

“A number of efforts have been made in the past especially by way of advocacy to entrench the culture of inclusion of the womenfolk in mainstream politics. These efforts have yielded considerable results and generally improved the statistics of women in politics in Nigeria. It is however, yet a far cry from the objective of equal participation.

Deliberate government policies and affirmative action which stipulate quotas that must be accorded to women are instruments for enforcing the participation and advancement of women in politics. It has been argued that policies, protocols, conventions and quota system which imposes women participation in politics undermines the democratic concept of equality of opportunity and that women should be given a chance to compete equally with men, ” she argued.

Speaking at the MMS WoFHoF event Hon. Janet Adeyemi,argued that no one is holding the women down from reaching their potentials and participation in both leadership and politics. She argued that women should come out of their enclosures and assert themselves. She stated that women should build a pipe line through which they can leave a legacy.

Her words,”When you talk of gender,no one is holding us down.We women are the ones holding ourselves down. While men will hold up their fellow men women on the other hand will hold down their fellow women. We create an organization we don’t even serve And as long as we keep doing that,then we have gender irony. Lets recognize ourselves on the table. So my take is that no man is holding any woman down..Some are in a position and they cannot give serious account of that position. If we must change Nigeria,we must learn to be disciplined, “she submitted.

Speaking also Barrister Augusta Igbokwe submitted that men should learn to work with women. She argued that events have shown that women are better managers of crisis situation ,hinging her argument on the post- covid research in which statistics of over 194 countries were taken and those countries led by women came up tops as better managers of the covid era.

She said women were specially configured by God to be a source of life and leadership, stressing that women are very passionate, resourceful and very committed.

“We do things that need to be done. We are passionate. We are sensitive and we are consistent.When you give a woman job to do ,she will not care whether her mother is standing on the way or not she will go ahead and do the job,” she said,dding that ,”The government needs to entrust more women with responsibilities. That ‘s the way forward. Give women the opportunity to run the port and you will see how far they can go ” she said.

Check Also

Enhancing Waste Management In The Supply Chain Logistics

Enhancing Waste Management In The Supply Chain Logistics

By Genevieve Aningo There is a trend to adopt green technological innovations across sectors to …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Get News Alert