- -Condemns the abduction of Dapchi girls
- -Calls for 35% Affirmative Action
MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Initiative has tasked the federal government and other stakeholders on the need to create an enabling atmosphere for gender equality, promotion and liberation of the female gender.
The not-for-profit organization with the preoccupation of gender equality advocacy, mentorship, leadership, training and building the right capacity for entrepreneurial and political engagement and empowerment for women at a press briefing held at MMS International Image Management Centre, Festac, Lagos on Friday to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration frowned at the insensitivity of the government to plight and welfare of women in the country over the years that have led to several forms of abuse and encroachment on women’s right.
Speaking at the interactive forum, Mrs Ify Akerele, Project Advisor, MMS WoFHoF Initiative urged women to remain steadfast in the pursuit of their dreams and career irrespective of challenges they are encountering, even as she advised them to be detribalized, give maximum respect to their husbands and prioritize their family over other ambitions.
Mrs. Akerele, who was the Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping enlightened young women that there could be temptations including sexual harassments in the course of the journey but with tact, passion, discipline, perseverance and readiness to learn, the desired results would be gotten, citing her experience in politics and maritime industry where men dominate activities but with her patience and respectfulness, she was able learn from men, work with them and even led them successfully.
“I am very passionate about pioneering things and I am very passionate about the role of women. I have always advised ladies to go for their ambition but their first ambition is their husband. The reason we are having problems with this gender equality bill is because in this country the men are very protective and are already feeling threatened and they believe that they have a role.
“You will see that it is the man that goes out to kill the lion, bring the meat back home and the wife will be at home with the children and when he is going out he would drag the wife from her hair to pull along with him. So the man still has the protective instinct and it is natural. So, we now want to usurp that instinct? It is not natural. What you have to do is to give him the respectability that he desires and must show him that you are the neck and that without you he cannot survive.
“The young shall grow and I am ready to encourage everybody, whether male or female. The maritime sector is not a child’s play. The industry was hostile to women and I didn’t know anything about it and I was given the mandate to advocate the Cabotage law that was passed, while I was working as a liaison officer between the National Assembly and the Presidency. It was a big task. So, I took about a year to two to learn and was always learning even as the Director General. Women are never afraid, we never give up.” She said.
In his address the Founder/CEO, MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke who spoke on behalf of the Board, Governing Council, Hall of Famers and Management of the MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Initiative acknowledged the importance of celebrating women whom he described as more loyal, dedicated, committed and productive when given assignments to handle.
Mr. Kingsley who decried that under President Muhammadu Buhari, women have been more shortchanged in virtually all sensitive aspects of public engagements including political offices, advocated for the 35% affirmative action in political participation and representation in public offices used as a campaign promise to get the women’s vote, noting that in the maritime sector there is an estimated 3,000 members in 40 countries of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA); amongst which women represent only a miserly 2% of seafarers.
“Under president Jonathan, they were still struggling to meet 20% but I don’t think it’s up to 1% under Buhari” he said.
The Founder condemned in strong terms the terror unleashed on women and children in the North Eastern by Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani Herdsmen especially the recent abduction of about 110 young girls in Government Technical Girls College, Dapchi, Yobe State few years after the horrible abduction that has invoked the sad and yet to be overcome episode of the kidnap of 276 girls of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State even as he urged for expedient measures to be taken for safe release of the innocent young ladies.
“IWD has been celebrated, according to records, for over a century, yet the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report shows that the gender gap is widening and that gender parity is over 200 years away.
“This explains the need and aptness of this year’s theme: #PressForProgress. This also spews some sense of emergency against the background that gender parity has become a key determinant of economic and social advancement of countries. This makes the advocacy for greater diversity, women representation and inclusion across all meaningful and sustainable activities more pressing now.
He also disclosed that as part of the features in the MMS Hall of Famers’ Day & Charity Night billed for Thursday, 22nd March, 2018 at Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos, organized to mark the IWD, MMS WoFHoF Initiative would be unveiling some “Heroines” in an inspiration-packed documentary juxtaposing the “Strong” and the” Weak” as a tool for knowledge management to advance the cause of gender equality and women empowerment in Africa and the world at large.
“Also, as a flagship brand in gender balance advocacy, MMS WoFHoF Initiative has concluded arrangement to assemble Nigerian women in Abuja, for a two-day gender strategic conference which seeks to draw women from the six geo-political zones of the country to make a resounding statement on the fate of women in corporate and political participation and representation in Nigeria. The Conference with the theme, “Women: Managing the Present and Future of Corporate and Political Nigeria” is billed for October, Wednesday, 24th and Thursday, 25th 2018.
“We must observe that it is not yet “uhuru” for the Nigerian woman on gender equality and empowerment, despite the efforts of some state governments in churning out some popular gender-friendly policies and legislation, thereby making the intervention of NGOs such as ours very inevitable to bridge the gap”, he said
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