Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has identified strong political will, and empowerment of women as panaceas to leapfrog the challenges confronting womanhood.
She stated this in Ado-Ekiti at the 4th Ekiti Gender Summit wth the theme, “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Post Beijing: Political Will and Impact”, organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the Forum of Spouse of Ekiti State Officials, FOSESO, and Forum of Women in Leadership, FOWIL.
According to Mrs. Akeredolu, to achieve a sustainable development in the society, the roles of women must not be undermined and a collective effort to combat feminized poverty is necessary.
She said, “Women just like men can contribute immensely to the socioeconomic and political development of Nigeria and must be included in elective roles”.
Mrs. Akeredolu, while enumerating some of the initiatives she put up to promote the course of women in Ondo State, like BEMORE and FOWOSO, assured of her commitment to ensure the sustainability of the programmes.
She stated that though the Beijing Declaration had brought about positive impacts on gender equality globally, women in most African countries, Nigeria inclusive, were subjugated and suffered from the age long patriarchy.
She, however, commended Ekiti State for sustaining the summit, describing it as a deliberate and committed action to the issues of women.
The host governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi posited that equal participation of women in decision making and community development was vital for promoting gender equality.
He noted that the responsibility of narrowing gender gap was everyone’s participation, noting that the theme of the summit was in tune with the programme designed for sustainable development in Ekiti State.
Governor Fayemi highlighted some of the measures put in place by his administration to promote gender equality, which included appointments of reasonable number of women into political and elective offices, domestication of gender quality law, and approval of six months maternity leave for women.
Earlier in her address, the wife of Ekiti State Governor and convener of the summit, Erelu Bisi Fayemi had explained that the event served as an information, sensitisation and networking platform for people who were interested in promoting gender equality.
She noted that the Summit which commenced in 2010 during the first tenure of Dr. Kayode Fayemi had recorded a lot of achievements in terms of gender equality and women empowerment.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Olabisi Aina said the fight for gender equality was not an anti-male agenda, noting that it was a duty of all to protect the rights of women in the society.
The event witnessed presentation of awards to Dr. Fayemi and his wife, Bisi, by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF for their efforts at promoting gender equality in the state.