Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday charged stakeholders and government at all levels not to relent in their push against gender inequality in the country.
Sanwo gave the charge during Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Connects With Women, organised by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Victoria Island.
The connect programme had the theme: “Women in the Evolving World, Challenges and Opportunities”.
The governor referred to gender inequality as the differences in access, between boys and men on the one hand, and girls and women on the other hand, to such things as education, healthcare, financial services, employment opportunities, political leadership, among other things.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, he said that gender inequality within the general society remained a challenge.
”We must close the gaps. Women are entitled to and deserving of equal access to these as men. There is no doubt about that.
”The current scenario in which women are disproportionately represented in the informal sector, and largely absent in the corridors of power in the public and private sectors, is not acceptable.
”Women constitute roughly half of Nigeria’s population, but when it comes to being represented in the boardrooms, legislatures, government cabinets and other places of influence, the story is sadly a very different one,” the governor said.
According to him, a society that does not take women seriously is not ready for positive development.
”Women constitute half of the population of Nigeria and experts have also seen a direct link that when you close the gender gap this will impact economy growth.
”A few years ago, the International Monetery Fund (IMF) stated that if Nigeria reduces its relatively high gender inequality, it can translate to economy growth.
”Our world is changing in many ways and we are witnessing how women are pushing back against some of the norms that promote gender inequality in our society.
”We must be relentless in our push to fight gender inequality and also know that women are also entitle and deserve equal access in our society,” he said.
The governor called on those who occupied positions of power to build new system that would promote equality in all sphere of the society.
On the fight against sexual and domestic violence, Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos had always been in the forefront of tackle the menace.
”In terms of response and fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV), Lagos has always been in the forefront because of our zero tolerance for such evil act against women and girls.
”We are a model that other states are now emulating and we will continue to champion the fight to bring it to the nearest minimum,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu commended the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for aligning with the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of the government, through its various initiatives targeted at lifting vulnerable and indigent women in the state.
In her address, Mrs Cecilia Bolaji Dada, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, said that through Gov. Sanwo-olu, Lagos State had achieved a female participation in key leadership positions, with a view of building a greater Lagos.
Dada said that the theme of the programme was apt, especially considering the roles that women played in the socio-economic development of the society.
She said that while Western societies had seen women actively achieve gender equality, other less developed countries saw women fighting for their basic rights.
According to her, women have in times past, complied with stereotypical roles given to them, but, quite recently many of them have begun to break free from these imposing roles.
”Quite noteworthy that the emerging norms on women’s roles are gradually evolving across social, environmental, cultural and economic platforms.
”Access to education has opened our women’s eyes to the realisation that, they deserve to follow their dreams without having to face gender inequality,” she said.
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