Professor Kehinde Taiwo of the Department of Food and Science Technology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, has canvassed the establishment of gender equity in all spheres of life saying it will ensure that women are treated equally and fairly as their male counterparts. She made the declaration at a seminar organized by the Centre for Gender Issues in Science and Technology (CEGIST) Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA)) as part of activities marking the 2019 International Women’s Day,IWD. Speaking on the IWD 2019 theme: “Balance for Better”, Professor Taiwo said to ensure fairness to the female gender, strategies and measures must be available in the workplace to compensate for women’s social disadvantages thus providing a level playing field for both genders to operate. She noted that women have come a long away with female representation in all walks of life, attributing increase in women participation in governance to deliberate policies and measures adopted by some governments.
Professor Taiwo pointed out that due to technology more jobs require little physical strength and as a result, women’s roles have expanded to the point where a majority of women are active players in the labour market. The speaker however decried the fact that women are still worlds away from equity as while there are equal numbers of men and women at the bottom of various organizations, there are fewer women up the ladder. Making a case for gender equity, she said where gender inequality exists, it is generally women who are excluded and disadvantaged in relation to decision making and access to economic and social resources. Taiwo observed that the idea that men and women are equal is much more accepted than ever has been in the past and urged men and women to work together and build equal partnerships.
Another speaker at the event, Mrs. Omolola Osunmakinwa of the FUTA Health Centre stressed the need for women to pay attention to their mental and physical health as there is a relationship between a woman’s career and her health. She said when a woman’s health is unstable it affects her work negatively. She
described health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing not merely absence of disease adding that due to the prevalence of breast cancer, it has become imperative for women to have regular check-ups to increase their chances of survival in the event of its occurrence.
Earlier, the Director, CEGIST, Prof. Mrs. Tinu Adebolu said, hitherto male dominated professions have been led in recent times by female presidents. This feat according to her attests to the resilience, determination and unyielding spirt of women. She said while institutions of higher learning were once dominated by men, women are earning more of the world’s degrees, distinguishing themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The Director however decried the fact that in spite of this welcome development, women are still underrepresented in various fields of endeavor while violence against women is still rampant. She therefore called for increase in number of women in decision bodies, politics and other male dominated careers so that the female can also contribute her quota.
In his remarks the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape said IWD is a celebration of the sacrifice and achievements of the womenfolk over the years in politics, business and academics. He said the theme is apt as it strives to pursue gender balance in order to attain an expected equilibrium in the society. Fuwape said women should come together and find practical ways to bridge the gap to ensure that they play more active roles in the society.
There were goodwill messages from the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Akure chapter represented by the President, Engr. Bukola Mogaji and the FUTA women’s Forum.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of plaques to honour past CEGIST Directors- Professor Mrs. Olusola Olujimi, Late Dr. Mrs. Mojisola Edema who was represented by her daughter Miss Seye Edema, Professor Mrs. Helen Ogunsuyi and Professor Mrs. Mary Olaleye