GENDER EQUALITY COMES TO THE FORE AS FUTA WOMEN MARK IWD 2020
Female members of staff of the Federal University of Technology Akure joined the global initiative on gender balance during the commemoration of the 2020 International Women’s Day organized by the Center for Gender Issues in Science and Technology CEGIST in collaboration with FUTA Women Forum and the Organization for Women In Science for the Developing World (OSWD) on the 9th of March 2020. Key note speaker at the occasion, Retired Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ondo State, Pharm. (Mrs.) Olufunmilayo Osundolire while speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Right said there cannot be social change without generational equality and equity. She said it is only when the institutionalized gender disparities are addressed squarely and gender issues mainstreamed into all aspects of the society that there can be a balanced egalitarian society. She said gender equality begins at the home front when children of both sexes are trained to respect each other’s rights and privileges and made to share household chores indiscriminately. Also, boys and men should be encouraged to recognize and respect the positive contributions which women and girls make to the communities.
Osundolire said there is a need for all people and all nations world over to seek solutions globally to issues confronting gender equality and do away with tokenism for a peaceful coexistence of both genders. She called on the government to put in place institutional mechanism to promulgate extant laws and policies and establish relevant institutions to address gender issues while setting policy directions that can support women to play their dual roles as home keepers as well as enable them express themselves to the fullest and contribute to the development of the society.Osundulire stated that that the media on its part should be properly and adequately engaged to play a very important role in influencing the society and in challenging social norms that condone violence or discrimination against women and the girl child. She advised women to strive to build their capacities in the workplace to enable them aspire and attain higher positions. According to her true emancipation can only take place when women take leadership positions, sit at tables where decisions affecting their lives are taken and do not have to sacrifice their homes for their careers and vice versa.
In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape said this year’s theme is in line with United Nations Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality which takes the campaign to the girl child of all ages, in all nations creating awareness of the importance of making an impact instead of cowering behind ancient beliefs that the girl child should not stand up for herself. The Vice Chancellor said that it was encouraging to note that there are more females in departments usually dominated by male students and that they are performing excellently. He said the university policy also gave equal rights to females to achieve whatever goals they set their minds on and the approach has been yielding positive results as so female members of the staff and student body have brought great recognition to the university in terms of awards and laurels. He said though it could be argued that the ratio of engaged women is extremely small compared with ratio of men it is only a matter of time before the gap is bridged. “You will soon bridge the gap because you are strong, compassionate, beautiful, unique, powerful, bold and daring.” he said.
In her speech, the Associate Director, CEGIST, Professor Mrs. Sade Omoba said “our agitation is not for women liberation in a sense but a movement for the upliftment of women and girl-children in politics, in the workplace and across social strata in the quest to tailor our nation towards meaningful development. She said the aim of the celebration was to enable women and the society to see the immediate need for women to be given equal opportunities to display their natural endowments in addressing the stagnating economic growth, slow development, unstable polity, falling standards of living and weak institutions of Africa’s most populous country.
Resource persons at the event, Professor Mrs. Esther Aderibigbe and Mrs. Olufunke Fagbenro reiterated the need for women to balance their careers and home keeping. They pointed out that home management combined with being a career woman in the 21st century is now more complex. However, the career woman can make use of modern gadgets such as washing machine, dish washers, vacuum cleaners, yam pounders and the likes to make her work easy. Women were called upon not to sacrifice child training for career progression as it had catastrophic effects on the home and society at large.
There were goodwill messages from Centre for Gender Issues in Agriculture, (CEGISA), Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN), Ondo State Chapter, Association of Women For Human Development (Women- Led NGOS), and Sow Purpose Initiative.