Sanwo-Olu calls for more push against gender inequality



Sanwo-Olu calls for more push against gender inequality

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has 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, organized by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Victoria Island on Tuesday.

The connect program 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 economic growth.

”A few years ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that if Nigeria reduces its relatively high gender inequality, it can translate to economic 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 entitled and deserve equal access in our society,” he said.

The governor called on those who occupied positions of power to build a new system that would promote equality in all spheres of 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 female participation in key leadership positions, with a view of building a greater Lagos.

Dada said that the theme of the program was apt, especially considering the roles that women played in the socio-economic development of 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 realization that they deserve to follow their dreams without having to face gender inequality,” she said.

Also, the guest speaker at the event, Mrs. Bola Adesola, Chairman of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) called for a viable platform to ensure women’s participation in all sectors of the country.

Adesola identified workplace/profession, politics, and public service, as well as business/entrepreneurial as three things that are pertinent to women, adding that it could impact society.

She said: “the role of women in the workplace has changed drastically in the last few decades for the better because many women now holding positions across many professions.

“Despite this progress, we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in the workplace where gender best practices, especially in the private sector, can be addressed and close the gap we see in any organisation”.
According to her, the exclusion of women in politics has been identifying as one of the setbacks for economic development.

“Policy affecting women will not be addressed because of the absence of women in decision making that affect them.
“Out of the over 400 members of the National Assembly only 19 are women, so women must be on the table where decisions are taken.

“More women need to come out and vie for the political post to influence decision making that could close gender gaps.

Adesola, also the Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank in Mauritius noted that family structured has evolved, saying that women now contribute to the upkeep of the family.

She, however, noted that some cultural, religious, and societal norms hinder women to attain their business or entrepreneurial goals.

The guest speaker commended the Lagos State governor for being an advocate for women’s participation in governance.

“Lagos is one of the few states in the country where over 30 percent of its cabinet are made up of women which is highly commendable but there is always room for improvement,” she said.

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Omotola Ajayi

Omotola Ajayi: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ Disclaimer.

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