Sanwo-Olu said this on Tuesday at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, at the celebration of the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD), organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA).
The theme of the 2022 celebration is ”Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow, #Break the Bias,”.
He said that such value and potentials had made women to add their invaluable contributions to the success of his administration, and the sustained prosperity and development of the state.
According to him, the 2020 theme highlights the sad reality of gender-based discrimination, which has long been a major barrier to acknowledge development.
”It is a call to action and the stepping up of advocacy aimed at raising the awareness to what the society stands to gain, if equal opportunities are provided for both the female and male genders to pursue their dreams and attain their potentials.
”Available statistics and indices of development have shown that societies where women are active partners and participants in development are more likely to attain higher level of prosperity, growth and progress.
”Such societies have shown that, like a bird, which requires the two wings to fly and soar, the desired levels of growth and development can only be achieved when the potentials of the two genders are optimally harnessed.
”In Lagos state, our commitment to this yearly celebration reflects our belief in the critical role our women must play and are playing side by side with the men,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that as a deliberate decision, the Lagos state government had one of the highest numbers of women in any state cabinet in the country.
He said that in the last 34 months, the government had remained faithful to its promise to improve the socio-economic status of women.
The governor said that expanding the representation of women in his government was just the foundation of to empowering women, as it was building various programmes and policies which were being faithfully implemented.
He said the state government’s Micro-Enterprise Support Scheme had directly impacted 5,000 women.
According to him, a significant number of women have received and continues to receive support from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), through its gender specific initiatives, targeted at enhancing the growth and earning capacity of women entrepreneurs across the state.
”We are focused on getting more money into the hands of women.
”Apart from the issues of capacity-building, business support and empowerment, our administration has remained undaunted and relentless in addressing the issues of abuse and gender-based violence, through the efforts of institutions and government agencies specially created for that purpose.
”Let me use this opportunity to assure our women that we will continue to stand with you and work for you to ensure gender parity and fair representation at all levels of government. Together we will break the bias for a sustainable tomorrow,” he said.
In her welcome address, Mrs Cecilia Dada, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation commended Sanwo-Olu for being passionate about the plight of women in the state.
Dada said there was need for women to breach the frontiers of silence and inaction, by challenging every stereotype in the way of gender parity and inclusion.
She said there was clarion call for gender-equality in all decision making policies, identifying factors as equal pay and equal distribution of resources, even as emphasis was being placed against all forms of idleness amongst active women within the society.
”It is only a woman who is self-reliant that can break the bias and destroy the barriers.
”I encourage women in Lagos state, Nigeria and all over the world, as we celebrate the International Women’s day, to avail themselves of various opportunities to become empowered, self-reliant, self-confident, even as we strive to attain leadership positions across the world,” Dada said.