By David Agabi
Twenty five years after the United Nations fourth World Conference on Women, otherwise known as Beijing Conference or Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; women, rights activists, groups and development partners gathered in Abuja to celebrate and evaluate the milestone achievements, challenges and indeed fashion out a way forward.
The event which was held at the Mariam Babangida Women Development centre, Central Business District, Abuja preparatory to the marking of the 2020 International Women’s Day slated for March 8th, was sponsored by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen.
With this year’s theme: I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights, the event had in attendance the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehenire, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Oluranti Adebule, Emir of Kano (rep), UN representative in Nigeria, First Lady of Kwara state, Olufolake Abdulrazak, development partners, women in the military, Association of Women in Trade and and Agriculture(AWITA)among others.
Speaking with AFRICA TODAY on the imperative of the event, the President of the Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA) Mrs. Ruth Agbo calls for a synergy between women organisations and government to fashion out a new way of thinking and acting as well as cooperation and collaboration.
The President while noting that women are not out to take the place of men, posited that men need to compliment the effort of women for growth and development of both the family and the nation.
According to her “a woman cannot achieve greatness all by herself, all we need to do is to create a synergy and come together in one voice, one determination and one courage and begin to say it as it is, because we believe that if women being fifty percent (50%) of Nigerian population, it means we can also contribute our best if given the opportunity. We are not saying the men should step down, but we are saying drag us along and let us run concurrently with you so that that which you have been achieving will be achieve better and more”
Raising hope of a better Nigeria, Mrs Agbo said although the country has not achieved to its expectations, adding that “it is a process that women will continue to talk and advocates for greater changes so that women’s position be made important in the economy, politics and everything social about Nigeria” she stressed.
Meanwhile the First Lady of Kwara State, Mrs Olufolake Abdulrazak calls on youths irrespective of class to embrace skill acquisition in order to escape poverty and crimes in the society.
“For women and young girls to escape poverty, they must acquire competent skills that will help them contribute meaningfully to themselves and the society”
In the area of gender balance, Olufolake said Kwara state has done creditably well in that regard in view of the current appointments into political offices, hence calling on other States to emulate the good gesture exhibited by Kwara.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen call on women to stand up for their rights anywhere, anytime.
She also encourage them to venture into fields that are dominated by men particularly in politics, defence, engineering and security to prove their competence and relevance in the society.
The Plateau state-born politician while urging the women to work towards actualising 50% equality before 2020, also advised them not to be confrontational but to improve themselves in the area of skills, competence, experience and hard work in order to compete favorably in the patriarchal society.