Think like men, prepare for leadership positions, C'River Commissioner advises women

Mrs. Stella Odey, Cross River  State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development

Cross River Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Stella Odey, has advised women in the country to continue to think as being equal with their male counterparts.

Odey gave the advice at a one-day stakeholders meeting on the 2019 International Women’s Day organized by Health Initiative for Safety and Stability in Africa Local OVC Partners in Nigeria, Region 3 (HIFASS-LOPIN 3), in collaboration with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held at Marian Hotel, Calabar.

She also urged the women to do more and always adequately prepare themselves educationally for any position they aspire to attain in the society.

“Charge you all to women to get prepared and take the bold initiative to get to where you aspire to be in the life,” the Commissioner said.

Odey explained that women were not trying to usurp the position of men in the society, but only seeking for the men to allow them space to operate like them.

She said: “Women will continue to push for progress, push for innovation and push for parity.”

The Commissioner commended HIFASS-LOPIN 3 for organizing the event and charged the participants to endeavour to network after the event.

In his remarks, the Deputy Chief of Party, HIFASS-LOPIN 3, Calabar, Dr. Usman Alrashid, said the International Women’s Day celebration was aimed at creating awareness on issues affecting women in the world.

Dr. Alrashid noted that the day was to help change the narrative about women issues as well as help them to understand where they are coming from and where they are going to.

“It is a golden opportunity to address issues concerning women,” he stated and called on the women to participate more in governance.

Also speaking, the Head of Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Cross River Sub Office, Mr. Keneth Ehouzou, reiterated the commitment of UNFPA towards improving the lives of women in the state.

Mr. Ehouzou said the event was to enhance conversation with women by women to enable UNFPA identify the areas of intervention in the state.

He said more conversation to achieve gender balance as expected by Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.

On his part, the Chairman, Child Protection Network (CPN), Barr James Ibor, explained that statistics have shown that one in every ten women suffers one form of violence or the other, while 60 percent of the cases were perpetrated by their close relatives.

Barr. Ibor stated that, “the Nigerian society is very patriarchal; there is always that gender inequality in almost everything,” adding that, “if we are not ready to radically change this position, we are wasting our time here.”

In a presentation on Gender Based Violence (GBV), the Gender Analyst, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Jacque Karungi said violence against women and girls is one of the prevalent human rights abuse in the world.

Kurungi described GBV as any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and based on society ascribed differences between men and women.

“It is experienced by both men and women, but women are the majority of the survivors,” she said.

According to her, statistics from the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), shows that Cross River State has the highest physical, social and sexual violence in the south south region of Nigeria.

The Gender Analyst said the UNFPA in partnership with the State Ministry of Women Affairs established GBV Prevention Centre in the state in December 2018 to provide needed services to GBV survivors.

In a HIFASS-LOPIN 3 presentation, the Gender and HIV Advisor, HIFASS, Mary Umohs said HIFASS seek to improve the livelihood and health women of vulnerable households in the state by training the women on financial literacy and paying for the treatment of their sick children, among others.

Umoh explained that about 112 girls, who were trained on different skills, were provided with start-up funds to establish their businesses.

“Over 80 percent of them through constant monitoring have been able to better their livelihood,” she stated.
The event which had as its theme: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” feature goodwill messages from stakeholders and an interactive session on how to achieve balance for better.
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