Nigeria paying lip service to women’s cause — Kema Chikwe

Former Minister of Aviation Dr Kema Chikwe, on Sunday urged Nigerian women to pressurise the National Assembly into passing the Gender Equality Bill into law.

The former minister said that doing so would go a long way towards the liberation of women.

Chikwe, also a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, was speaking at a symposium organised by The Women International’s (TWI) Circle Forum in Lagos.

The theme of the symposium was, “What Do Women in Nigeria Lack?”.

She said:“The solution to upgrading the status of women in Nigeria is the passage of the bill.

“Political and non-political women actors must rise up to ensure the bill is passed.

“Women are docile. Women have to be strong for us to have a better society.

“It is not easy; we need individual courage and power to work together to ensure passage of the bill in the National Assembly.

“Women need to reinforce themselves by organising more conferences in the struggle to liberate Nigerian women.

“There’s so much lip service about women in Nigerian politics,” Chikwe, the National Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said.

Chikwe further urged women to participate in activities aimed at ensuring national development.

She advised women to unite in a bid to end gender disparity.

According to her, in spite of the advocacy and sensitisation efforts, African women still face a lot of challenges.

She said that Nigerian women were still lacking education, good healthcare, love, courage, self-esteem, freedom, individual initiative, and power, among others.

She added that women in Nigeria lacked equal opportunities with their male counterparts.

In her opening remarks, Ms Chinny Okoye, the Founder, TWI, said, “The time is now to take control of our lives and fight for our rights; we must ensure our voices are heard.

“The women international is a self-improvement and personal development platform for women, focused on promoting the importance of reaching your full potential both in your personal and professional lives.

“Now, more than ever, women are beginning to understand the importance of speaking out, to ensure that their voices are heard. Women face a lot of challenges on a day-to- day basis. We carry so much on our shoulders. We go through so much in our work places and at home as well.

“We struggle with so many issues; and being a Nigerian woman living in Nigeria does not help as our society, traditions and cultures have not equipped us to ensure that we move forward. Enough is enough. Enough of sitting by the sidelines.”

According to her, it may be a man’s world, but women are stronger than they give themselves credit for.

Also speaking, Peace Hyde, a British Ghanaian, said that women had the potentialities to be great people.

She, therefore, urged women to always showcase their abilities and not their challenges.

The forum is a platform where women converge to discuss issues of gender importance and development. (NAN)

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