Ondo State First Lady, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has advocated for equal treatment of male and female children in all strata to forestall societal ills and inequality meted to female folks.
Mrs Akeredolu made the call at inauguration of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo Female Staff Association in Ondo West Local Government area. The inauguration’s theme was ‘Pressforprogress’.
“Gender disparity starts at an early age and In truth,, the quickest way to close the gender gap is for our girls and indeed our boys to understand that there is no difference in their ability to achieve. And that they have equal rights in the political , social, economic and political sphere,” she said.
Mrs Akeredolu said that UN reports that an estimated 15 million girls under age of 18 are married worldwide and about 62 million denied of education.
According to her, it is time to teach all children that they have equal value to their society and family and that they have vibrant and qualitative part to move the nation forward.
“Female children should no longer be cowered in the shadows and speak in hushed tones. As the theme says, we should encourage them to be bold and outspoken, to be educated and be more determined and to pressforprogress,” she advised.
The governor’s wife said that women had suffered too long and that they owed it to future generation to ensure that, “they do not experience what we have experienced,”, explaining that, “We should leave behind better world with better policies, better opportunities and more honour for females. And establish and maintain a gender parity mindset,” as she disclosed that the present administration in the state has the highest female representation in governance in the history of the state.
Mrs Akeredolu said she hoped that the event would galvanized the interest of the college to become truly enablers in empowering women to bridge the gap.
Dr. Martina Onuegbu, the Director, Directorate of Gender and Sustainable Development Studies (DGSDS), said that the inauguration was a brainchild of the DGSDS and the need for female staff of the college to be emancipated.
Onuegbu noted that it was for struggle and empowerment of women in combating societal inequality and inequities. She added that it was for uniting all female staff of the college irrespective of their age, religion or cadre.
The director observed that the theme for the occasion was contrively coined to be squeezed together of depicting how women should come together.
“As there is no gap between the words, it’s expected that women should not allow any gap in their progress but rather be united because when women come together, something good happens. This association is therefore a forum for female staff of the college to express their views on issues of importance and not just to socialise. The essence is to influence one another and their environment and be emancipated from patriarchal dominations and societal stereotypes,” she stated.
Onuegbu said that the association was not a struggle in competition with men but that it was based on orientation and understanding that women had to achieve greatness and that they were an asset to their society.
Prof. Olukoya Ogen, the college’s provost, said that he was happy seeing women coming together for something positive. Ogen noted that women are specially endowed to care,nurture, protect and promote development.
According to him, the association will bring good fortuen , hope, solidarity, academic and administrative excellence and human capacity development to the institution.
The provost stated that it was his desire to see the association to become a rallying point for fostering development and advancing progress in the college.
Ogen asked the association to help checkmate social ills on campus and build a better college and mentor each other to strive for success especially in various careers as academics and administrators.
“As women, I expect you to handle the students as your own and protect their interests,” he stated.
An award of Distinguished Female Gender Advocate was given to the wife of the governor.