The wife of Enugu State Governor, Mrs. Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi has urged women to set up for a campaign that would bring together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and nationality to drive actions that will create a gender equal world.
Mrs. Ugwuanyi made the call while x-raying the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow: Breaking the bias”, at a Seminar in Enugu, on Tuesday, organized by the State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development and Office of the Wife of the Governor to commemorate the annual international event.
The Enugu State governor’s wife stressed that “without gender equality today, there won’t be sustainable and gender equality tomorrow”, pointing out the need to use gender inclusive language as a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias.
“When you want to speak or write, do that in a way that will not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender, or gender identity. Once we start with that, sooner or later it will be trendy. For instance use chairman instead of chairlady, lawyer not female lawyer, the police and not policeman or policewoman.
“More so, when our daughters want to study a particular course like STEM courses, do not discourage them by saying that it’s a male course. Please allow them to study whatever course they want.
“Just like what we did on the 9th of February, U-TOLF (Ugo’s Touch of Life Foundation) in collaboration with PPSMB (Post Primary Schools Management Board) graduated some young girls that have been trained, mentored and are technology ready. We call them ‘Tech-Ready’.
“Meanwhile, parents (teachers and mothers) should begin early to work against gender bias by involving their children in the same tasks and activities. Avoid being overprotective of the girl child. Over protection of female children may not allow them to develop their full potentials or may even make them feel incapable of doing certain things in future.
“Always strive to bring women to community, national and international decision making which will give them opportunity to change the narratives and close the gaps threatening gender equality in our society.
“However, we should keep supporting girl child education, women in leadership, and equal pay, and above all support their voices and eliminate all forms of violence against them.
“We should also endeavour to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction especially women in agriculture”, she advised.
Mrs. Ugwuanyi who celebrated women for “your extraordinary contributions that span from the social, economic, cultural and political achievements towards our different families, society and country in general, appreciated in a special way all female stakeholders in Enugu State government and other organizations “for being there for us”.
The Enugu governor’s wife equally commended the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Rt. Hon. Princess Peace Nnaji and all those that made the event a reality “for all the remarkable triumphs and unmatched fearlessness”.
She told them that “despite gender inequalities across all sectors, you continue to thrive and beat the odds”, stressing: “I will continue to celebrate women because we are the reason for the sustainable tomorrow we all yearn for”.
In her opening remarks, the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Rt. Hon. Princess Nnaji applauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for being gender sensitive and appointing many women into government positions including the first female Deputy Governor of Enugu State in person of Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo who is currently serving her second term in office and the first female Chief Judge of the State who retired recently.
The Gender Affairs Commissioner went further to commend the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Ugwuanyi for her kindness and passion for the protection and wellbeing of the women, girl child and children of the state, and for being a helpmate to her husband in the onerous task of delivering good governance to the people of the state.
Other speakers at the event, including Barr. Nneka Onyia (wife of the Anglican Bishop of Nike Diocese), Dr. Chidinma Okafor (Jecin Care Foundation), Barr. Mrs. Ngozi Ikem-Okoye (Dept. of Pharmacognosy and Environmental Medicine, UNN), Prof. Mrs. Uche Odoh (Dept. of Pharmacognosy and Environmental Medicine, UNN) represented by Dr. Mrs. Modester Ezema, all dwelt on topics that would enable women actualize gender equality and manage their homes effectively.
Also present at the occasion were wife of the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Lady Princess Akunna Ubosi, the former Minister of Aviation, Amb. Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, wives of the Council Chairmen, wives of State House of Assembly members and other top government officials, the Permanent Secretary, PPSMB, Evangelist Favour Ugwuanyi, women principals of schools, market women and other women groups in the state.