Invest in girl-child education, encourage women participation in economic activities ― Betty Akeredolu

Wife of the Ondo State governor,  Mrs Betty Akeredolu, on Wednesday, advocated for increased investment in girl-child education while women participation in economic activities should be encouraged.

Mrs Akeredolu who stated this in Akure, Ondo state capital, during the 2nd summit of the Forum for Wives of Ondo State Official (FOWOSO) said that women should not be restricted to the kitchen, noting that nation that has risen to become world economic giants invested significantly in females without any bias.

She said “we should not expect any form of development if women who make up more than half of the entire population are restricted to kitchen duties and child-rearing only and are then expected to, like serfs, totally depend on their husbands for every need. It is simple economics, a high dependency ratio automatically results in a stalled a development

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“Let me make it emphatically clear today, it is to no one’s benefit to suppress the abilities of women by denying them quality education, marrying them off against their will and silencing their mouth when they want to speak.

“The statistics are clear, nations that have risen to become world economic giants today, are nations that invested significantly in their human resources, females and males alike, without bias.

“Our greatest error as a nation has been and continues to be; denying the womenfolk equal right to socio-economic privileges by upholding cultural norms and traditions that discriminate against them”

Speaking on the theme of the summit “Prioritising Women’s Health and Well Being in Nigeria” Mrs Akeredolu stressed the need to give priority to women’s health especially pregnant women and nursing mothers.

According to her, no fewer than 102 women die during childbirth while two out of 12 children’s dream to celebrate their fifth birthday are never realised.

“These challenges are largely a result of high level discriminatory cultural norms and practices against women leading to their inability to make health-promoting decisions in the household.

“Countless women have lost their lives to various kind of diseases, breast cancer inclusive because they can’t seek health care if their husbands do not give them a go-ahead. This is totally unacceptable and has to change”

Enumerating the success of FOWOSO in the last two years, Mrs Akeredolu said thousands of women have trained and they can now support their homes financially

She said “we are proud of the thousands of women that can now boldly speak for social justice; we are truly proud of the thousands of women that have been empowered by FOWOSO

“We are proud of how far we have gone, we are however aware that the journey to gender inclusiveness in all aspect of the socio-economic spectrum is still miles ahead.

“We know this and we are not going to relent; we will not faint until we see women everywhere being treated with as much respect as their male counterparts

“Our motivation is not because we ourselves are women but because we seek a society where continuous development is achieved and sustained. We must come to the understanding that everyone, regardless of gender, is needed for sustainable development”

She said further “It will interest you to know that the implementation template can be divided into the skill acquisition, empowerment and medical intervention.

“Through the skill acquisition, we have been able to train at least 1800 women (an average of 100 women per LGA) on ready-to-use skills with high economic value such as shoe-making, fashion design, make-up, soap making, bags and bead making, catering and confectionaries and many more.

“We did not stop there; all graduates from the FOWOSO skill acquisition class received start-up kits which enabled them to immediately begin to earn money from their newly acquired skills”

“Some of the empowerment items included sewing machines, grinding machines, hairdryers and laptops; not less than 1000 items have been distributed to women and youth across the State between January and December 2018 courtesy of FOWOSO”

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, assured that his administration will continue to support women folks especially in the area of health care

He said the state government will continue to give free healthcare to every child under five years.

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