The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu said roles of women in the development of any society could not be underrated as they contribute immensely to the national development.
To this end, Akeredolu stressed that women must be empowered in order to be fully involved in leadership positions and areas of national development,
He spoke at the third anniversary of the summit of the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials, held at the International Culture and Events Centre, Akure, the state capital. The summit was themed ‘Turning around the economic status of women in a Covid-19 era’.
According to the governor, there was a need to create a legislative backing for the FOWOSO, saying it was important to make progress by creating an institutional framework around the core values of the forum and adopting policy from the forum’s efforts.
He said, “For us in Ondo State today, the key point about gender equality is not about political correctness and fulfilling international obligations such as the Beijing agreement or the SDGs. Our focus going forward is how we create the synergy between the Ministry of Women Affairs, FOWOSO and non-government organisations focused on women issues, to make progress. Our agenda is how we make progress by creating an institutional framework around the core values of FOWOSO, adopting policy from these efforts and creating legislative backing for them, for lasting and sustainable impact.
“Given the disadvantages long experienced by female gender and the woman as a co-provider, it is clear that there can be no equality without empowerment. As the number one core value of FOWOSO, I applaud the empowerment and mobilisation of our women from the grassroots. It is my belief that any effort leading to a transformation of the rural economy must be triggered with women empowerment as the engine room.
“Women and girls are contributors to rural labor, and indispensable players in rural economy value and supply chain. To improve household incomes, the skills of women must be upgraded in addition to access to credit. I commend the first lady for her efforts in skill acquisition drive and supply of equipment to women in trade vocations.
Similarly, the Lagos State counterpart, Mr Babajide Sanwolu charged women to participate actively in politics in order to turn around the status of women in the society.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who was the chairman of the event, urged the forum to encourage more women to come into their fold so as to bring the desired change.
“Over the years, Ondo State women have benefited from various programmes like BEMORE, FOWOSO, SOLAYO, BRECAN and lots more, in which over 4,500 girls have been trained by BEMORE and since 2018 FOWOSO has trained and empowered 3,500 Ondo women in various skills and also supported their businesses with access to credit facilities, equipment and capacity development trainings,” he lauded .
In her remarks, the wife of the Ondo State governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu stated that women’s involvement was the panacea to achieving food security, ending malnutrition and ensuring social security in Nigeria, while calling for gender inclusiveness in all aspects of the socio-economic strata saying that the spectrum was still miles ahead.
She said, “FOWOSO was never meant to be a gathering for jamboree and stomach infrastructure. FOWOSO was birthed to elevate the status of women in Ondo state and beyond.
“For many decades and even centuries, women have continued to be relegated to the background and treated unfairly but today, the world is recognising the enormous role of women in the society.
“Both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities in all areas and levels of political processes, according to international standards. Women account for more than half of the world’s population and play an important role in societal progress. Mother, producer, house manager, community organiser, sociocultural and political activists are all responsibilities that women play in most countries.”