By Felix Alade
The Rector, Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Engr. Obafemi Omokungbe has assured women that their critical roles in attaining significant development in Africa are highly recognized and cannot be underestimated.
Speaking at the 1st International Hybrid Conference organized by Women In Technical Education and Employment (WITED), Yabatech Chapter titled: Gender And Sustainable Development Goals In Africa: Challenges and Progress. Omokungbe who was ably represented by the Deputy Rector Administration, Dr. Titilayo Ukabam noted that sustainable development cannot be achieved in Africa if half of the continent population is excluded from the development process; hence, promoting women’s effective participation in the management of Africa’s resources will contribute to tackling the resource course towards an equitable transformative and sustainable development.
He disclosed that in Yabatech both in the academic and non-academic sections, women occupied enviable positions such as Deputy Rector, Deputy Registrars, Dean of Schools, Directors of Unit, Heads of Department etc. These are purposeful ways of promoting women effective participation in the management of the College. Thereby portraying Yabatech as unbiased and highly gender sensitive institution.
“Yabatech Management recognizes women’s crucial role in achieving sustainable development in Africa, took greater action to protect women’s right by launching YCT Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence (SHGBV) policy on the 24th November 2020 and has constantly unleashed women’s potentials through the appointment.” He said.
The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu who was represented by Mrs. Abosede Ogundimu disclosed in her goodwill message that the Conference was designed to advance the cause of womenfolk, especially those in technical education, also seeks to improve the participation of the girl-child in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the ideals of this body are not only beneficial but also worth supporting in view of the fact that they are rightly focused on how to engender sustainable entrepreneurial development among women through the thematic areas including research, advocacy, policy reform initiatives, as well as follow-up on implementations and feedback.
“Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the role of women in nation-building cannot be relegated. Aside from the fact that women are the strong pillar in the home front; women are also making a serious impact and leading the way in running businesses. It is on this premise that I commend WITED and Employment Nigerian Women Business Network for their passion and commitment to protecting the interest of women in this sector, especially towards ensuring their career growth.” She concluded.
The Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, who was excited to be invited to the Conference, stated that Lagos State has been breaking major barriers especially in areas of allowing women and young girls to fulfil their aspirations and those living with disabilities.
Jaji revealed that in order to ensure equal opportunity in leadership at different levels, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu while constituting his Executive Council appointed 12 women, the state also has 22 women as Permanent Secretaries, this is apart from those heading different agencies and departments.
“Here is wishing you fruitful deliberations at this maiden conference and I am optimistic that the resolutions that would proceed from the programme will help in addressing many obstacles women face in Africa and other nations of the world, knowing that the population of women is more and we are still underrepresented.” She declared.
The lead paper presenter, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello spoke extensively on the need for women brace up in order to catch up with their male counterpart in leadership positions. Presently no woman in governorship position in Nigeria, out of 109 Senators in Nigeria only 11 of them are female, likewise, we have only 14 female among 360 Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria, women should no longer be relegated to the background because what a man can do, a woman can do better.