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Women need to support women…panelists at International Women’s Day Conference
Women in civil society groups have stressed the need for women to support other women at a conference themed “Balance for Better” to commemorate the International Women’s Day held yesterday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The event was organised by the Youngstars Foundation Initiative (YDI) and Female And More (FAM), both are non-governmental organisations established to build the leadership capacity of youths, especially young females in Africa.
Katumi Abdulazeez, one of the panelists said, when I opted to vie for the position of Deputy Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, other women were asking “Where this one comot from?” Who she be? Men would say who are my to work under a woman?” She then said women need to form a bond if they must conquer.
Ifeoma Malo, CEO of CleanTech Hub, also added: “when you get to a stage in life, pull three of four other women with you.”
Speaking of women’s scanty participation in politics, Ifeoma Malo thought women were not resilient enough.
“When women don’t win for the first time in an election, they delve into something else but men stay. Women need to stay in the game. For instance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala did not get to Twitter board by tweeting and ‘instagraming’ but by staying on the game,” she said.
FAM is a self-esteem and leadership initiative of YDI that is tailored towards bolstering females’ self-esteem, promoting women equity and harnessing females’ innate leadership capabilities in order for women to reach their fullest leadership potentials in any chosen field of endeavour.
Today, at FAM conference, Lois Auta, 38, was celebrated for being the only woman with a physical challenge to participate in the House of Representatives election.
She said, “I may not have won but I have won in other aspects. There were 4,635 contestants, only 569 were women and I was the only woman with a disability, making me the first woman with a disability to contest in the House of Representatives election.”
Auta contested on the platform of the Accord party for House of Representatives, Bwari Area Council, Abuja.
Kingsley Bangwell, Executive Director of the YDI said the Female and More Project was inspired by the poor turn out of females in the programmes they had organised for young people in the past.
“We started Female and More Project in 2017 as a result of low attendance of females to our previous programmes. In a programme of about 100 participants, we record only about 15 females in attendance. We found this problematic and when we researched we found low self-esteem as a major inhibiting factor,” Bangbwell said.
Bangwell explained that “The project is meant to attack that consciousness of inferiority. Right now over 4, 534 women aged 18 and above across African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Cameroon, Sierra-leone, etc have signed up for the 30-day online module.”
Each participant is expected to read an inspiring story of great women each day of the 30 days then summarise and share their key lessons. Participants would also write and submit a personal high-end goal she would achieve within 5-10 years with support and guidance from YDI. After this, one may participate in a personal leadership development challenge by initiating activity to address any of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 5 and 8.
The conference was understandably an all-women affair except for a few men who agreed they were “He for she”.
Chinyere Opia, Stations Manager at Hot FM, said to the young women at the conference “Don’t just sit around with your phone gossiping and following celebrity news, develop yourself and exploit hosts of opportunities out there and never mistake high self-esteem with arrogance.”
Opia could be no less inspiring, a chemical engineering graduate who “learnt all aspect of radio and turned out a radio station manager.”