It is widely known that knowledge is as wide as the ocean. The Gender and Elections workshop held in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria from 11-15 March, 2013, proved to be so.There are many things we thought we knew. But the workshop has taught us better. We came to the reality of the situation, as practical as it affects us, even as individuals.
Many factors that militate against active women participation in politics and leadership, were treated with levity. This workshop has clearly showed how gender mainstreaming has been an issue for ages with little practical show of concern as to how to address it in our country. There is nothing that pains much than being a major stakeholder in a process only to be dumped or ripped off of the proceeds.
Women, without any doubt, are major and active contributors to national development, but still languish in poverty and deprivation. Placed on the periphery of active politics and leadership in every sphere, I want to call on all Nigerians to hearken to their call for inclusion to rope them in and work together as one. Josteen Gaarder, aptly speaks to Nigerians in leadership to hearken, when he says,
“A state that does not educate and train women is like a man who only trains his right arm”.
The predicament of women in their efforts to succeed in life and make meaningful contributions are being denied. Factors identified at the workshop as being responsible should be seriously checkmated.
Democracy, as practiced everywhere globally should be of international standard, devoid of cultural, religious or other militating factors. Throughout the week-long training, it was clear that women need help, through pragmatic advocacy if the situation must be changed. A workshop like this is therefore a welcomed development. More target groups are therefore needed in the struggle to accord women what is due to them, especially considering their population in Nigeria. Their pathetic condition must be changed for the better.
It was a wonderful experience, I wish to carry on and contribute my quota to changing the norm in communities and societies.
Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, HQ