In leadership or not, women by default occupy a vantage position that can be harnessed to bring about positive changes not only to the women folk but also to the society. All women are born leaders and as such we have the innate capability to uproot vices and birth virtues in our world.
The assumption that women and girls are only fit for procreation and for home keeping is an erroneous assumption that not only discriminates against women and limits their abilities but one that places a hindrance on the complementary roles of men in the society. These limitations and stereotypes have obvious consequences on society. The past two years are unique in our history as a people because of the covid-19 pandemic but notwithstanding the challenges posed by the pandemic, we can work towards making the world a better place for women.
The Covid-19 pandemic came with its attendant challenges cutting across all sectors of human endeavors. One thing that the pandemic has done is to exacerbate situations and make the vulnerable more vulnerable. Take for instance in the aspect of health, research has shown that elderly people and all those whose immune systems are weak and those with underlying health conditions constitute a high risk population and are prone to contracting the virus.
In the sector of the economy, with the total lockdown in many countries, many businesses have crashed, many people became homeless and in extreme cases, some countries ran into recession. Socially, the pandemic still continues to wreak havoc on the psychology of people, driving some people into depression and in some cases attempted suicide. Politically, the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt all over the world. Summarily, the virus has made people weaker and the exploited prone to more dangerous exploitation. In all of these, women are greatly affected, hence the need for more support and mentorship especially for women and youths.
Going by the present socio-political and economic reality of our dear country, Nigeria women and indeed women all over the country stand in a vantage position to leverage on the immense human and natural resources God has endowed them with to transform into an economic Eldorado. An average woman is resourceful, creative, enterprising, articulate, hardworking and futuristic. It is high time therefore that women rise up to the challenges of boldly taking our destiny in our hands rather than waiting to feed from the crumbs that society throws at all. We are the architect of our growth and development, let us build it.
The future of women, no doubt, is very bright, but for this to be authenticated, we must come together as a bunch of brooms to collectively sweep away underdevelopment fueled largely by poor coordination and non-cohesion from our midst. Failure to do this can make women vulnerable to external forces who might want to undermine our avowed determination for growth and development. Let us leverage on our numerical strength to cooperate with and lift up one another.
Society thinks a woman belongs in the kitchen and the bedroom, fit only to be seen and not heard, focused only on birthing and training children and I say, the time is right for us to break out of such barriers and limitations. I see women playing a very active role in politics, governance at all levels and business. Becoming oil and gas giants and very successful entrepreneurs. The prospects are bright for women/girls while the future is assured. Breaking barriers start from overhauling the mindset of women and orienting and reorienting them on the need to chase their dreams and that even though there will be challenges, the taste of victory is worth the pains.
There is the need for us to synergize with other women in the public and private sector to foster growth and development. I call on all women both at home and in the diaspora to join forces together and let unity in action hasten the dawn of a sustained rapid socio-political and economic growth and development. Wherever opportunities abound, we must refer our fellow women who are qualified and give them the support needed to succeed. We must begin to speak with one voice and insist on equal opportunities for women so that together we can achieve success.
Resist the syndrome of women pulling down women and constituting stumbling blocks on the path of their fellow women. As women, one vice that must be changed and corrected is the syndrome of women pulling down other women. We realize that most of the time, women are the architects of their own problems. When we envy, oppose and antagonize ourselves because of religious, ethnic, cultural and personal differences, we burn the bridge that will lead to the emancipation of women all over the world. We must unite to speak against any women in any leadership position that is being antagonized, intimidated and victimized. We must realize that injustice to one woman is injustice to all women.
The women of this era are making giant strides that call out gender bias and inequality. We have witnessed the unprecedented rise of women like Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Kamala Harris to mention a few. Through sheer hard work, dedication and consistency, these women of valour have broken the barriers placed upon them by culture and the society and have risen to the peak of their careers.
With or without leadership positions, women all over the world should choose to challenge the barriers that limit us from attaining our full potential. barriers such as gender discrimination, trafficking of women and girls, sexual and domestic violence against women, female genital mutilation, harmful widowhood practices, early marriage, etc. we should also break the status quo that suggests that the girl child is inferior to her male counterpart and that women and girls are only fit for the kitchen and for procreation.
Rather than get stuck by the challenges of our time, we can follow the footsteps of successful women all over the world to achieve greater heights in all aspects of human endeavor. as women, we must realize that we have all it takes to pilot the affairs of our society to enviable heights. In fact, nature has already bestowed on us all that we require to become a force to reckon with. If we fail at this divine mandate, we disappoint not just ourselves but humanity at large.
I look forward to a soiety where appointments and promotions are awarded based on competence and performance rather than sentiments. Let me reiterate the fact that women are blessed in all ramifications. Even when the circumstances of life throws lemon at us, our ability to turn it into lemonade is never in doubt. For women, the opportunities are limitless, the prospects are very bright and I say, Together we can, together we will. I thank you for your attention.