International Women’s Day: JDPC, Stakeholders call for improved women participation in governance


By Chukwudi Ndubeze

As part of events commemorating 2021 International Women’s Day, Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID) programme partners in Anambra State, led by Justice Development and Peace Caritas, Onitsha have called for increased women participation in governance.

Odogwublog. com reports that ECID programme which is supported by Christian Aid and funded by the government of United Kingdom (UK Aid) made the call in Awka in an event with theme, “Exploring Empowerment Opportunities for Participation in Governance and Challenge Gender Barrier,” encouraging women in the society to raise their voice and stand for gender equality in the society.

Resource persons during panel discussion

Addressing the participants, Executive Director, Hope Givers Initiative, HOG -I, Mrs Onyeka Okey-Udegbunam said that the programs was a celebration of the political, social and cultural achievements of women who she said are the unsung heroes in the society..

“The day calls for creating awareness in the fight against gender inequality prevalent in the society. Celebrating women and innovations. Educating women on health choice and fund women empowerment to increase women participation in governance.”

She disclosed that the event tagged, ‘she choose to challenge’ is important’ because “a challenged world is world that is alert” stressing that women must challenge the factors militating their economic and political will as well as those systems that impede their decision making.

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Odogwublog. com reports that the traditional ruler of Omasi Kingdom, HRH Igwe B. O. Okeji opined that women are pillars of homes and the society maintaining that appreciation and respect should be accorded to them.

Cross section of participants

While Igwe Okeji said that empowerment is key for woman emancipation, he advised them to first exhibit love among themselves and to learn to live together in peace and harmony.

Speaking during a panel discussion, Executive Director Women Action Committee , Prof Mercy Anigbogu said time is right for women to change the narrative and take their position in the society.

She stressed that internal hatred, jealousy and ‘pull her down syndrome’ has continued to hamper women’s chances of participation in leadership and decision making in the society.

JDPC programme Manager, Alphonsus C. Nwoye

Contributing, Hon Mrs Ethel Atuokwu from Idikacho Women in Governance, I- WIG, said that women must eschew idleness and be bold to stand their ground in their decisions. She said time is right for women to decide on what matters to them urging them to shun pride, poor attitude and resentment towards another.

Additionally, Director Civil Rights Concern (CRC), Okey Onyeka noted that women are always at the receiving end of difficulties of bad governance. He urged them to participate actively in the election of leaders amidst governorship election which draws closer in the State.

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Another cross Section of Participants reports that Onyeka who was represented by Ify Unachukwu stated that Women must be wise and avoid being used in the forthcoming election. He reminded that women constitute more voting power than men thanks to their superior population stating that such should be utilized effectively and efficiently in the election of leaders.

Also, Senior Programme Coordinator, Christian Aid, Mrs Uzoma Uzor charged women to rise against obstacles that brings a woman’s dream down. She said women must fight for their place in the leadership position to improve the few existing number that are present in the parliament as there should be equal job opportunities for the women folks.

Executive Director, Hope Givers Initiative, HOG -I, Mrs Onyeka Okey-Udegbunam addressing participants

Hon Speaker Children Parliament, Faustina-Mary Okoye while speaking for adolescents decried the absence of friendliness between mother and girl child. She urged parents to stop discouraging their female children in taking critical decisions that will form their future adding that parents must learn to nurture teenager’s mental intelligence through proper mentoring .

While stating that the programme was designed to celebrate women in the society, JDPC programme Manager, Alphonsus C. Nwoye urged participants who have benefited from the workshop to replicate what they learnt as well as spread the message to their various communities.

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Meanwhile, the Anambra state Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue urged the women to keep interrogating systems and structures that are inhibiting women from participating actively in the decisions that affects them or that prevents them from attaining leadership aspirations.

Mr Onyeka Ebenebe

Umezue who was represented at the event by Mr Onyeka Ebenebe reiterated that Anambra state government has continued to organize seminars and leadership trainings for women from different strata of leadership both community, local government and beyond adding that the government has trained women through various skill acquisition programs cut across the state to reduce idleness among women.

In her goodwill message, Senator representing Anambra Central senatorial zone, Mrs Uche Ekwunife  advised women to take prayer serious stressing that any woman that wants progress must be prayerful and must believe in their capacity to succeed.

While she said that the world is very competitive and women must stand firm to compete with men in the society, She advised women to pray fervently and work hard stating that only the two can work together for success.

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