The State government has pledged its continuous commitment to the betterment of the lots of women by turning around their fortunes through empowerment programmes, as part of the Five point agenda of the present administration.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah made this known recently at the ELF Theatre in the main campus of the University of Uyo, during a Seminar organized as part of activities to mark the 2016 International Women’s Day celebrations, by the Centre for Gender Studies in conjunction with the conference of University of Uyo women’s organizations (CUWO).
The Information Commissioner who was the chairman of the occasion, assured women of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s commitment to the development and advancement of women in the State, emphasizing that, “as a gender friendly government, different programmes have been put in place towards the betterment of womenfolk such as the domestication of the widowhood rights law, domestication of the Child’s right law and of-course the free and compulsory education policy to ensure all children including women are educated to safeguard their future”.
Represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Akpan, the Commissioner acknowledged the inert capabilities and strength of women at different levels of governance and enterprise geared at economic development and nation building, and pledged government support to women in all sectors and spheres of endeavour. Mr. Aniekan Umanah lauded the theme of the 2016 Women’s Day celebration, “Step up Gender Parity: 50/50 by 2030,” noting that it was a clarion call for women to arise and join forces to form a formidable front to stamp their presence and abilities as co-partners in development and nation building.
He stressed the need for psychological and social re-orientation of people especially in the third world, not to see women as inferior, second fiddle, weak vessels only for menial jobs and relinquished to the background, but see them as co-partners in progress whose rights should be upheld, such as right to political advancement, suffrage and right to self-actualization.
The Director, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Uyo, Prof. Eno-Abasi Urua, who presented the address of the UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, noted that the gender equality and gender empowerment agenda enlisted in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intrinsic steps towards progress. Prof. Urua maintained that the target of the SDGs by 2030, is to ensure that all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls are eliminated and equal participation encouraged at all levels in the globe.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Enefiok Essien, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Trenchard Ibia, said the idea of gender balance and the role of women should be one that will impact positively in the society. Delivering a lecture at the occasion, the immediate past chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua (Rtd) explained that women need good education and public enlightenment, noting that it is the duty of both genders to advance the country forward with ideas and other inputs.
She therefore called on government to double efforts in providing qualitative basic education for the girl child, advising the women to brace up to the fight for parity by mentoring and supporting other women.
Others who made remarks at the event included Matron, Conference of University of Uyo Women’s Organisations (CUWO) Mrs. Rosalyn Enefiok Essien, and President of CUWO, Prof. Felicia Etim.
Highlights of the event was fundraising for the building of the Centre for Gender Studies (CGS) and award/Prizes presentation to the best women’s group in march past and exhibition. Association of Women Librarians came 1st,, University of Uyo Women’s Association took 2nd place and Association of Women Pharmacists came 3rd in the March past/exhibition.