The Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on Thursday, bemoaned the increasing number of out of school children in the country.
The Ekiti State first Lady said available statistics indicated that the girl child accounted for over six million out of the 10.5 million that lack access to formal education in the country. She outlined this as one of the major impediments to the progress and leadership of Nigerian Women.
Stressing that presently, women representation at the National Assembly and other levels of government is almost non-existential, she, however, predicted that with the gradual conscious efforts being made to sensitize women, there would be better representation in future elections.
Erelu Fayemi stated this on Thursday while delivering the 5th Distinguished lecture of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, titled: ‘Clapping With One Hand: Female Education, Leadership and the Quest for National Development’.
In her lecture, the First Lady noted that the atrocities committed by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram have had a devastating effect on millions of citizens, particularly women and children. This, according to her has disrupted the education of many children, with a dire implication on their future and in turn the future of the country.
She added that despite their successes and achievements, millions of women and girls still suffer from the feminization of poverty, lack of access to basic resources, diseases, violent conflict and the complex use of culture, religion and tradition to render the female gender voiceless in the society.
According to Erelu Fayemi, “the gains of women are often eroded when faced with a combination of the following obstacles: Patriarchal Power and Privilege; violent conflict and displacement; lack of political will; religious and cultural conservatism; and ideological differences.
” Inaccessible political machinery and godfather’s syndrome; lack of financial investment required for political office; violence and intimidation; Cultural and attitudinal barriers are major factors that are limiting women and reducing their capacities to rise to the top”, she said.
“Patriarchy is a system of male authority which legitimizes the oppression of women through political, social, economic, legal cultural, religious and military institutions.
“Men’s access to, and control over resources and rewards within the private and public sphere derives its legitimacy from the patriarchal ideology of male dominance,” She explained further.
The First lady added: ” If you look at the configuration of the National Assembly since 2011, women representation has always been very bad and this has not given women ample opportunity to participate in setting legal framework that regulates governance. It was better in 2011, dropped in 2015, but became worse in 2019″, she added.
She said these factors should not discourage the women from demanding for our right.
The Ekiti First Lady further said: “Crimes against women are on the increase, gender violence, rape, trafficking, sexual exploitation, discrimination and kidnapping, amongst others. All these issues make the atmosphere very unsafe for women”.
Erelu Fayemi called for holistic implementation and enforcement of relevant laws that tend to tame gender inequality and promote women’s interest to enhance their relevance in all sectors.
She further advised women “to seek conceptual clarity on gender and feminism, to research use of legislative and policy framework, build a platform to make political demands, encourage inter-generational organising, engage in resource mobilisation, make educational institution safe for female gender, prepare for leadership and build a legacy that can attract public respect.
“These are the different ways that we can reset the agenda and as a society claps with both hands,” she noted.
Present at the event were the representative of the Governor of Ondo State, Special Adviser, Education, Dr Wumi Ilawole and Olori Olayinka Kiladejo, Wife of the Osemawe of Ondo.