WOMANIFESTO 2020: Gender influencers call for collaboration among Nigerian women

One of the speakers on the occasion and wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi

For Nigerian women to compete favourably on the nation’s socio-political field and assume leadership positions in various areas of human endeavour, there is need for them to synergize and work together as one to achieve a common goal. 

This was the take home and unanimous conclusion of leaders of thought and gender influencers at the 2020 edition of WOMANIFESTO conference, which held largely as a virtual event with over 15 locations of clusters of participants across the country from Wednesday, December 9, to Thursday December 10 in Abuja.

These renowned activists made the assertion during the Day-1 of the second edition of WOMANIFESTO Conference, 

Women leaders and activists such as; the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Co-Convener of Bring Back Our Girls and former Minister of Education in Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili; Executive Director of Women Advocate, Research and Development-WARD-C/Convener of WOMANIFESTO, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi; Chairperson of Gender and Constitution Reform Network, Joy Ezeilo all called on Nigerian women to stay together and develop a platform capable of attaining greater political and socio- economic powers like their male counterparts. 

The Conference tagged the COVID Edition and themed ‘Building Momentum for What Nigerian Women Want: Coalescing of voices and demands’ was attended by over 1000 women globally.

In her opening remark as the chair of the WOMANIFESTO 2020, Prof Ezeilo encouraged Nigerian women to come out and speak out against gender based violence as well as take a bold step into getting involved in the socio-political environment in the country.

“The era when it’s popularly believed that the place for the women is in kitchen is over and should be made to be over by us. 

She however, cautioned women not to allow themselves to be used by some elements, who could derail this aim and objectives.

Wife of the Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who spoke on issues related to gender based violence, said a new culture orientation was required to groom the next generation of men who will see women as counterparts rather than weaker sex.

According to her, Nigerian women need to build new orientation such as public and corporate, social and civic and academia. 

“We have not done very well with public and corporate engagement. It is time for us to properly engage public sector and private on feminism. A lot more need to be done,” she said among other things.

Keynote speaker, Dharmaraj Krishanti, Executive Director, Centre for Women’s Global Leadership and Convener Feminist Alliance for Rights Herstory and Future of the 16 days of Activism on Ending Violence against Women, said that time has come for women to take their destiny in their hands.

“Women must understand what they want and go for it. The era of demand is over we should go for it. We should seek to occupy political space, private sector and other sphere of endeavour if we must make the necessary change we desire,” Krishanti said even as she cautioned women to do it discreetly.

In her welcome address, the convener of WOMANIFESTO, Dr. Abiola Afolabi said, “National Women’s Dialogue 2020, which is in commemoration of the first anniversary of WOMANIFESTO conference is a national conversation proposed for women from different groups to reflect on the gender equality results experienced in Nigeria since November 2019; and to deliberate on using the opportunity of budget preparation to advocate for governments resourcing of women’s aspirations; (c) to strategize for 2023 elections.

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