We should celebrate women everyday - Dr Linda Ayade

By Margaret Asikong, CRS-MOI Officer Reporting from the Office of the Wife of the Governor

Wife of Cross River State Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade has said that women all over the World are to be celebrated everyday and not only on International Women Days, as a result of their unique roles and contributions to the development of society. 

Dr. Ayade stated this recently in Calabar during the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) Celebration with the theme: Each for Equal (I am Generation Equality; Realizing Women’s Rights” ) which was held at the premises of the Ministry of Women Affairs, (MOWA), Calabar. 
She said the International Women Day, 2020 is very significant, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in 1995, for the empowerment of  women and girls globally, adding that two and half decades after the conference there have been lots of achievements and improvements as the women’s voice are now being heard globally. 
Dr.Ayade therefore charged the women to rise up and take positive action to make things work differently by changing the narrative and clearly defining their goals and objectives, beginning from their homes, as the saying goes “Charity begins at Home”, adding that, they should give equal opportunities to both the male and female children in the family without any discrimination or prreference regarding the sex of the child.

The Wife of the Governor maintained that with steadfastness, it is possible for the women to achieve their set goals in life despite the challenges while thanking them for their resilience, strength and spirit, enjoining them to run with that same spirit in order to excel in life.

She urged the women to be a voice to their fellow women especially to widows who are being subjected to all kinds of ill treatment in the name of tradition and also unite together as a collective voice to say ‘NO’ to all the obnoxious practices that women and girls are being subjected to like; the female genital mutilation, violence of any sort against women and girl child trafficking, early child marriage, amongst others, as well as desist from participating in such acts. 
Dr. Ayade pledged that she will work through her Non- Profit Organization – the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF), with the help of Dr. Egbeh Otu, a Consultant Psychiatrics from the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, to ensure that Cross River State has a Gender Development index in order to help tackle the problem of gender inequality in the State. 

The Governor’s wife stated that as part of efforts to meet the needs of Cross Rivrer women at the grassroots, as well as enable them have access to all the packages that CROWEI has for them including training on various skills acquisition, there is need to have Women Development Centres at the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts for proximity purpose, adding that they will serve as local offices for MOWA.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Rita Ayim said that the IWD is expected to bring together all stakeholders; CBDs, CSO, Government Officials, parliamentarians, gender equality activists and women rights advocates to discuss how they can collectively tackle the unfinished business of empowering and eleminating discrimination against women, especially in Nigeria and the State in particular, adding that, deliberate and conserted effort is being made to ensure equality as well as realization of women right by the State gender friendly Governor, Sir Ben Ayade and his amiable wife through the appointment of many women into various leadership positions in the Ayade – led administration. 

According to her, for gender equality and women’s rights to be realized, they must advocate for real enforcement of 35% affirmative action for women and have a shift in mindset in respect to patriarchy; there must be the coming together of women in unity with purposeful action to ensure equality for all women and the realization of women’s rights, as well as work together to demand the implementation of policies on gender equality that are in place, amongst others.

Earlier in her remarks, the Director, Gender, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Theresa Ephraim, stated that “the campaign theme is tagged  " Each for Equal showing that an equal world is an enabled world, the world will be very accommodating for all if we choose to challenge sterexxotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women achievements”, adding that the 2020 campaign is drawn from change occurring through collective efforts and enjoined women to celebrate other women’s achievements and eliminate the pull down syndrome by fellow women. 

The event featured; goodwill messages from CRS government, UNFPA, CROWEI, Medical Women Association, presentation of papers on the theme for the IWD by Prof. Mabel Ekot, Dr. Egbeh Otu, Barr. James Beatrice Awa and Dr. Bassey Nakanda.

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