UN Women honours leaders advocating gender equality
In commemoration of the second edition of International Women’s Day (IWD) Awards, the UN Women and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have honoured women and men making concerted efforts to ensure increased women participation in all sectors.
The event was held in Lagos recently in partnership with the Diplomatic Missions and Delegations of Australia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
This year’s IWD is themed ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’, aimed at celebrating women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.
In her goodwill message, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Beatrice Eyong, said: “As we celebrate the women who are making great strides as leaders in their respective fields, we do so knowing that we must vote for women. We must increase representation of women in executive and senior leadership in the private and public sectors. Women’s equal participation in public and private life is not only a moral imperative, but it also makes for better business and more resilient communities.”
She further noted that globally, the lifetime income gap between women and men cuts the wealth of countries by 106.2 trillion USD. She added that in sub-Saharan Africa this accounted for 11.4 per cent of regional wealth, noting that women’s human capital could increase from 283 billion USD to 453.2 billion USD with gender equality.
“I take this moment to salute the grassroots and civil society actors represented here today who continue to shape the agenda around women’s increased leadership representation and gender equality. There is a lot to be proud of, and a lot to build on in Nigeria – for example appointment of the first 50/50 cabinet in Kwara State,” she said.
Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Mohammed Yahya, pointed out that, “women leadership is key in ensuring sustainable social and economic development not only in Nigeria but in Africa as a whole.”
She noted that “having women voices equally represented is essential to bring about the development we envision.”
According to her, in Nigeria, women representation in the national parliament was less than five per cent. “Despite the low numbers, women in Nigeria continue to break records in the fields of business, sports and technology,” she noted.
Winners of the awards from categories selected by the IWD Awards Board include Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, Lifetime Achievement Award category; Founder and Executive Director, Inclusive Friends, Grace Alache Jerry, Political Leadership and Governance category; and Founder, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Outstanding Leader category and the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who bagged the HeForShe award.
Others are Founder, Startup Kano Hub, Aisha Tofa, who won in the Feature Award category – DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality; Brand and Marketing Manager, Quickteller, Ms. Priscilla Iyari, who won Private Sector category; filmmaker and music video director, Ms. Kemi Adetiba, who won Media and Culture category; and Aisha Zannah, who won the Grassroots and Civil Society category.