‘Why women should be involved in governance, given equal opportunities’
Blessing Nkiruka Okoro advocates women’s rights through her organization, Make Or Break-up Concept. It is an initiative canvassing the interest of women and children. In this interview with GERALDINE AKUTU, she talks about the abduction of Dapchi schoolgirls, gender equality and other issues.
The International Women’s Day was celebrated recently. What is its significance to Nigerian women?
The International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of women’s achievement globally. It is a day set aside to recognize women who have impacted positively on the lives of people in their communities. It is significant to Nigerian women because it showcases the struggles of women and the extraordinary things they have done to attain success. Women have made their mark in politics, different careers and businesses. They have become role models to younger ones. In Nigeria, various organizations or platforms use this opportunity to appreciate outstanding women and the courageous work they are doing.
Do you believe in gender equality?
I do believe in gender equality because women are already doing everything men can do. I think women should be given equal opportunity as long as they are qualified. Women should be given the chance to serve and treated fairly in order to contribute their quota to the growth of the society irrespective of gender.
Why are there few women in politics?
There are still few women in politics because of the society especially Africa believe a woman should be in the other room. The society feels that it will be too much on women and they might lose concentration to caring for their homes and kids. Women should be more involved in governance and prove that they can take the lead. Gone are the days when women are relegated to the kitchen or the other room. Women and girls should be empowered and quality education given to all. I think it is time for women to rise up and not leave everything to the men. They should support one another and be prepared to occupy leadership positions. We have intelligent women who are capable in this country but they are not confident. I encourage women to get their PVCs ready for next year’s election and make their vote count.
How optimistic are you about the future of the girl-child?
I am very optimistic about our girl child because the men are gradually beginning to relax and allow us take our chances. I believe that the future of the girl-child is bright. Women should guide our girls and help them to be the best they can be. They should be directed and be groomed early in life to become voices for other women. Every girl-child is a potential woman or mother.
How will you react to the recent abduction of school girls in Dapchi?
It is a very sad situation and troubling because I can imagine the abuse and pain the innocent little girls are going through. These children should be in school learning. We are praying and believing that the government will do something as soon as possible. You can imagine the trauma their parents and guardians or loved ones are going through. The future of the girl-child should be secured. Security is a serious issue and every life is important.
Do you think the government is doing enough in the area of security and what can government and citizens do to prevent another abduction?
The government is doing their best because security is about you and I. We must secure ourselves first, before the government can. It is about being your brother’s keeper, watchful and observing the environment. Because many times these people come to abduct, they look at the places with very little or no security. I advise parents and guardians to take care of their children and be vigilant. Security concerns everyone. I urge government to do more to strengthen security in the country to avoid issues like this from re-occurring.
How can women balance career and family?
The first step to building a successful career and family is to have an understanding and supportive partner. It is important to make out time for your family and not focus on work all the time. Create family time aside work. It is important to prioritise. Plan yourself and structure your vision, be focused, prayerful, work hard and every other thing will fall in place.
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