‘Gender equality is not just a woman issue alone’
The President, African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO), Dr. Elisha Attai has said that gender equality as lately discovered is not just a woman issue but also a human issue. He added that having realised these fact, men are beginning to pull resources to sustain the move and advised women to double their efforts in giving the required support.
Dr. Elisha Attai, who is an ardent advocate for the development and advancement of the African Woman, is the initiator and convener of the African Women in leadership conference, a global movement of women of African descent changing the narrative of leadership in the world.
“We employed men to give women more opportunities, and this has proved that achieving the gender equality goal before 2095 as stipulated is possible,” he added.
According to the United Nations (UN) Women, gender equality is the fifth Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which seeks to address key challenges such as poverty, inequality, and violence against women and girls. It is also part of all the other goals, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution.
Attai noted that AWLO has overtime roused women to work together so as to close the gender gap. “We have been able to tackle leadership problem by engaging top-tier leaders of the African community through conferences and meetings, garnering their support and pledge to provide excellent leadership to their constituents,” he argued.
On the untapped potentials that women in the society have, he said that the need to create a mentorship platform is germane for them to enhance, support, and exchange ideas as leaders. In his words: “I see women as better managers and I know that if we leverage on their potentials, we can do better across board. Women have great influence and can change lives beginning from the home.”
Decrying that opportunities available for women are almost non-existent, Attai emphasised the need for a more strategic approach. He said that AWLO Youth Council, that is the iLEAD initiative and the leadership schools were born to produce and ensure the quality of the next generation of female leaders.
“We engage the leaders through trainings and conferences with the goal of producing new breed leaders and increasing the capacity of existing leaders.
“The iLEAD initiative engages female youths under the age of 18 who are in secondary schools and hold leadership positions in their school. In engaging followers, we decided to provide palliatives to cushion the existing effect of poor leadership, which the region has suffered for a long time.
“We have 1Mother1Child project, a giveback project of AWLO where members are expected to educate a child up until the level where the child can do the same to others. We have incorporated 100 children into the program, many of them in the primary school and secondary and 5 in the University of Maiduguri.
“Teachers on a weekly basis train over 70 children at Abuja Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). 25 of the IDP children were registered for WAEC and JAMB last year alone,” he said.Attai said the AWLO’s new HeForShe project is supported by a heavy database technology framework and resources that gives it the required sustenance and targeted at getting 100, 000 commitments in the first 6 months.
“We also have a strategy on ground to get businesses, companies and institutions to signup, not just only individuals. They will help drive the actual implementation of the project’s objectives. They will provide periodic reports and assessment of how much progress is made in their companies with regaurds to Gender Equality.
“This will show progress in Gender Equality in their staff strength, top 6%, their Board and new hires. We also expect to roll out meet ups and trainings to provide awareness for the campaign. On the challenges encountered, Attai has identified availability of resources and finance as the major plague. He added that many people still don’t believe that gender equality is an issue, and some queried why a man would lead a women organisation.
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