Gender equality, others panacea to sustainable development, says don
The need for gender equality and access to higher education has been described as a veritable tool to enhance and sustain national development.
A teacher from Harvard University, United States (U.S.), Prof. Jacob Kehinde Olupona, who stated this while delivering the convocation lecture of Fountain University, Osogbo, entitled “Shifting the Tide: The Promises and Challenges of Higher Education in Nigeria,” decried the shortage of women in the nation’s public life, urging the authorities to correct the anomaly.
The erudite scholar said that the gender disparity in Nigerian higher education had serious effects on the general situation of women’s education within the larger context of national social development goal.
He noted that for society to succeed in its social development goals, there is need to carry women along and make them partners in all the enterprises, especially in education.
According to him, Nigerian universities must take a hard look at marginalised status of women faculty in the educational sector, especially as it concerns women faculty in the university system, adding that the dearth of women in the academy is a reflection of the national culture, which relegates women to the background and under-utilises women’s potential in spite of their struggle for excellence.
Olupona said: “If we wish to succeed in our social development goals, we must challenge our patriarchy culture to make women equal partners in all our enterprises, and especially in education.”
How the neglect of women’s affairs in higher education contexts has affected the general system should be looked into in depth. Our history shows that women have, against all odds, left enviable records of achievement worth emulating today.
“Women from both the private and public sectors who are passionate about higher education must come together and take the lead in charging a new course for women so that we can transform higher education in this country.”
He said all hands must be on deck to ensure that women are empowered with entrepreneurial skills, leadership qualities and creative insight to move the country forward.
He added that women are under-represented in university administration as can be seen in the paucity of women in key positions such as chancellorship, vice chancellorship and pro-chancellorship.
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