By Asmau Ahmad
The envoys of Cameroon, Sierra Leone and South Africa in Nigeria has expressed continued commitment to women empowerment to achieve gender parity in the society.
They gave the assurance at the commemoration of the 37th International Women’s Day which held at the Consulate of Cameroon in Lagos.
The event, jointly organised by the Consulates of Cameroon and Sierra Leone and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), was themed “Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”
Madam Francess Algahli, Minister of State, Office of the Sierra Leonean Vice President, said education and legislation were the major keys to facilitating women’s empowerment.
She said that in her country, there were no legal restrictions that prevented women from taking political offices, adding that economic and educational challenges were some of the barriers to higher achievements by women.
“Educational deficit is one of the reasons women have not been moving at the necessary speed and because of this, the government of Sierra Leone is putting strong emphasis on the education of the girl child.
“We also have the Gender Empowerment Policy which is a backbone of the gender empowerment bill,” said the Sierra Leonean official.
According to Algahli, there is a constant need for older women to mentor younger ones in order for them to enjoy a work-life balance and to break generational barriers.
“If we want to succeed as women, we need to stop the bias at all levels and recognise that we are capable.
“We don’t want to be equal with men, what we want is for them to recognise our potential and ability and give us the space to grow as high as we want to,” she added.
Also, Bessem Manga, Consul General of the Cameroonian Consulate in Lagos, said self-limitation was a challenge women needed to work on.
Manga added that this challenge made women shy away from viable positions because of their “I am not good enough” mindset.
“We have made great progress with fighting for gender parity and it is up to us to further empower ourselves as women.
“It is important to have more women motivated and confident in their ability to take up leadership roles and while we act as mentors to young girls, we’ll be serving as pointers to a brighter future,” she said.
According to report, in November 2017, Bessem Manga was appointed as the first female Consul General in the history of Cameroonian diplomacy
“The progress we have made in the past five years is enormous. As an example, Cameroon had never had a female consul general before me and after this shift, we’ve seen an improvement with female representation,” Manga said.
Addressing the success rate of the campaign on Gender equality in South Africa, Consul General Darky Africa stressed the importance of women’s participation to every nation’s progress.
According to him, without the capacity of women, nation’s cannot move forward and any country that cannot recognise the potential of women is doomed.
“We must ensure that women participate in all sectors of the economy because of the critical role they play in the society.
“Every government should ensure that legislations are against gender violence so that women are not subjected to perpetual fears,” said the South African envoy.
Africa said gender equality was about every individual, adding that everything possible had to be done to ensure opportunities are equal for all.