By Becky John
A women’s rights activist, Mrs Shola Alamutu, said on Monday that women needed to be educated and enlightened to be able to agitate for the enforcement of their rights.The activist told the newsmen in Lagos that it was important to enlighten the woman because many women were still unaware of their rights to certain privileges in the society.
According to Alamutu, who is the founder of Notable Wo-Men of the Centenary, a Non-Governmental Organisation, it is for this reason that women often victims of human rights abuse.
“I believe that if you enforce any rights in the first place, the people whose rights you are agitating for ought to know that they actually have rights.
“There is need for education, enlightenment and sensitisation of the women involved wherever they are.
“And I believe that the women themselves need to be in the fore-front of this campaigning for their rights which does not happen often.
“I also realize that a lot of the women are so bent on keeping their tradition that it becomes difficult for people who really feel strongly against this abuse of their rights to actually do anything about it.
“That is why I said we have to start with the women themselves who are victims of this abuse. “
The activist said it was unfortunate that many women lacked the confidence to make their opinions public and to assume positions of authority in the society. She said that lack of confidence was a by-product of societal belief systems that regarded women as inferior to men. She, therefore, urged women to boost their confidence by aspiring to become public office holders.
“To boost the confidence of women I decided that enough is enough; we need to voice out our opinions, take our seats wherever it is we feel we ought to.
“We need to stop being told what to do, where we belong. As far as I am concerned, women belong in the home, in the school, in parliament, everywhere.
“So, the few women, who have been bold enough to come out and get into the professions that they want to get into need to be the ones that should begin to find ways of talking to the women who feel shy, intimidated, who are not bold enough to come out.
“That is basically what International Women’s Day is all about. The theme this year, for example is make it happen.
“So, the women who have made it happen need to come out and share with other women and girls and boys how it is that they made it happen. “