There is a large chance to change the narrative of women and the girl-child alike from being voiceless, deprived and disenfranchised, to being heard, valuable and formidable agents for development in the nation while leveraging on Information and Communication Technology.
This assertion was made by the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, at the Second Quarter National Executive Council Meeting of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Nigeria), held in Akure, with the theme:” Digital Environment: Understanding Digital Skills For The Overall Development of Women and children in Nigeria”.
The Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu, described the theme as apt and timely, considering the State’s effort at optimizing digitalisation in the delivery of services and operations, noting that it also aligns with the REDEEMED Agenda of his administration.
Arakunrin said women and girls must be properly equipped with digital skills that would enable them confront emerging issues in the society.
He noted that the program was not only significant to women and girls, but also to Ondo State as a whole.
He maintained that the efforts of early women nationalists like Funmilayo Ransome-kuti, Margaret Ekpo and others paved the way for women to occupy front seat and subsequently the decision-making process in government, stressing that the State is positioned to develop strong partnership with women for self development and empowerment.
” it is imperative to note that the world bestows a lot of responsibility in women hands, as a result, women must look inward and develop strategic framework that could be adopted to drive increased participation in technology”, he said.
While acknowledging FIDA’s numerous activities towards resolving critical issues for the female gender in the State, Arakunrin noted that his administration is very pleased with the organization, thus, the support given them.
Speaking further, Princess Odu who doubled as the Chairman of the occasion, described FIDA as a watchdog and fighter for the protection, preservation and promotion of the rights of women and children. According to her, “it is imperative to recognize the immense potential that lies within our women and girls when it comes to harnessing the power of the digital environment.
“Despite the technological progress, there is still significant gender disparity when it comes to accessing, knowing and utilization of digital tools and platforms; it hampers their overall development and empowerment, limits their opportunities for growth, including their freedom”.
Princess Odu encouraged members of the association to look into more ways of building the capacity of women and girls with necessary digital skills to enable them develop wholesomely, adding that it is crucial that the fight for women’s right begin to take digital forms.
The Secretary to the State Government stressed that it is also pertinent to address cultural and societal barriers that may hinder the participation of women and girls in the digital sphere, urging all stakeholders to collaborate in order to design a robust framework that captures comprehensive strategies to empower women and children.
Earlier in her speech, the National President FIDA and Country Vice-President, Amina Suzanah Agbaje, appreciated the Governor, and his wife for their passion, proactiveness and commitment to issues concerning women, children and vulnerables in the State.
Agbaje affirmed that FIDA is greatly indebted to Ondo State Government considering the kind support it has been receiving.
Also in a keynote address, Hon. Justice Funmi Asaolu, of the Justice Court, Lagos, highlighted salient issues that centred on the need for women and the girl-child to be informed on how to obtain evidence for prosecution in cases of eventualities. She said technological innovations should be used to educate the girl-child; and women should learn to adopt digital technologies in reporting all forms of misbehaviours; while it is advisable they pursue careers in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Speaking earlier, Chairperson, FIDA Ondo State branch, Catherine Olajumoke Ogunjebi while appreciating all distinguished personalities for gracing the occasion, re-emphasized that the State FIDA had enjoyed very smooth relationship with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies. Ogunjebi thanked the Governor, partners, collaborators and sponsors who willingly worked with them on all projects embarked upon by FIDA in Ondo State.
Media Officer (Office of the SSG)