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Echoes From 2016 Int’l Women’s Day

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Wife of Rivers State Governor, Mrs Suzette Nyesom Wike (2nd right), Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Ukel Oyaghiri (left), wife of Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Mrs Charity Adams (right) and another guest on arrival at the church service to mark International Women’s Day at Christ Church Interdenominational, Port Harcourt, yesterday

Wife of Rivers State Governor, Mrs Suzette Nyesom Wike (2nd right), Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Ukel Oyaghiri (left), wife of Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Mrs Charity Adams (right) and another guest on arrival at the church service to mark International Women’s Day at Christ Church Interdenominational, Port Harcourt, yesterday

They came from dif
ferent places, adorned in beautiful, colourful attires, with smiles on their faces.  The event was International Women’s Day and Women from the 23 local government areas in the Rivers State, including female professional bodies, market women, Moslem Women Association, Christian  Women Association and other women in the state had gathered at Sharks’ Football Stadium (Civic Centre), Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, to join their counterparts all over the world to mark the day.
International Women’s Day was first celebrated on March 19, 1911, with activities like rallies and meetings.  The March 19 date was chosen because it commemorated the day that the Prussian King promised to introduce votes for women in 1848.  In 1913,  International Women’s Day the (IWD) was moved to March 8.  In 1977, the United Nations added impetus to the celebration by inviting member states to proclaim  March 8 as the United Nations Day for Women’s Right and International Peace.  The event is aimed at helping nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women. It also focuses  on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development.
Over the years, women in Rivers State have been part of this great celebration.  With this year’s theme: Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up For Gender Equality”, they assembled to reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 agenda.
The Tuesday event was preceded by an Interdenominational Church Service at Christ Church, Forces Avenue on Sunday, March 6, followed by visits to charity homes in Port Harcourt on Monday, March 7.
In her welcome address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Barr. (Mrs) Ukel Oyaghiri, said over the years, the female gender, has not attained the expected level of development as their male counterparts, due to unequal treatment meted on the girl-child which has made them not to develop their God given potentials, adding that we cannot achieve sustainable development if the female  gender is not developed to function well in the society as their male counterparts.
Oyaghiri called on men to give equal treatment to the female children, empower them and ensure that  the rights to their wives and girl-children are protected.
She said her ministry organized this year’s International Women’s Day in a grand style with the hope of touching lives of girl-child, women, children with special needs through the support of the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who is gender friendly and who has ensured inclusion of more women in his administration, so as to accelerate the 2030 agenda of building momentum for effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as her ministry pledge, to close the gender disparity between and men and women and to ensure that by 2030, the ration between men to women will be 50-50″.
Oyaghiri expressed optimism hope that with the support of top government official wives, women drawn from the 23 local government areas (LGSs), governmental and non-governmental groups, female, professional bodies, the desire of ensuring better lives for the less privileged, children with special needs and the physically-challenged in our society will be achieved.
Oyaghiri, who has been the 2nd Vice President of the Taekwando Association of Nigeria and a black belt holders, Black Belt College, urged families especially the men  and traditional rulers who still hold onto the obnoxious practices in our society to stop those sharp practices as there was no head way in them and charged them to give equal training to their girl-children as their male counterparts.
She stressed that the entire Rivers people of good-will must ensure the visibility and inclusion of women and girls in all the processes of development and added that this indeed, is the real democracy and gender mainstreaming where women and men are working together peacefully without discrimination to achieve accelerated and sustainable development in the society.
She charged Rivers women to improve on their performances in order to produce and become great women of integrity ready to work hand in hand with their male counterparts to build a better Rivers State come 2030.
In his speech, the Governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Keneth Kobani, promised that, his government would continue to enhance and protect the advancement of women in the state, “not just appointing women into key positions, but it is about empowering them to do what they are supposed to do in order to move our society forward”.
He explained that the state government is driven by women, who cut across the three arms of government “and as a gender  friendly governor as we can see, the number two citizen in the state is a woman, the Deputy governor, who is the driving force behind Governor Nyesom Wike and also two arms of government are headed by women”.  He challenged women to speak for their rights, adding that deprived and poor women should be assisted through empowerment programmes and promised that his government would continue to place women at the pride of place in every decision that they take.
In her key note address, the wife of the Governor, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike, while expressing her extreme delight with the great turn out of women , said women are the super-structure, the strong pillar for growth and the development of human race.
Similarly, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo felicitated with Rivers women. She urged Rivers women, as role models to justify the public offices or positions entrusted to them as co-drivers’ in the Governor Nyesom Wike’s-led administration.
She challenged women to be more vocal on issues of violence against them, obnoxious traditional practices and all forms of discrimination perpetrated against women in the society.
In his address, the chairman of the occasion, Nimi Walson Jack, said that one permanent feature of a developing economy is active participation of the women, adding that the task of fighting against disparity should not be left for women alone, but men must join in ensuring equality for all, while promising that the male folk would assist to ensure that this task was achieved.
Highlights of the event were matchpast competition by various women groups, special performance by the Taekwando Association, drama presentation by the Rivers State Council for Arts and Culture, catching the train, among others.
Okrika and Oyigbo local government areas took first positions in the matchpast and catching the train respectively.  They went  home with Her Excellency’s Award.

 

Calista Ezeaku & Sussan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Looking Trendy In African Prints

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Fashion is dynamic as it changes with time. It can be St Michaels today and changes to Zara tomorrow. The next two or more years another guru can come up to take over the trending world.
Those who are in love with fashion always follow the trend. They want to appear trendy always. They are normally interested in every new design. Sometimes other necessities of life may matter to them as fashion will keep them going.
Fashion covers a wide range of fabrics. It just depends on the kind of fabrics anyone would love to go for.
It is important you know what kind of fashion you go for. Are you a jeans lover. Handbags and jewelries to match your dressing matte a lot. Colours of jackets and shoes that will go with ones personality also matter when it concerns fashion.
If you like being trendy, you need to know your brands. Each fashion designer will like to make sure they release new items once in a while to keep her customers abreast of the newest in town.
It may be difficult to keep track of all the fashion you see in the market of shop. It is better to make your selection and forgo other that may not suit you at that time.
It is necessary to follow fashion shows. All over the world today, various fashion shows take place in many cities at different time annually. Both fashion designers and their clients can see how to mix and match their outfits when they visit fashion homes.
In the years past, Ankara or African print was used as only wrappers by women. But nowadays, print can be used by ladies for shirts/blouses and even gowns. It is used for trousers and tops depending on the style in vogue.

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Women And Equal Representation In Society

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Women’s full and equal participation in all facets of society is a fundamental human right. Yet, within our communities, states and Nigeria at large and in fact the world over from politics to entertainment to the workplace, women and girls are largely under-represented.
When we take a closer look at this gender sensitivity over time, it clearly shows it has been imbalance.
Perhaps due to culture, norms and traditions, the consequences are far-reaching with detrimental and negative consequences on the personal, economic and future well-being of women and girls, their families and the community at large.
Building a sustainable future for all, means leaving no one behind. Women and girls are critical to finding solutions to the biggest challenges we face today and must be heard, valued and celebrated throughout society to reflect their perspectives and choices for their future and that of their families and society at large.
How many more generations are needed for women and girls to realise their rights? Women must begin to demand equal rights and opportunities for all folks.
Politically, women’s representation globally has doubled in the last 25 years. But, this only amounts to around one in four parliamentary seats held by women today.
Women continue to be significantly under-represented in the highest political positions. In October 2019, there were only 10 women Heads of State and 13 women Heads of Government across 22 countries, compared with four Heads of State and eight Prime Ministers across 12 countries in 1995.
At workplace, about two years ago, out of the 500 chief executives leading the highest-grossing firms, just under 7 per cent are women. Thank goodness, our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation {WTO).
When looking at the workforce as a whole, the gender gap in labour force participation among prime working age adults (25 to 54) has stagnated over the past 20 years. Improved education among women has done little to shift deeply entrenched occupational segregation in developed and developing countries. Women continue to carry out a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work. Women and girls are responsible in 80 per cent of households that do not have access to gender-sensitivity. Women and girls have little time for rest and sleep. If you allow them, they will work for 24 hours non-stop.
Annually, recognition of intellectual achievements and academic, cultural and scientific advances, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to more than 900 individuals in the course of its history from 1901 to 2019. Only 53 of the winners have been women, 19 in the categories of Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine. Marie Curie became the first female laureate in 1903, when she and her husband won a joint Prize for Physics. Eight years later, she was solely awarded the Chemistry Prize, making her the only woman in history to win the Nobel Prize twice. Although women have been behind a number of scientific discoveries throughout history, just 30 per cent of researchers worldwide and 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study are women.
When it comes to equality of men and women in news media, progress has not been encouraging. According to reports,  participation and representation of women in the news media for about two decades in many countries, only 24 per cent of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news are women. A lot of improvement has been recorded for women news reporters in newspaper bylines and newscast reports, with 37 per cent of stories reported by women as of 2015, showing little difference over a decade. Despite the democratising promise of digital media, women’s poor representation in traditional news media is also reflected in digital news, with women making up only 26 per cent of the people in Internet news stories and media news tweets. Only 4 per cent of traditional news and digital news stories clearly challenge gender stereotypes. Among other factors, stereotypes and the significant under-representation of women in the media play a significant role in shaping harmful attitudes of disrespect and violence towards women.
If you talk about entertainment industry, like other forms of media, film and television have a powerful influence in shaping cultural perceptions and attitudes towards gender and are key to shifting the narrative for the gender equality agenda. Yet, an analysis of popular films across 11 countries found, for example, that 31 per cent of all speaking characters were women and that only 23 per cent featured a female protagonist, a number that closely mirrored the percentage of women filmmakers.
The gross under-representation of women in the film industry is also glaringly evident in critically acclaimed film awards: In the 92-year history of the Oscars, only five women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Award category; and one woman, Kathryn Bigelow has ever won.
A lot of women in Nigeria, like Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi, Patience Ozokwo, Joke Silva, Monalisa Chinda, to mention but a few, have done well in the entertainment industry. But we need more women in film, on-screen and off-screen.
In sports, the power to inspire change and break gender stereotypes is possible and women have been doing just that decade after decade, showing that they are just as capable, resilient and strong as men physically.
Today, women are far more visible in sports than ever before: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is projected to have close to equal representation of women and men competing for the first time in its history. For comparison, only 22 women (2.2 per cent) out of a total of 997 athletes competed in the modern Olympics for the first time in 1900. Women and men will compete in almost all sports categories.
Chioma Ajunwo and Mary Onyeali are some of the sportswomen in Nigeria we can talk about when it comes to excellence.
Despite progress, women still continue to be excluded in certain sports in parts of the world and are paid far less than men in wages and prize money globally. Women need to be encouraged more in sports like the men.
Despite women being prescribed stereotypical roles in the kitchen at home, the upper echelons of the restaurant industry have remained relatively closed to female chefs Women must often overcome active discrimination and move away from a culture that both glorifies masculinity and tacitly condones harassment. Paired with long, unpredictable and inflexible working hours, unfriendly family and childcare policies and lower salaries, women face enormous challenges when entering the restaurant business. Women need to be in control of hospitality business as chefs..

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity

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Hundreds of women across four local government areas in Ondo State on Saturday protested against worsening security challenges in the area.
The women, who took to the streets of Oka Akoko, Akungba Akoko and some other Akoko towns, demanded improved security from the state and federal government.
Recent spate of insecurity in the area include abduction of teachers by gunmen in Auga Akoko, the killing of a police officer at Oka Akoko last week, and the attack on 17 travellers on Ifira Akoko-Isua Akoko road by armed robbers among others.
Some of the protesters, who held brooms, were half-naked and chanting various solidarity songs along the streets.
Recall that Amotekun Corps also arrested no fewer than 17 suspected bandits from the North-West of Nigeria when they stormed Okitipupa area of the state.
The suspected criminals were found with dogs, cutlasses and charms as they wandered in the area without purpose.
It was the distress call by residents of the community to Amotekun operatives that led to their arrest.

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