FG should create modern framework that recognizes gender equality — Audrey Ezigbo

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Executive Director and Co-Founder Falcon Corporation, Mrs Audrey Ezigbo in this interview with the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Nigerian NewsDirect Dr Samuel Ibiyemi speaks on the sideline of women in-LPG Inauguration ceremony on the role of women in the transformation of a nation from developing to a developed one.    

What is your impression on the participation of women in the inaguration of Women in LPG  programme?

Well, I think it is good to start with. We have strong representation from different players across the value chain. This is the inauguration so a lot of work will take place in  creating  awareness on the organization and its objectives. We solicit membership. For those who just want to join, there is much work that will go on hereafter.

But you know the Master of Ceremony made a statement and he is very right. He said you cannot revolutionize any space without women. Women are an integral part of the economy more than anything else.

On the LPG front, women are the primary end users. Let’s break it down to the grassroots. When you look at our population, it is very clear that our ability to have a deeper capital utilization of LPG is going to depend on how well we engage the bottom of the pyramid .

In a situation where we don’t have enough women playing on the policy, infrastructure or the production side is going to skew what comes out at the top and how it is at the bottom. A situation where we don’t have mostly men handling policy, they will not come with the agenda that will impact positively on these end-users. And those end-users are the ones who are dying. They are the ones whose families and children are being impacted by that dependency on kerosene and firewood.

Recession has made much people go back from using gas to utilisation of  kerosene. We can’t allow that kind of backward development. I believe women are really tenacious. Anything we decide to pursue, we go all out for it. It is important that we tap their intelligence and commitment of half of our population and those half are the ones dependent on firewood. So, this is the time for more women in the LPG space.

Do you think we have enough women represented at the policy level?

Obviously not, much has to be done to change the anomaly. If in  terms of elected positions and appointments, we have to change that. I personally, am very disappointed with the positions that were allocated to women in this dispensation

I am not a woman that believes you should give women priority because they are women. I believe they must be capable.

However, we must look at bottlenecks for women getting into political spaces. What are the things that constrain their abilities in that space and how do we cooperate with them to remove those hindrances. As I said earlier at the panel, think of every woman as your mother, sister, or daughter. If you know you won’t be happy to frustrate their efforts, why would you do that for another woman? It is not a competition.

It is about the ability of everyone to fully utilize everything God has given them to make a difference in the world that will benefit everyone.

If we were in that camp, I think we would be more deliberate on making sure that the tradition that led to the exclusion of women in many  places, we let go of them and create a modern framework that recognizes gender equality and the advantage and value that women bring to the table.

So, this association will drive the involvement of women at the grassroots?

As well as every investment along the value chain right from the upstream.