Gender equality key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals — Sanwo-Olu

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By Moses Adeniyi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said equal representation for  responsibilities and opportunities to every gender is  essential to achieve meaningful development.

According to him, the need to ensure that responsibilities and opportunities are given to people irrespective of whether they are born male or female remain pertinent to the advancement of gender policies which will help to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Governor who stated this at the WAPA Connect 2022 conference with the theme, ‘The Emerging Total Woman’ organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation said, “The conference was initiated in pursuance of this administration’s commitment to optimally harness the potentials of both the male and female genders knowing fully that this is the sure path to attaining our full growth and development potentials as a state.

“It is also a testament to the policy of inclusiveness which our administration is strongly committed to upholding. The adopted theme of this year’s conference, ‘The Emerging Total Woman’ speaks to the changing dynamics driven by the new thinking of the 21st Century as well as the new challenge women have to overcome to play the role expected of them conscientiously.

“The emerging woman the world is craving is one that is self-aware and determined to overcome stereotypes and unleash her potential to contribute her fair quota to moving society and humanity forward.”

The Governor assured that his administration is determined to support, inspire and encourage young emerging women to arrive at their destination against all odds.

“It is important that we accept this responsibility to guarantee a better future in a socio-economic ecosystem that is increasingly becoming more competitive.

“As a government that is committed to improving the welfare of women and raising their capacity to become self-sufficient and self-reliant, we have, in the past three and half years, developed and implemented initiatives, policies and programmes that have directly benefited women in the state.

“These initiatives cut across skill acquisition in relevant vocations, financial support especially through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for women with entrepreneurial skills and ideas, medical support to vulnerable and indigent women with special health care needs, advocacy against social vices especially sexual abuse and domestic violence etc.

“Our administration has done so much to create opportunities for women while also promoting gender equality through the initiatives and programmes being implemented by relevant government agencies particularly the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the collaboration and partnership as individuals and organisations are critical and will be appreciated by the state government as collectively identify with the aspirations of the emerging woman.

Speaking, the Dtate’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, said the WAPA Connect is “one major platform, through which the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation significantly touches the lives of women annually.”

She explained that the conference has become a reverence point to women advocacy on development, adding that the theme “will offer the template for strategic thinking towards gearing our women to change, even as it evaluates their rights to economic resources, access to sexual and reproductive well-being, and viable tools for socio-economic growth of Lagos State.”

Dada added that, “Women play pivotal roles to achieve epochal significant financial statuses, that would certainly boost the economy along the diverse roles, which they play as managers, nurses, teachers and wives in their respective homes.”

She said further that women play a vital role in shaping the society, across social, economic and political levels, adding that the empowerment of women and girls is a pertinent key for the achievement of other United Nations’ 2030 Agenda targeted at the Goal 5 under Sustainable Development’s agenda.

“Gender Equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and conducive world ultimately; development will only be sustainable, if its benefits accrue equally to both women and men.

“The woman plays a crucial and central role in shaping the society across social, economic and political levels. It has been said that the empowerment of women is central to all initiatives, in order to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental development,” Dada said.