By Anu Oyeleye
The Oyo State government has announced that it has zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), gender based violence and other harmful discriminatory practices against women within the state.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Kafilat Olayiwola, stated this on Wednesday at an inter-faculty annual debate competition on discrimination against women organised by Lead City Voices in Ibadan.
In her speech, the Commissioner said, “Oyo state will not condone any form of harmful practices against women as all efforts are now geared towards empowering the girl child through skills acquisition, rescuing out of school children who have fallen victim of early marriages and reintegrating them into the system.”
The Commissioner who was represented by the Head of Gender Unit of the ministry, Mrs Akinpelu Olafunmilayo stressed the need for more sensitization while noting the importance of advocacy visits and consultation with community leaders, health workers, circumcisers, health educators, traditional and religious rulers and traditional birth attendants.
The debate which was centered towards identifying the root cause of discrimination against women highlighted culture, religion, law, family and the society as factors hindering gender equality.
One of the participants, Temitope ifeoluwa from the Faculty of Law, decried the low representation of women in the decision making process and emphasized the need for all to break free of cultural beliefs that have been engraved in the mind.
Another participant, Adejumo Deborah who spoke against culture identified biology, lack of self esteem as the cause of discrimination against women.
Jenifa Okeke from the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences affirmed that the society is responsible for the unjust treatment of women in the society and urged all stakeholders to shun retrogressive practices against the girl child.
It would be recalled that over the years, there have been diverse pledges from world leaders to end these discriminatory laws and practices, however, the convener, Victoria Inikpi Amodu is of the opinion that the advancement of women remains a critical issue for continuous engagement and called for action-related measures for the achievement of national and international policies capable of promoting and enhancing the fundamental rights of women.