Professor Modupe Onadeko, a retired Consultant on Reproductive and Family Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, has advised Nigerian women to take the right initiatives as change agents in the society.
Onadeko gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while speaking on the observance of 2017 International Women’s Day (IWD) in Ibadan on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that March 8 every year, is celebrated globally as the International Women’s Day, the theme for 2017 is: “Be bold for Change”.
She explained that there were more benefits for Nigerian women when they forged better working, more inclusive and gender-friendly world, and by taking on issues that would make life meaningful for people.
Onadeko, who is also the President, Inter Africa Committee on Traditional Practices Harmful to Girls and Women, recalled her personal experiences as a strong advocate for abolition of Female Genital Mutilations and Scarification (FGM/C) of the face.
“In early 1980s, a few of us females, started this advocacy and sensitization of parents in our hospitals to stop FGM/C of the face and body.
“The practice then was 95 per cent prevalent in the South West and people were unaware of the dangers posed to the recipient child and parents.
“We made them realized that these harmful traditional practices often result in premature death of girls and women, while leaving them physically and psychologically damaged for life,“ she said.
According to her, the campaign was extended to Africa until the UNICEF and UN took over the advocacy and campaign with heavy intervention in the area of education, information and rehabilitation of recipients of these harmful traditional practices.
“As we speak today, the prevalence rate of FGM/C in the South West has reduced to 35 per cent, while it has gone down to 55 per cent in Nigeria and we have still not rested on our oars.
“In this regard, I want to say that Nigerian women have always been bold in bringing any possible desired change to their community and country at large,”she said.
Also, Dr Olufunmilola Lola-Dare, Social Development Consultant, said the issue of gender inequality in Nigeria’s health systems and neglect of our youths, should open up the passion in women to change the status quo.
Lola-Dare who is also the President, of Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development (CHESTRAD), recalled that since her childhood she had been passionate in advocating parity in gender, health and youth issues.
“Before the 2017 theme of the International Women’s Day, the Nigerian women have been agents of change in their different areas of endeavours,”she said.
She applauded the boldness of women in Nigeria, Africa and the world as change agents in their communities, saying “it is their uncommon courage that has brought about development of their respective communities”.
According to her, the 2017 theme of the IWD is a tonic that every woman and young girl need to take ground-breaking actions that will drive the greatest change for the female gender.
“Every woman can be a leader within his or her own sphere of influence by taking bold and pragmatic actions to accelerate gender parity.
“Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over,” she added.
Also, Mrs Dupe Aina, Director, Community Health Department of the University College Hospital, UCH described IWD as“ a call-to-action to accelerate gender parity and an opportunity to align forces to promote relevant activities”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the IWD was originally called International Working Women’s Day and celebrated March 8 every year.
It commemorates the struggle for women’s rights and the day was first observed on Feb. 28, 1909 in New York.
It was organised by the socialist party of America and has since been replicated by many countries in the world.
The day brings together governments, women organisations, corporations and charities in celebrating women achievers in their fields and discussing way forward in the scheme of things.