OAU VC, others advocate against rape, gender inequality as women bag awards

OAU VC, others advocate against rape, gender inequality as women bag awards
TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede has decried and sought for concerted efforts to end rape of girls and women in the society.
Ogunbodede made this known during this year’s International Women’s Day organised by Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies (CGSPS), OAU, at Main Hall Africa Centre of Excellence in ICT-Driven Knowledge Park of the school.
Ogunbodede reaffirmed that it has become a taboo for any female gender to be raped in the university community adding that the institution would maintain zero tolerance for sexual harassment on campus.
He said other tertiary Institutions may cover-up the perpetrators of evils, but OAU would not condone such, but would give justice as and when due to anyone found culpable.
Also speaking, the guest speaker, Prof Morenikeji Ukpong, a Professor of Paediatrics Dentistry of the university while delivering a lecture on the theme: “Gender Equality & Sustainable Development in Nigeria: Breaking the Bias,” condemned sexual harassment of girls and women.
Ukpong said that raping of girls and women even in Hijab in the society has been so rampant, adding that majority of girls from the range of 0-12 years have their first sex experience through rape.
She reiterated that rape is a growing silent epidemic that we all need to speak against and stop blaming the victim of circumstances.
The don condemned the way people behave to female gender through show favoritism of boys over girls; men over women; men becoming bossy over women despite holding same qualifications, fixing men in key posts rather than women at the same cadre among others.
The guest speaker stressed that rape is a silent epidemic reinforcing in the nation and charged media houses to sensitise masses against molestations of female gender.
She tasked the religious institutions, philanthropists, stakeholders and all well meaning Nigerians to join the train of advocating for gender equality.
“Despite the facts that the religious houses are strongest institutions that speaks fact and truth, yet, they are unable to change the norms and validity entails with gender equality.
Upong commended Prof Ogunbodede for allowing women to deputise him in the affairs of the institution. She said women should be given a pride of place in their life career, and that their promotion of the nation’s economy, economic opportunity, caring responsibility, reproductive input and responsibility at home should be recognised.
She noted that some companies believe that men are more productive than women in productivity, therefore, place women on lower job. According to her, some developing countries are given maternity leave of one and half years to their nursing mothers with their full salaries intake.
“But Nigeria Nursing mothers cannot breastfeed their baby for complete first six months without substitutional milk,  which gives poor health to children in the nearest future.
OAU celebrates IWD, awards women
OAU VC and other dignitaries at the event
“In some centuries to come, there would be disparity among genders because presently, the number of enrollments of female are lesser from primary to tertiary Institutions, and this would affect their future opportunities,” she added.
The guest lecturer stated further that over one million women dont have legal protection against domestic sexual violence and no legal work for women like men, adding that men get opportunity of becoming citizens when married from another country whereas this elude women nationally.
“In Nigeria, there’s no freedom of legal work for women, women lack of autonomy over their bodies, only six countries give that to both, division job in Nigeria, discriminating lower income for women, denials of citizenship, men are being promoted for they have more time for paper publication in an academic environment than men,” she said.
Upong condemned poor political representation of women in Nigeria politics, saying few women in politics and leadership spaces in Nigeria is affecting gender sensitive and anti-gender bills not to receive  enough support.
She urged all women to cooperate with the centre to break the bias and starting promoting gender equality and sustain development in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Acting Director, Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies, OAU,
Dr Olufunmilayo Banjo, welcomed all her guests especially the awardees for gracing the occasion despite their busy schedules.
Banjo acknowledged the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, and the school management for giving her the grace to serve at this time.
She commended corporate agencies, individuals, who have shared in the centres’ dreams and participated in the activities of the centre like Prof Roger Makanjuola, Mrs Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Dr Adebola Akindele, Ms. Funke Opeke among others.
The Acting Director called on invited guests not to allow the relationship to end  but to continually be mutual and fruitful.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, who doubles as Chairperson, Governing Board, Centre for Gender and Social Policy Gender, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Olubola Babalola, welcomed the future leaders from Sunshine Secondary & the Nursery  School, who campaigned for women leadership.
Babalola said that women have done greater things across the nation and urged them to press forward to ensure they have their parts successfully in life.
The centre honoured some women with awards to mark the IWD.
The awardees are: the Chief Executive Officer of the ICARE Foundation, Akure; Mrs Olajumoke Abegunde; Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Intergovernmental Relation,  Dr Olubunmi Ademosu; Hon Omowuni Okatunji-Ohwovoriole.
Others are Iyaloja of Lagos, Mrs Folasade Tinubu-Ojo and the Guest Speaker, Prof Morenikeji Ukpong, a Professor of Paediatrics Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University.
Mrs Tinubu-Ojo who speaks on behalf of other awardees appreciated the organiser of the programme and appealed to other women to stand by each other and stop castigating their colleagues from getting to the top.
She warned women that hold one post or the other against being proud and that they should not place themselves as mini-gods.

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