… Calls for the Elimination of Gender Stereotypes, Violence against Women, Girls
…Charge women leaders to raise other young women
Ndifreke Jacob, UYO.
ON 8th March, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Akwa Ibom State Branch in unison with Stakeholders from the Coalition of Non-governmental organizations joined the world over to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day celebration and advocated for a more women-inclusive society.
The group while hosting a seminar with the theme ‘women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’; to mark the day, network and sensitize women leaders on the responsibility behooved them, called for the elimination of stereotypes and bias against women.
The event held at the Judiciary Multi-purpose hall, Uyo had various variety of programmes ranging from seminar paper presentations from Comrade Aniefiok Udonquak, Dr. Nsekpong Udoh, Barr. Eno-obong Akpan, panel discussion, music, drama presentation and demonstration on the use of female condom.
Earlier, the President of FIDA, Barr. Emem Ette in her charge to the women emphasized that the era of handing down leftovers and crumbs to the female folks was long gone, as sudden universal breakthrough by women have opened the vista that, women possess the capacity to demand and take on leadership positions.
Ette hinted that it was set time for women to get serious and intentional, noting that the changes women seek should not be limited to changing stereotypes but rather, a conscious approach to building themselves and challenging norms that pose as threat to women development should be a cardinal fulcrum of fight.
The FIDA President called on the men and other already made women not to relent their effort in giving women of capacity the needed support and platform to strive, maintaining that when women lead, there’s opportunity for easy growth and unity.
Giving a paper presentation on the topic, ”GENDER STEREOTYPING IN RAPE CASES”, the Coordinator of Journalists Alliance Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Mr Aniefiok Udonquak took time to outline some of the stereotypes and myths associated with rape cases.
He explained that gender stereotype will continue to form barrier for women from reaching the pinnacle of their career, as long as society dictates what, how and control free expression of women through dressing.
Also, he noted that although less attention is given to gender stereotype and women violation in Africa; but that there’s hope for women in Akwa Ibom State following the promulgation of the VAPP law.
Speaking on the ”role of Civil Society Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations in addressing SGBV”, Dr. Nsekpong Udoh hinted that the role and responsibilities saddled the CSOs/NGOs was encompassing as they play complimentary role of working effectively in areas where government presence isn’t felt.
Dr. Udoh maintained that to curb GBV, CSOs/NGOs must promote the culture of justice, create an environment where victims get free and timely access to treatments, adding that GBV data collated must be accurate, reliable and meaningful in order to aid policy formulation.
Also speaking from the angle of security agents charging fees before rape cases are filed, Mr Ime Umofia explained that such behavior on the part of security officers was appalling, but regardless, rape victims must take a stand and enlighten the police officers involved on the gravity of charging them for filing rape cases.
In her paper presentation titled, ”Discussing Bystander’s Liability for SGBV”, Barr. Eno-obong Akpan explained the position of the law on bystanders or spectators who remain silent oon GBV issue or violation against a fellow human being.
She hinted that section 7 of the VAPP Laws, 2000 gives a clear picture of bystander’s liability, noting that to curb GBV, witnesses to violation of human right must show courage, defend, directly intervene and report incident of GBV to relevant authorities where and whenever such cases arise.
Taking on the leadership session, the panelists, Mrs Eunice Thomas, Barr. Mfon Udo-Inyang, Mrs Helen Isang and Mrs Eme Atakpo in their separate messages charged the GBV stakeholders to possess an aura that radiate intentionality, good attitude and confidence as they cannot lead and bring about change with a negative character.
They unanimously charged the women particularly those excelling in their career path to raise other young women, build network of strong women and raise the bar of self-growth.
To the young women, they advised them not to negate the place of hard work, humanity and personal development in their career journey as conscious effort pays more.
Meanwhile, issues of rape and GBV can be reported to FIDA via – Uyo, 08023384818, Eket – 08023020881, Ikot Ekpene – 08034086536,. Agape Centre Eket – 09077777433.