Being a speech made by Dr. Siju Iluyomade at the 14th Arise Women’s Conference on Saturday, October 29, 2022. 2 It is my utmost pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the ARISE WOMENS CONFERENCE 2022. Our theme for this year’s conference is “BY APPOINTMENT”…. #APPOINTED TO LIVE.
The Ethos of this theme is encapsulated in JEREMIAH 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. The word APPOINTMENT is used for a large variety of ideas including an act of assigning a job or position to someone to function fully and accomplish a task. It connotes making choices, engaging, consulting, allotting, fulfilling purpose, nomination, selection, appropriation, determination and many others. Our theme elicits the need for women to harness greater cooperation amongst themselves and others. A need to lead even in the face of existential threats. By Appointment is a call to meet needs or challenges with better preparedness. There is an urgent need for women to engage in civil society, vote in election, be elected to Government office, serve on boards, make their voices heard in any process that ultimately affects them, their families and their communities. At this conference, we are called upon to Champion OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN and their economic empowerment and well-being. We as women, need to shy away from situational ethic and values. Instead, we must embrace permanent, consistent values which we can pass onto our children. Women are the bridge between generations. It is time as women to embrace mainstream politics and policy making for ourselves and succeeding generations. 3 WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO BE ABSENT …. WE MUST BE PRESENT. THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL No. 5 says Achieve Gender equality and empower all women and girls. Because action in one SDG GOAL will affect outcomes in other developmental goals, such as no poverty, healthcare delivery, environmental sustainability amongst others. We need to invest in Women’s economic development, via access to education and skills which invariably will lead to wealth creation. MORE focus should be made on the building blocks that transform countries from POVERTY TO PROSPERITY. We need to speak out when injustice is meted out to women. Such injustice includes, discrimination, domestic violence, crimes, rape, violence, harmful practices against women and girls in public and private spheres. Gender equality is a key driver of sustainable development in all its dimensions. The Supreme Court of Nigeria had to take far reaching decisions in order to protect the Fundamental Human Rights of Women. In two cases, the Nigerian Supreme Court abolished the ancient culture in Igboland that denies Women the Right to inheriting properties in their father’s house. Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour J.S.C. (as he then was) who read the Lead judgement stressed THAT NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF BIRTH of A FEMALE CHILD, SHE IS ENTITLED TO INHERIT FROM HER LATE FATHER’S ESTATE. Consequently, Igbo Customary Law which disentitles a female child from partaking in the sharing of her deceased father’s estate is a breach of SECTION 42(1) and (2) of the Constitution, a fundamental rights provision guaranteed to every Nigerian. According to the Court, any Culture that disinherits a daughter from her father’s estate or a wife from her husband’s property BY REASON OF 4 GOD INSTITUTED GENDER DIFFERENTIAL SHOULD BE PUNITIVELY DEALT WITH. THE SUPREME COURT DESCRIBED THE CULTURE AS DISCRIMINATORY. The Supreme Court further maintained that punishment should serve as a deterrent measure and ought to be meted out against perpetrators of the culture and custom. 1) CULTURE DOES NOT MAKE PEOPLE, PEOPLE MAKE CULTURE 2) GENDER INCLUSION IS A HUMAN FIGHT NOT A FEMALE FIGHT 3) EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN DOES NOT MEAN LESS RIGHTS FOR MEN. IT SIMPLY MEANS WE ARE ALL GAINFULLY EMPLOYED. It is therefore pertinent to note that gender equality or inclusion is a FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT BACKED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND ALSO BY THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER. Nations of the world are going through the greatest upheavals in Human History, according to the institute of Policy studies. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 benchmarked across four key dimensions. 1) Economic Participation and Opportunity 2) Education Attainment 3) Health and survival 4) Political Empowerment The Gender equality gap is widening instead of reducing. As recently as March 2022, The World Bank Women, Business and the Law 2022 found that around 2.4 Billion Women of Working age are not afforded economic opportunities. 5 Out of 178 Countries, Nigeria comes at 139 projected as a country that still maintains Legal Barriers that prevent Women from full economic participation and access to funds. For so long, Nigerian Women advancement discourses have been neglected and contributions of women to national development have been under reported. Nigeria has a long road to gender equality with unimaginable records of death, rape, child bride, poverty and political disenfranchisement that prevent women from mainstream governance. No thanks to State and Religion as is being practiced today.
However in a) Romans 8: 29-30 For whom he foreknew, he also predestined. Women, we are PREDESTINED OR BETTER
STILL APPOINTED BY GOD, NOT BY MAN GOD HIMSELF APPOINTED US TO REIGN AND RULE. b) Judges 5:7 The Rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased until I, DEBORAH I, AROSE AS A MOTHER IN ISRAEL. Deborah, a Woman like you and I didn’t need permission to do the Right thing for her country. ARISE HAS TODAY BUILT SCHOOLS. PROMOTED PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE by being proactive not reactive through its ARISE WALK FOR LIFE, a global success, introducing exercises, sports as a tool for preventive healthcare delivery. Arise has built skills and empowerment academy thereby putting more women to work. Arise constructed boreholes Arise adopted as a village project. 6 Arise women farmer’s foundation and many other projects. AS ARISE WOMEN, WE AROSE AS MOTHERS IN NIGERIA 1 Corinthians 11:12 Nevertheless in the Lord, Woman is not independent of man nor man of woman for as woman was made from man so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God Galatians 3:22 There is neither Jew nor Greek there is neither Bond nor free, there is neither male nor female. FOR YE ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. This is to say that all things work better when there is unity. At this conference, from today, we must remove fear from our psyche. We need to make fear ineffective. That fear does not allow us to pursue our goals.
WE NEED TO STEP OUT AND STEP UP. According to the National Bureau of Statistics the National average of women’s political participation in Nigeria remains at 6.7% in elective and appointive positions; position which is far below the global average of 22.5%. Currently, only 7 out of 109 Senators and 22 out of the 350 House of Representative members are women. THIS PARTICIPATION LEVEL IS LOW. WE CANNOT INFLUENCE POLICY. Certain policies need urgent attention. We need to do something about it now. There are many forms of Gender inequality that perpetrate the cycle of poverty not only for the women but for their communities too. Advancing women’s agenda demands urgent focus. 7 Kofi Annan says: Gender equality is more than a goal in itself it is a precondition for meeting challenges: 1) Reducing poverty 2) Promoting sustainable development 3) Good governance Ban Ki-moon says: Achieving gender inclusion requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys Its every one’s responsibility. Michelle Obama: No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens. Women, enough of stifling our freedom of expression. Let’s speak up for ourselves and others. There is a dire need for: 1) Respect of the Rule of Law 2) Economic Empowerment 3) Healthcare delivery 4) Education 5) Better sustainable communities 6) Women and all persons to be treated with dignity 7) Earn and maintain leadership positions 8) Defend the rights of Women, men, children, the voiceless 9) Stop domestic violence 10) Stop kidnappings of our girls and rape. (a Chibok girl gave birth to 4 children for four (4) different men whilst in captivity). 11) Secure and safe environment for all. We must begin to engage in all aspects of public life, in particular. Everyday there are accelerating challenges, today we stand on the precipice of unprecedented opportunity to advance women’s right to life. 8 Its not time to turn back, but to advance and keep faith and rekindle our efforts for sustainable growth and freedom from prejudices.
ITS TIME TO ACT LET’S DEMOLISH DISCRIMINATION FIND THE ROAD MAP TO PROGRESS AND PROSPERITY You are here BY APPOINTMENT – Its time to reimagine a better life – Find your purpose – Leave your footprints – Be accountable – Remember thought has no gender – Action has no gender, just rewards – Seize the moment – Arise Go out and Vote Resolve to get Nigeria off the list of the worst 10 countries that have done the least to tackle gender inequality and gender inclusion. Members of the 9th session of the National Assembly (House of Representatives) voted 5 genders equality bills proffered within the review of 68 amendments to the 1999 Constitution. • A bill to provide special seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly – REJECTED. • A bill to expand the scope of citizenship by Registration – REJECTED. • A bill for Affirmative action for women in Political party administration and leadership – REJECTED. • A bill to provide criteria for qualification to become an indigene of a State in Nigeria – REJECTED. • A bill to reserve a quota for women in political appointments – REJECTED. 9 What are the main causes of gender inequality? One of the major causes of gender inequality is the lack of awareness among women about their rights and their ability to achieve equality. This lack of awareness is often due to the prevailing cultural and social norms, which dictate that women should not only be submissive but subservient to men. Africa is the second most unequal continent in the world, and home to seven of the most unequal countries. The richest 0.0001% own 40% of the wealth of the entire continent. Africa’s three richest billionaire men have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population of Africa, approximately 650 million people WOMEN ARE THE BRIDGE BETWEEN GENERATIONS Problem Nigeria has the highest number of child brides in the West African sub region and the 11th highest rate of child marriages globally with an estimated 22 million child brides in the country. Policy Decision Resolve that no child must be given out in marriage, she must be in School. Problem LATEST STATISTIC FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) revealed that Nigeria accounts for 34% of global maternal deaths WHY??? Policy Decision Advocate for better healthcare delivery for women everywhere, maternity centres to curb needless deaths.
REMEMBER, WE ARE HERE BY APPOINTMENT. REMEMBER, WE ARE APPOINTED TO LIVE REMEMBER, WE MUST FIND PURPOSE AND MAKE GOOD CHOICES REMEMBER, ARISE WOMEN NOW IS THE TIME TO ADVANCE; NO MORE RETREAT. 10 STEP UP AND STEP OUT NOW. ARISE TAKEOVER ITS ALL ABOUT GENDER INCLUSION
GOD BLESS YOU