Women Need Proper Mentorship, Education To Thrive In Politics -Mrs Akeredolu


Wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has asserted that Nigerian women could only advance in politics with the right education and mentorship.

The First Lady made the assertion on Wednesday while featuring virtually on ‘The Other Room”, a live programme of Darling 107.3FM, Owerri, Imo State.

She said: “The process is difficult, admittedly, but it is not insurmountable. We need to create the space for mentoring, so that women can see that these things can be done. Mentoring is very important. What is needed is the right orientation and mentoring. When you dare as a woman, you create space for younger women to come closer and learn.

“That is the only way our women can begin to see that, after all, I can do it. I can run for political offices, be it chairmanship, governorship or even presidential. It is no rocket science.

“It only takes determination, commitment, knowing what you’re doing, and, of course, intellectual capacity. Education is very important. These are the factors that give women the audacity to step out and run for political positions.”

The First Lady contended that it is not always correct that women do not support themselves, identifying lack of self worth as a critical factor that must be addressed in order to help women to take their rightful places in politics and leadership.

Hear her; “It’s not correct in the outright to say that women do not support themselves. The election of a female gubernatorial candidate by members of the All Progressives Congress in Adamawa State was made possible largely by the support of fellow women. This is an exemption and a good example of the fact that women can support themselves.

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“More often than not, women lack the audacity to get involved. Many women feel that they are not worthy or that they cannot do it. So when we now talk about political participation, it would appear like a tall order. And in the process, some may even try to bring you down or tell you that politics is men’s forte. But this attitude can be changed.”

Mrs Akeredolu also identified the way children are raised as having a fundamental impact on what they become in terms of self-worth.

She, however, stressed the need for both long and short term approaches to solving the problem of self-doubt.

According to her: “The problem starts with the way children are raised. How do people look at a girl child or a woman? Do they see her as somebody that is worthy beyond the roles of making babies, cooking and cleaning? The way a girl child is raised will definitely impact on the way she sees herself. So, right from the beginning, there is the gap of self worth.

“We can tackle the challenge using two approaches, the long term and the short term. The long term approach begins at home; it has to do with the way we raise our children, the gender relations in your home. Do you raise your children equally or there are imbalances? The short term approach is to delibrately orientate grown up girls, boost their self awareness and self worth through strategic programmes and to make them realise that no vocation or profession is the exclusive preserve of men.”

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Anyanwu-Akeredolu identified our cultural milieu as a factor which contributes to the obstacles women face in politics.

She however mentioned that there are men who, despite the prevalence of patriarchy, still support women’s political ambitions and that it is important to find them out to seek their support.

In her words: “Usually, women are not given the right allowance and support to be able to participate in politics effectively, reasons being the cultural milieu in which we are raised and women’s inertia. But then, for some of us who dare, we need to rally others to support our aspirations. There are men we termed the “He4She”. These men support women to attain leadership positions. So, we need to recognise that there abound these men in our society and reach out to them for support.

“We are yet to get to that stage where ideas alone will carry you through, and that is the reason money is still part of the obstacles. More often than not, women are not known to have the kind of fund required for playing the brand of politics we play here. Even when you are not necessarily buying votes, you need money for obtaining nomination forms, logistics and other relevant facilities. These are basic things that you must make preparation for before you begin to reach out to people for support.”

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The governor’s wife said the Bemore Empowered Girl’s Foundation, where hundreds of girls between the ages of 10-15 are trained annually during a two-week boot camp is a deliberate way to grow girls’ interest in digital technology and to let them know that the field of technology is gender-neutral.

She added: “We need to do a whole lot of sensitisation to change the wrong perceptions; We have to be intentional about it. No culture is sacrosanct. Cultures do change. We must begin to correct the attitude of self-doubts in women and make them realise that every woman is capable and that women have roles to play in the socioeconomic develop of their communities.

“Women should participate in politics because that is where the chess game is played. They need to be at the decision-making tables to be able to push the right policies. When women are well represented in leadership as men are, they will be able to push pro-women issues as men push theirs, and that way, we will achieve a balanced world.”


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