The Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, has bemoaned the marginalisation of women in the country. She said that for the country to make substantial progress, the role of the women must be appreciated.
She spoke at the French Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday night when Women in Africa, led by Costello Abiola, engaged stakeholders.
Mrs Osinbajo, who addressed the gathering, urged the global body to empower women at every level in the country.
“It appears that this body recognises the dignity of the African woman. Africa is proud. But in good women. I have two requests. Let us be one of those that give help to women from outside, and the second is that we should help from within. It appears women are marginalised in Nigeria. We are looked down upon,” Mrs Osinbajo said.
“Many people appear as if they look up to you, but look down on you. I am an African woman and like other women, I need help too. For every woman you help, you’re helping an entire community or village or town. Men should realise that for every woman that is helped, everyone is helped too.”
Abiola, who was presented during the event as the new president of the global body, said if Nigeria and Africa must develop, women must take their rightful place.
She said the global body will reach out to every nook and cranny of Nigeria and Africa and will ensure that real change is felt across the continent.
She said: “What do we have in Africa we can grow? Our communities are stronger than what we have in the Western world. What we have in these communities are women. We represent only 3% of the world’s economy. If we are going to grow Africa, the strong must grow the weak. It is time for us to take responsibility.
“We convened this meeting in January because we want to succeed. We will meet in Morocco in June to discuss the future of women in Africa. We will have an event in Nigeria where people will bring their ideas. We will come up with a White Paper report.
“The story that China is representing to the world, Nigeria can do the same. If we give Nigerian women the opportunity, they will change the world. We have the power to do that. We need to come together and do something for ourselves. Let the story of Africa success story begin with us.”
Founder of Women in Africa, Aude de Thuin, while speaking, said the world cannot develop until women are carried along in the scheme of things.
“I don’t know how you can change the world without women. This is a time to have more women running the economy of the world who are from Africa.
“It is better to have men around to better understand the plight of women. Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa and it needs to show to the world that it can lead the way for the rest of the continent to follow,” de Thuin said.