By Desmond Ejibas
Mr Aruna Amirthanayagam, Counsellor, Public Affairs, US Embassy in Nigeria, on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, called on the Federal Government to consider the inclusion of more women in leadership and governance positions.
Amirthanayagam made the call during a meeting to commemorate the 2021 Women’s History Month, according to a statement by the US Consulate General Information Specialist, Temitayo Famutimi.
The meeting had in attendance, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Stephen Okodudu, and the alumni of Rivers Chapter of the US Government Exchange Programme.
Amirthanayagam was quoted as having described the inclusion of women in leadership and governance positions as crucial to the development of every country.
He said: “This is because without women’s inclusive participation in society, any gains in economic growth and development, as well as advances in science and technology, are unsustainable.
“The US Mission in Nigeria recognises the importance of women’s inclusion for national security and economic growth.
“The inclusion is why the White House launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative which supports women through various capacity building programmes, mentorship seminars and entrepreneurship programmes,” the diplomat said.
Amirthanayagam said aside the W-GDP, the US government also launched the TechWomen Programme, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme and the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs.
“Economically, women make their families, communities and countries stronger,” he said.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of UNIPORT, Prof. Stephen Okodudu, said the university management had explored ways to promote women’s equal participation within its campus community.
He expressed his commitment to advance equality of women on campus and urged the university community to commit to the same goal.
On his part, Prof. Andrew Efemini of the Department of Philosophy in UNIPORT said the Women’s History Month was important in pushing for gender equality for women.
“Aside moving gender equality forward, the day is also for building networks of women who support women.
“The importance of education cannot be over emphasized as education ensures women are able to reach their full potential in the public sphere,” he stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that March is celebrated internationally as Women’s History Month, which highlights the contributions of women to events in history, science, contemporary society and humanity.