As the global community marks International Women’s Day, Cakasa Engineering Company and Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation have emphasised the need for gender equality and women empowerment.
They made the call at an event to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) on Wednesday at Mushin, a suburb of Lagos.
The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of CAKASA Nigeria Company Ltd, Mr Barnabas Olise, said that IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign topic was created by its initiators to start a global conversation on why equal opportunities were not enough.
Represented by Mrs Folake Akangbe, Manager, Personnel Service, Olise said that true inclusion and belonging required equitable action since everyone had her own distinctiveness.
The chief executive officer said that flowing from the general theme for 2023, the United Nations had further made the theme for the year: “DigitALL Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.
“In both our business operations and as an organisation, Cakasa Nigeria Company Ltd. continues to place a high priority on gender equality and empowerment.
“This is in line with accepted international best practices.
“At Cakasa, we are aiming to develop novel approaches to assist our women in realising their human capital and become leaders, and change makers for resilient and inclusive development.
“Women’s participation is crucial for organisational and societal advancement.
“As part of our corporate social responsibility initiatives, led by Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation (CEF), our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, we have encouraged women’s economic empowerment in tandem with girls’ educational advancement as a strategy to accelerate women’s inclusivity,” Olise said.
He said that Cakasa was currently sponsoring the education of 10 young girls up to university level in Education District 1 Alimosho Local Government Area in Lagos State as a means of promoting gender equity.
According to him, Women’s opportunities to pursue careers in fields related to Science, Technology. Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are reduced if they are unable to access the Internet and do not feel secured doing so.
“This is because they are unable to acquire the digital skills required to participate in digital spaces.
“Seventy five per cent of jobs by 2050 will be in STEM fields,” Olise said.
He, however, said that just 22 per cent of roles in Artificial Intelligence, for example, were held by women in the world today.
He said that when women were involved in technology, more innovative solutions and innovations that supported gender equality and catered for the needs of women were produced.
“Contrarily, their exclusion has significant financial consequences.
“We, at Cakasa Nigeria Company Ltd., will continue to drive for women inclusiveness especially in our core practice areas of Science, Technology. Engineering and Mathematics.
“I wish you a Happy International Women’s Day,” Olise said.
On her part, the Executive Director of Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation, Mrs Helen Egbe, urged women in Mushin Community to be change makers.
“We need women who would come and change the world.
“The men have done it for so long. It’s time we need women to come up and let’s see what women can do,’’ Egbe said.
She supported her position by lending some quotes from renown women across the globe.
“Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States of America says that if we do not lift up women and families, everyone was so short.
“Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the U.S., says that there’s no limit to what we as women can accomplish.
“Maya Angelou, a renown revolutionist says each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.
“Serena Williams said that every woman success should be an inspiration to another. We are strongest when we cheer each other on,” Egbe quoted the women as saying.
The executive director said that the foundation decided to partner with five schools within the Mushin area to celebrate women because of its vision to transform society and give hope to the less privileged.
According to her, the foundation has prioritised Education, Empowerment, Health, Research and Development tools that are five focal areas.
Egbe said that as part of the foundation’s CSR, it decided to impact the women, mothers of the children of New City Primary School, Papa Ajao, Oduduwa, New Estate Primary School because they were the ones who really were at home most of the time with the children
She said that their impact on the lives of the children could not be underestimated.
She said that the foundation would be partnering another foundation to expose the women to digital technological innovation.
Egbe expressed gratitude to the women for giving up their tight schedule to honour their invitation.
She also expressed gratitude to the education secretary of the district and the teachers and pupils of the schools for their participation.
Also speaking, Education Secretary, Mushin Local Government Education Authority, Princess Olu Akinlude, expressed appreciation to Mushin women for their resilience.
“Many of the women in our community are so strong,’’ Akinlude said.
She said that the “I can do it” spirit of women was second to none, saying that they had also trained their children in like manner.
“We are going out every time wherever we are, to propagate the the resilience of these women and to find a way of encouraging them in the area of specialties.
“That is what we have been doing even in our Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), empowering them in some training on the use of their hands,” Akinlude said.
She said that the council was in talks with some development partners to build the capacity of the women in their chosen career.
In her keynote address, Agboola Olusola called on women to leverage technology to better their lives.
Olusola said that with the aid of technology, the ordinary things done could be transformed with better value addition.
According to her, there is a world of possibilities for women to thrive in the world.
She urged women to make good use of their smartphones to improve on what they did.
The event was graced by women within the Mushin locality, staff of the Foundation and the Cakasa company, teachers from selected schools and principal staff of the LGEA.