As the global community marks International Women’s Day (IWD), Cakasa Engineering Company and the Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation have emphasized the need for gender equality and women empowerment. They made the call at an event to mark International Women’s Day on Wednesday at Mushin, a suburb of Lagos.
The Managing Director/ CEO of CAKASA Nig. COY 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 are not enough. Represented by Mrs Folake Akangbe, Manager, Personnel Service, Olise said that true inclusion and belonging require equitable action since everyone has their own distinctiveness.
The CEO said that flowing from the general theme for 2023, the United Nations has further made their theme for the year: “DigitALL Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
According to Olise, “In both our business operations and as an organization, Cakasa Nigeria Company Limited 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 organizational and societal advancement. As part of our corporate social responsibility initiatives, led by Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation (CEF), our CSR arm, we have encouraged women’s economic empowerment in tandem with girls’ educational advancement as a strategy to accelerate women’s inclusivity.”
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. He stressed that 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 secure doing so.
“This is because they are unable to acquire the digital skills required to participate in digital spaces,” Olise said, adding, “75 per cent of jobs by 2050 will be in STEM fields.”
He, however, said that just 22 per cent of roles in artificial intelligence, for example, were held by women in the world today. He maintained that when women were involved in technology, more innovative solutions and innovations that support gender equality and cater to the needs of women are produced.
Olise furher stated: “Contrarily, their exclusion has significant financial consequences. We, at Cakata Nigeria Company Limited, 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.”
On her part, the Executive Director of Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation, Mrs Helen Egbe urged Mushin women to be change makers: “We need women who would come and change the world. The men have done it so long. It’s time we need women to come up, and let’s see what women can do.”
Egbe supported her position by lending some quotes from renowned women across the globe thusly: “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 US, says that there’s no limit to what we as women can accomplish. And Maya Angelou, a renowned 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.”
The Executive Director said that the Foundation decided to partner with the five schools within the Mushin area to celebrate women because of its vision to transform society and give hope to the less privilege.
According to her, the foundation has prioritised education, empowerment, Health, Research and development tools that are five focal areas. Mrs. 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 are the ones who really are home most of the time with the children.
She said that their impact on the lives of the children cannot be underestimated. She informed that the foundation would be partnering another foundation to expose the women to digital technological innovation.
She expressed gratitude to the women for given up their tight schedule to honour their invitation, and the education secretary of the district and the teachers and pupils of the schools fir their participation.
Also speaking, Princess Olu Akinlude, Education Secretary, Mushin Local Government Education Authority, expressed appreciation to Mushin women for their resilience.
“Many of the women in our community are so strong,” Akinlude said.
She stated that the “I can do it” spirit of the women is second to none, adding that they have also trained their children in like manner.
“We are going out every time wherever we are, to propagate the resilience of these women and to find a way of encouraging them in the area of specialties,” she stressed, adding, “That is what we have been doing even in our LGEA, empowering them in some training on the use of their hands.”
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, Engineer Agboola Olusola, called on the women to leverage technology to better their lives. Olusola said that with the aid of technology, the ordinary things you do could be transformed with better value addition. According to her, there is a world of possibilities for women to thrive in the world.
She advised the women not to spend precious time gossiping away or watching movies on their phones, and admonished them to make good use of their smartphones to improve on what they do.
The event was graced by women within the Mushin locality, staff of the foundation, the Cakasa Company, teachers from selected schools, and principal staff of the LGEA.