Osun delegation led by First Lady makes state proud with quality representation @ The UN-CSW 68 Session

By Cyriakus Nnaji

Osun State must indeed be proud of those they sent as delegation to the Side event organized by Nurses Across The Borders, in Collaboration with The UN Women NGO Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 68 Session and the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission with the Osun State Government.

The event titled ‘Gender Inequality, a Risk to Social Protective Systems for Women’ was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, March 18, 2024.

At the crux of the event was the urgent need to increase efforts to ensure social protection that explicitly promotes gender equality.

Hence the major focus of the Osun State delegation was on the urgent need for facilitation of collaboration between Osun State and Nurses Across the Borders in Fighting Gender Inequality.

Speaking on what she titled Gender Inequality and its Impact on Social Protection for Women’, the Osun State First Lady, Her Excellency, Chief Mrs. Titilola Adeleke, who was the Special Guest of Honour and Guest Speaker  said, “Gender inequality remains a stark reality in our society, despite significant advancements in women’s rights and empowerment. It manifests in various forms, from unequal pay and limited access to education and healthcare to gender-based violence and discrimination in the workplace. These systemic disparities not only undermine the fundamental rights of women but also pose a serious threat to our social protective system.”

She said that women make up a significant portion of the workforce, contributing their skills, talents, and dedication to the growth and prosperity of the nations. “However, due to gender inequality, many women face barriers to accessing essential social protections such as fair wages, maternity leave, healthcare benefits, and pension rights. This not only perpetuates economic disparities but also hinders women’s ability to secure their well-being and that of their families.”

She stated that as First Lady of Osun State, she is committed to gender equality advocacy. “I am committed to advocating for gender equality and empowering women to break down barriers and achieve their full potential. It is imperative that we work together to dismantle the structures that perpetuate gender inequality, promote equal opportunities for all, and ensure that our social protective system is truly inclusive and supportive of women’s rights,” Chief (Mrs) Adeleke said.

The Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Welfare, Barrister Abimbola Babatude, in a paper themed: ‘Addressing Women and Girls Trafficking as a National Crime: A Call for Local Action’, maintained that Human trafficking, particularly the trafficking of women and girls, is a global issue that transcends borders and affects millions of lives every year, adding that while it is often viewed as an international crime, the reality is that human trafficking has significant local dimensions that require urgent attention.

Speaking on what she called Local Context of Women and Girls Trafficking, she said, “Human trafficking of women and girls occurs not only across international borders but also within countries, within communities, and even within families. The Vulnerable populations, including migrants, refugees, and marginalized groups, are particularly at risk of falling prey to traffickers.”

Speaking on way forward Babatude said that to effectively combat women and girls trafficking as a national crime, it is imperative to mobilize local communities, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and policymakers. “Local action should focus on raising awareness about the issue, providing support services for survivors, strengthening legal frameworks, and enhancing cooperation between local and national authorities. Empowering women and girls through education, economic opportunities, and social support is also crucial in preventing trafficking and breaking the cycle of exploitation.”

Wife of head of service, Dr. Aina Mojisola, in her paper titled ‘Localizing the United Nations Affirmative Action, the Osun State Initiative, Problems, Progress and Prospects’, stated that in the quest to implement the United Nations 50-50 affirmative action, Osun State, through the unusual administration of our amiable Governor, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, has prioritized the need for inclusivity of women in his 5–point Action Plan.

She added that Osun State women are placed in top ranking positions where critical decisions are taken on issues bordering on the development of the State. “It is noteworthy that the creation of a Ministry to specifically address the issues of women is a commitment to the affirmative action as far as the state government is concerned. The Ministry is expected to bring to the fore burner, all issues pertaining to the development of the women folk and their participation in local and national issues.”

Mojisola stated that in pursuance of the laudable objective, the Ministry of Women Affairs has been seriously involved in the sensitization of women to be actively engaged in politics and leadership positions. “These include public awareness, dialogues with relevant stakeholders, girl – child/ boy – child educational programs to build their capacity for development. The State Governor, being a gender passionate leader, established a Directorate for Gender within the ministry of women affairs with the key mandate to facilitate the mainstreaming of gender issues in the development process in the state and build a society where all persons regardless of gender, are equal partners in shaping the economic, educational, political, cultural and social development of the state in particular and Nigeria at large.”

Other members of the delegation include Mr. Mayowa Patrick Aluko -Data Quality and Incident Analyst, Project Consultant, Gender Analyst and Property Consultant whose paper was on: Women in Politics as Part of Inclusivity in Economic Development and Gender Equality.

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Other members of the Osun State team was Ms. Lola Adewale-Director of Gender, Min of Women, Children and Social Affairs, Osun and the Director of Women Affairs-Mrs. Oluyemisi Oladele and Hon Halid Temilade (Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor on Children Affairs).

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