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Stakeholders advocate mentorship, investment in women to accelerate progress

Stakeholders in the development sector have advocated the need to empower, mentor, and invest in women to quicken sustainable development.

The stakeholders made the call during a ceremony tagged `Purple Ball 2024’ with the theme: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress ‘’ to mark the 2024 International Women’s Day in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Purple Ball was organised by Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiatives and Glamodi Women and Girls Development Initiative to celebrate women’s achievements and encourage them.

Ms. Onyinye Vincent, convener of Purple Ball and founder and executive director of Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiatives, said that investment in women in terms of education and mentorship would spur their development.

According to her, this is necessary because nothing can ever be achieved if women are not literate and are not able to think for themselves.

“Women have to know their rights and be able to ask for their rights. Mentorship helps guide women on the right paths with wisdom as they navigate life’s journey.

“Women also need money. So we need to ensure that women have access to money and also to properties.

“So being able to invest in women in this way will go a long way toward accelerating progress.’’

The keynote speaker, Kemi Gbadamosi, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Marketing, Africa Bureau, Aids Healthcare Foundation, said that investing in women has a multiplier effect and social and economic dividends.

“What does investing look like beyond just education? It has implications even for health; women become financially independent and more financially reliant, and by so doing, they can invest even on the home front.

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“So when we invest in women, we will have more women in all spheres of the economy, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

“For a long time. STEM was dominated by men. But now we are seeing women also take up that space.

“You see, girls are learning to code, and that’s one of the powers of investing.”

Also, Mrs. Stephanie Apel, Executive Director, Glamodi Women and Girls Development Initiative and Co-Convener of the Purple Ball, said the organisation works to empower women and girls to take their rightful place in society.

“A ball event is a celebratory event, and the reason for us having this purple ball to mark Women’s Day is to celebrate the journeys of women.

“There are a lot of women doing great things; some are seen and some are not seen.

“So we bring them together, spotlight them, and also bring mentors to talk to them so that they will be encouraged to go out there and do great things.’’

Other stakeholders advocated the inclusion of women in governance as well as in building peace in Nigeria.

Mrs. Aderonke Olisa, Executive Director of the Ladies of Virtue and Excellence International Foundation, who stressed the need for mentorship, added that there was a gap between the older and younger generations.

“The older women are fighting for equality and inclusion, but when you look at the younger women, they do not really have the skills or are not prepared to take up these positions.

“That is where mentorship comes in, so we pair older women with younger women in different careers so that they can show them practical ways to actually take up these positions.‘’

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Ms. Habiba Ghazali, Senior Project Officer, Search for Common Ground, called for the implementation of the document on the women, peace, and security agenda to empower more women for peacebuilding and to be at the decision table. (NAN)

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