Hon. (Comrade) Comfort Oladunni Olafare, a student leader, community activist, gender advocate and an entrepreneur, has called for the change of narrative in the fight against gender inequality to enhance women capacity building.
Comrade Comfort, the first and former female President, Igbogbo Students’ Union (ISU), made the call in a chat with THE IMPACT while representing Nigeria at the maiden edition of the Young African Leaders Summit held at the Accra International Conference, Accra, Ghana, between 22 and 23 of November, 2019.
The theme of the youth summit, which was recently concluded and attended by over 500 youths across the continent, was, “Securing the future of Africa: The roles of African youths, business leaders and entrepreneurs”.
According Comrade Comfort, the summit emphasized more on youth development, capacity building and promoting youth participation in decision making, crisis of leadership in Africa, the key role of network to development, closing the gap between the leaders and the society, and also the role of women in reducing poverty and producing peace in Africa.
She added that, “The importance of the summit is not far-fetched, it has helped to analyse the need for capacity building for youths so as to have a voice in the community, state and country at large and the need to promote youth participation in decision making, analyse issues confronting African and proffering solutions which will be forwarded as a communique to each Africa country”.
Speaking on how women, especially young women can key into the process of securing the future of Africa, she called for capacity building for women.
“It’s no longer news that our women fight for gender equality but enough of fighting for that. Why not let’s channel our strength to women capacity building?” , she stated.
“If Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti of Nigeria could be a force to be reckoned with in the 90’s, Njeri Rionge of Kenya could be recognized both home and abroad, Divine Ndhlukula of Zimbabwe, Salwa Akhannouch of Morocco, Hajia Bola Shagaya of Nigeria, why should the 21st century women feel fighting for gender is paramount to capacity building?”, she asked.
She called for cooperation among women and the need to assist one another if they are to make any appreciable impact in the development of their society, country and Africa.
“Men tend to support one other, believe in one another and do not indulge in backbiting and this has earned them landmark achievements and good representation. Is that the case in women’s world?”
“In our (women) world, we tend to bring one another down by not giving ultimate support. We also indulge in backbiting, beefing, gossiping, envying, et al, yet, we consider gender inequality as our major problem.
“Men tend to work more with competent women, groomed and grounded women while the same sex do otherwise but hide under the umbrella of gender inequality”, she added.
“We have the largest number of gender(female) in the world’s population but we are yet to produce Governor, President. Do we have more women in leadership positions?. Isn’t this shameful?”.
She called for more enlightenment campaign and engagement of women in capacity building to make them force to be reckoned with, both at home and abroad.
“Let’s engage women, bring them together, change their mindset/orientation towards life, give quality education, groom and nurture them for self-actualization so as to become a force to be reckoned with from the grassroots up to the community and the nation at large.
“Let’s learn to embrace one another, let Women Support Women (WSW). Let’s display genuine love while we build one another” , she advocated.
While charging youths never to give up on their dreams, Comrade Comfort also enjoined them to get engaged in politics.
“My words for the youths is that they should never give up on their dreams, vision, goals and ambition. With consistency and unrelenting efforts, we shall get there. Involvement in Politics is relevant for decision making but first ask yourself, “What do I bring to the table?”, she stated.
Hon. Comfort Olafare who is an undergraduate student from the prestigious Lagos State University, Ojo, is a member of the Nigeria Youth Parliament (NYP), representing Lagos East Senatorial District and also the Secretary of the Southwest Caucus of the NYP.