The clamour for gender equality and inclusion of more females in leadership positions, is still resonating across the globe.
The throbbing agitation is for obvious reasons.
A major factor for this renewed tempo is this year’s International Women’s Day(IWD).
The theme highlighted the contributions of women to the global battle with the deadly coronavirus.
The pandemic, along with its horrific crises has, heightened the renewed crusade, as women worked tirelessly with their male counterparts in hospitals and care centers, as frontline health personnel.
Despite these unquantifiable contributions, many ladies are often shoved aside both in private and public settings.
Till date, men still outnumber women, three to one in government COVID-19 task forces, around the world.
United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), UN Women, and the Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) at the University of Pittsburgh revealed this gender imbalance in a recent study.
‘Such disproportionate representations will hamper women’s recovery from the pandemic,’ the researchers stated.
This disparity is quite glaring in Nigeria and developing societies, where women and girls, abused and denied basic rights to survival, education, health, land ownership and roles in decision-making processes.
These barriers and violations are rooted in religious and cultural norms.
But according to development experts, society is paying a huge price for the deliberate exclusion of women from leadership.
Hence the renaissance for ladies to occupy leading seats in governments and boards of corporations is gaining momentum, among some organizations and governments.
United States Government Exchanges Alumni Association(USGEAA), has joined the fray, by honouring, some of its accomplished female icons, with the ‘USGEAA Women Achievers Award’
The awardees included Prof Olayinka Abosede, Prof Chioma Agomo, Dr Taofikat Adesalu.
Others were Dr Maymunah Kadiri, Comfort Adogo, Hussainah Aboki and Dange Sahabi.
The association, which is an umbrella body of all the fellows and beneficiaries of US-sponsored scholarships and fellowships in Nigeria, said this initiative will become an annual event, in line with the global observance.
The group also selected several female alumni, who have shown remarkable excellence in piloting several development projects in society.
A discourse with some of them on the success of their diverse transformational enterprises was quite exhilarating and pedagogic.
Their towering accomplishments provide an impetus to women to acquire quality education, digital skills and vital trainings that will acquit them with, top-tier capacities, to compete effectively for leadership positions, locally and internationally.
Check out the fantastic profiles of the amazing fellows and their award-winning transformational projects below.
Omowale Ogunrinde, an award-winning and accomplished entrepreneur in wealth creation across Nigeria.
She established Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy in 2003, to empower unemployed youths, with with professional and entrepreneurship skills to access industry jobs or set up profitably viable businesses through mentoring, trainings and networking.
Working with local and international partners, she has trained over 10,000 persons in 12 states of Nigeria, including the Chibok women.
She is a recipient of the prestigious IVLP Gold Star, TIAW USA, one of One Hundred People Making a Difference, UN Recognition on MDG Goals, Lagos State Excellence in Entrepreneurship Development and 2017 Wise Woman Awards.
Ogunrinde was the former interim president of the IVLP Alumni Association and founded the resourceful Public-Schools Mentoring Program.
She has a BSc from University of Ife, an MBA from University of Lagos and currently pursuing a diploma with Wharton Business School. She is an author, mentor and trainer.
Dr. Benedicta Agusiobo was the first Nigerian female elected Vice President of the World Council of Curriculum and Instruction International. She is an accomplished educational expert of 30 years’ experience in Education, has a PhD. Curriculum Studies.
She has made significant impacts to the improvement of education nationally and internationally through development of national policies on HIV &AIDS for the education sector, Teacher Education, Integrated Early Childhood Policy and researches.
At the Human Rights Center University of Minnesota, she developed K12 Curriculum for preschools and taught in an integrated classroom, with special needs children at the International Classroom connection in Minnesota.
She conducted 12 country studies on Family Child Care and Child psychosocial developments in UNICEF Headquarters which findings influenced rights based programming in UNICEF programme, NY.
She is the CEO, Children and Women`s First International Foundation (CAWFIF) focused on children`s rights and has over 100 publications in journals.
She is a recipient of the Leadership Award for Internationals, Human Rights Award and Distinguished Educator in Nigeria by Nigerian Education Times.
Dr. Rosemary Danesi, an alumna of Fulbright Scholars is a senior lecturer in the department of Employment Relations & Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.
She has a BSc. Sociology degree, an MSc in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management, an LLB, LLM from the University of Lagos, BL from the Nigerian Law School, and a PhD in Law from the University of Essex, United Kingdom.
She has served and is still serving in many committees at departmental, faculty and university levels. She is currently an elected member of the Senate of the University of Lagos.
She specializes in human resource management, employment relations and labour/ employment law. She is the USGEAA Vice President, Projects.
Abosede Oyeleye is the Founder and Executive Director of Children Emergency Relief Foundation, which provides support for orphans, vulnerable children, their families and indigent communities.
The foundation has supported over 20,000 children and empowered more than 1000 women.
Abosede is an executive of USGEEA and National Child Rights Advocate of Nigeria.
She attended the prestigious University of Minnesota Law School, during her Humphrey Fellowship.
She is also a 2018 recipient of the institution’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award for Internationals in the US.
As a seasoned grassroot social worker, Oyeleye established Christ Army Schools, to provide quality and affordable education to the underserved.
Nosa Tukura is a Hubert Humphrey fellow, with over 33 years of working experience, including as a Physics lecturer at the Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi and the University of Jos.
She is the co-initiator of three non-governmental organizations and the CEO of Hephzi-Sheman Consult.
She serves as a guest lecturer to the Nigeria Institute of Policy & Strategic Studies.
A consultant and external facilitator to some corporate organisations, Tukura is a prominent leader on several continental and global networks.
Adeze Ojukwu is a multiple award-winning journalist and an alumnus of 2003/2004 Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship, at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA.
From 2007 to 2009, she was a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Fourah College, in University of Sierra Leone, under the Technical Aids Corps(TAC) diplomatic mission.
Her media experience spans over 22 years of robust media reportage and analysis of burning global and local issues.
Ojukwu, with a Bachelors of Arts(BA) in English from University of Nigeria(UNN) and a Master of Science(MSc) in Mass Communication, is the founder of www.devcomradar.org magazine and the premier Editor of Harvest Africa, as well as a member of United Nations (UN) Volunteers organization and an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
As a serial newspaper columnist, she passionately deploys several modern multi-media platforms to write incisive articles to positively, influence public policies on gender equality, youth empowerment and environmental protection and other global campaigns.
Peace Nnabugwu is a TechWomen fellow with over 11 years of working experience, as an applied physicist at the National Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (NCEEC), Lagos, an agency in the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Abuja. She currently serves as the Head, Research Planning of NCEEC.
She is the visionary of the African Women Industrialization(AWI) Awards and the Country Director of Science Ambassadors Foundation(SAF).
Her advocacy projects are focussed on women empowerment, gender equality and access to quality education for indigent children.
Nnabugwu authored a textbook, entitled ‘Fun Physics,’ featuring contributions of women operating in science and technology fields, to encourage the young generation to embrace science education.
Amanda Obidike is a multi-award winning social innovator, technologist and scientist.
She is the Executive Director of STEMi Makers Africa. In this role, she provides leadership, strategy management.
She also oversees the design and implementation of sustainable Community projects and STEM Education across 19 Sub-Saharan countries by preparing the next generation of Africans with scientific and lucrative skills for Africa’s workforce.
Anu Adelakun, a recipient of Carrington Youth Fellowship(CYF) is an award-winning journalist, with The Cable Newspaper and development-focused documentary producer.
Some of her works, many of which have been featured on BBC/CNN have won several awards and triggered reactions from governments and institutions across Nigeria.
Raquel Daniel, another CYF beneficiary, is the founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation.
She works in marginalized communities in Nigeria, focusing on education for children and sexual and reproductive health for adolescent girls, through Beyond the Classroom Foundation.
Franscisca Chiedu-Otu, also of CYF is the Director of Charles Development Foundation.
In 2015, her organization, partnered with two organizations, namely, Citizens Connect and CivicTech to boost accountability and transparency in public service, using civic innovation tools for citizens’ engagement were deployed.
Tinuola Aina, is the USGEAA Secretary General and the former Assistant National Secretary, YALI RLC Alumni Nigeria Chapter and a UN Women Global Champion for Change.
A beneficiary of Young African Leaders Initiative(YALI) RLC, Aina is a seasoned development professional and the Events and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at African ChangeMakers Initiative.
She executes developmental projects geared towards youth leadership, women and girls empowerment and women in governance.
She is a highly cerebral and dynamic entrepreneur, with an impressive track-record of initiating and executing youth empowerment and leadership trainings for women.
Aisha Bubah, a product of YALI RLC is the former President of the Nigeria Alumni chapter and a psychologist.
She has over six years experience, working in various mental health sectors including psychiatric care, drug use rehabilitation, school and community settings.
She currently runs a Psychological services firm called The Sunshine Series-Mind Wellness Ltd, focused on improving access to quality mental health care for all.
Through her work, Bubah has trained over 50 lay counsellors and psychological first aiders, who currently work in various sectors and improving access to mental health support at grassroots level.
She has featured on various media platforms discussing mental health like Voice of America, Radio France, NTA, AIT, The Guardian among others.
Emmanuella Akinola, an alumnus of MFW is an inclusion and Diversity professional with 10 years experience in providing digital skills and tools for persons with visual impairment, accessibility auditing and inclusive policy design.
She serves as Managing Partner at AccessTech Innovation and Director of programs at Disability Awareness and Development Initiative ( DADI) a business and Non-profit respectively.
Ugochi Obidiegwu, an alumna of MFW is a social development strategist, with a specialty in creating products, programmes and providing policy advisory on pressing development issues affecting young Africans.
Her major work pillars are around ensuring child safety, reducing substance abuse in youths and providing strategy for social impact initiatives.
Funmi Ilori, is another MWF and a product of Clark Atlanta University, USA and a President Barack Obama Young African Leader.
She is the founder of iRead Mobile Library, Nigeria’s foremost innovative ‘books on wheels’ for children.
She is also the CEO of iRise Model School, a network of affordable nursery and primary, which is a blended learning model for schools.
Ilori is an author of children’s literatures, a prolific storyteller and social mobilizer.
Obidike’s amazing programmes in safety education, during the pandemic was featured by the UN OHCHR.
Her passion for wholesome development of young people is outstanding, hence has a strong of medals to her credit.
.Ojukwu a veteran journalist and USGEAA member, wrote this treatise, to bolster the international campaign to empower women, as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS). Please kindly send feedback to [email protected]