In appreciation of women all over the world, the Annual International Women’s day celebration was held on Wednesday the 8th of March, 2017 with the theme as Be Bold for Change; Entrepreneurship as Catalyst for Change. In celebration of this day, the CBN South-South Entrepreneurship Development Centre in partnership with Mediatrix Foundation, organized the 3rd annual Women in Entrepreneurship Conference which held at Prof. Eyo Ita House, Cross River State.
The programme started with a welcome address by the SSEDC program manager, Mr. Emeka Nnamani who reminded the women of the need to engage in entrepreneurial activities that will make them more financially independent as wealth is gender neutral. He said the SSEDC understands the importance of gender inclusiveness and has organized specific programs for market women, faith based groups and other women groups. This move, Mr. Nnamani stated, stemmed from research conducted by the centre, women manage and provide more support for their dependents more than their male counterparts, hence an empowered woman is an empowered society.
The Mother of the day, Distinguished Senator Florence Ita Giwa started by commending the organizers of the event as she enjoyed all the interactions amongst women. According to her, she believes that women should be celebrated everyday not just on one particular day; she further said that for a long time, Women’s voices have been low and it’s time for that to stop. She emphasised on the need for the modern woman to balance the diverse duties of being a woman and encourage one another. Senator Ita Giwa advised that women should show up and voice out. Refuse to be intimidated, because that is our greatest limitation. Stating that she looks forward to Nigeria having female governors, female vice-presidents who will truly show that women has what it takes to be outstanding leaders. Senator Ita Giwa ended by encouraging the women present to leave the event without any fear and to know that the sky is definitely their starting point. In her words: “Be confident, be strong, respect each other and be confident.”
The special guest of honour for the day, Her Excellency, the First lady of Cross River State, Dr. Linda Ayade while delivering a speech on Women been the Society’s pillars for change said it’s sad that women continue to face numerous challenges that include; poverty, domestic violence, harmful cultural practices, maternal mortality, and girl child abuse amongst others, some hundred years after the women rights bill was signed into effect by the UN. To her poverty affects everyone but the woman the most as she is the pillar of the family. If a woman is poor, the family is poor and once a woman is destabilized, the society is destabilized. She stated that entrepreneurship development is the best instrument to elevate women and make them contribute more to the society. She informed the audience that she has partnered with SSEDC to train women from some local government across the States and will continue to use her office to champion courses that promote women. She appreciated the SSEDC and the work done to help the people of Cross River State and encouraged them to keep up with the good work and the partnership would continue as long as there are positive changes in the lives of the people.
The event came to close with a facility tour and exhibition led by the SSEDC manager for the First lady, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa and other guests who could not hide their excitement. The day also featured a radio show by women on HIT 95.9fm Calabar and inauguration of a group “Fully Enough Incorporated” to promote interest of women in the society.
International women’s day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women; the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The objectives of this conference is to participate in the global campaign for women and girls to take ground breaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women and to empower more women for the work ahead toward nation building.