Former Nigeria First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan has called for more roles for women in leadership and business to enable them contribute their quota towards building stable and productive societies.
She stated that Covid-19 crisis has underscored the need for women to bring their set of unique experiences and innate value to bear on the search for solutionto bring an end to the pandemic, adding that women usually play critical roles in challenging times.
Mrs. Jonathan made the call during an international virtual conference on ” Covid-19: Leadership of Women in Times of Crisis,” organised by the Universal Peace Federation for serving and former First Ladies across the world.
She also called for support for the crusade for gender equality and change towards a better society.
Speaking further, Mrs. Jonathan urged governments across the world and the private sector to support women to get into leadership positions in politics, business and other areas of governance.
She said: “In most crisis situations, women and children are worst affected. I, therefore, encourage our governments at all levels and the private sector to support more women to get into leadership positions in politics and business.”
Stressing that womenalways play a critical role in times of crisis and nation-building, Mrs. Jonathan further said: “Women are good at taking initiatives, so I am not surprised that all over the world we are also at the forefront of managing this pandemic.
” In Africa, women are also on the frontline working as doctors, nurses, and other caregivers and their efforts has continued to yield positive results.”
On what she has been doing during this Covid-19 pandemic, the former first lady submitted that her ” NGO, Women for Change and Development Initiative and A.AriweraReachout Foundation have been working with key stakeholders to provide accurate information about Covid-19 so that families, particularly in the rural areas, can stay protected.
“We are giving counseling support to women who suffer any form of abuse like rape and other forms of assault during this period of COVID 19.
” We also partnered with my successor, the First Lady of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, and her NGO on ways to reduce the impact of the pandemic.”
She stated further: “This is similar to what my NGO did when I was the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2010-2015. We delivered relief items to IDP Camps all over the country.
“Also, as former President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, in 2013, I initiated efforts to provide relief materials to victims of violent conflict in Mali, Kenya, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Africa.
My outreach, the A.AriweraReachout Foundation was involved in the issues of health and the wellness of men, women, and children. We intervened in so many cases to provide funds to families who had loved ones with heart conditions so they could travel out of the country for surgeries.
” We also partnered with the National Hospital Abuja, the Apollo Hospital in India and Israel to build a world-class hospital in our nation’s capital, Abuja so that delicate surgeries can be performed in Nigeria. We are now at the stage of fixing medical equipment in the facility.” The conference which was part of UPF’s peace talk series was moderated by Mrs. CarolynHandschinn, International VicePresident, Women’s Federation for World Peace International. Other panelist includedMrs. Debbie Remengesau, First Lady, Palau; Hon.NaylaMoawad,former First Lady and former Minister of Social Affairs, Lebanon as well as Hon. Emilia Patricia Alfaro de Franco, former First Lady and Current Senator, Paraguay.