US official, in PH, wants more leadership and governance roles for women

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Aruna Amirthanayagam

The US Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs, Aruna Amirthanayagam, has called for the economic empowerment of women in Nigeria and elevation to more political roles.

The US Embassy official joined the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Stephen Okodudu, and the Rivers State Chapter of the US Government Exchange Alumni Association to commemorate the 2021 Women’s History Month in Port Harcourt.

The former EU ambassador to Nigeria and West Africa, Michael Arrion, had when departing called for the emergence of ‘god-mothers’ and women of political influence in Nigeria. US ambassador in Nigeria recently made a case for the girl-child and said in PH that he had an only child, a daughter and that he gave her everything she needed to develop. Most Nigerians applauded this.

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Now, in his opening remarks, Amirthanayagam noted that the economic empowerment of women is crucial to the development of every country. According to him, without women’s inclusive participation in society, any gains in economic growth and development, as well as advances in science and technology, are unsustainable.

The United States government launched a variety of programmes, including the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, TechWomen Program, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) and the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs. Economically, women make their families, communities and countries stronger.

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Amirthanayagam said; “The U.S. Mission in Nigeria recognizes the importance of women’s inclusion for national security and economic growth, which is why the White House launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which supports women through various capacity building programs, mentorship seminars, and entrepreneurship programs”.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Okodudu, said the university management was consistently looking at ways to promote women’s equal participation within the campus community. He urged all in the university community to commit to the goal of advancing women in the public sphere.

As part of activities marking the Women’s History Month, the Rivers State Chapter of the United States Government Exchange Alumni Association (USGEAA) recognized women who they said had demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment in Rivers State.

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Delivering keynote remarks, the professor, Andrew Efemini of the Department of Philosophy, said that events such as Women’s History Month were important in moving gender equality forward and building networks of women who support women. He emphasized the importance of education in ensuring women are able to reach their full potential in the public sphere.

March is Women’s History Month and highlights the contributions of women to events in history, science, contemporary society and humanity.

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