Wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has identified lack of self-worth, cultural milieu and financial incapability as obstacles for enough female participation and representation in politics and governance.
According to her, the cultural belief and perception about the female gender had caused many African women to lost confidence to aspire for elective or leadership positions.
She spoke on challenges facing women in politics being a guest at a live phone-in programme with DARLING 107.3FM, Owerri, the Imo State capital on Wednesday.
Analysing reasons women do shy away from participating in politics, the Ondo First Lady and Imo-born daughter, said: “You know how things are in our community, how do our people look at a girl child or at a woman? Do they value her? Do they see her as somebody that is worthy? Right from the very beginning we are looked down, only good to make babies, cook and drink; that has been the position of woman or the girl child.
“So, with this kind of subjugation, there’s lack of sense of self-worth. We ourselves feel that we are not worthy, that we can’t do it “.
Mrs. Akeredolu who earns the apex female traditional title in Owerri zone, (Ada Owere 1), advocates mentoring approach for young women to change their perception about politics, noting that it’s when women were at the decision table that issues relating to the female gender could be tackled.
She enjoined women to strive and acquire modern education, which is a major prerequisite to venture into politics; adding that self-development in terms of being economically empowered to be able to finance logistics during political processes was another prerequisite.
“The long term approach begins at home, upbringing of your children. Look at gender relations in your home, did you raise your children to feel they are equal? Or do you have imbalance in raising them that the boys are superior and the girls are inferior?.
“The short term approach is that there’s need to have a platform where you can let adolescent women to believe in themselves, let them know they can do it and raise their self-awareness and self-worth. To let them know there’s no profession or any venture that excludes women “, she asserted.
While reacting to the comment by the Anchor that women have not been supporting their fellow woman vying for a position, the Ondo First Lady disagreed with such belief, citing the case of Adamawa APC Guber candidate who was able to clinch the ticket with the mass votes of female delegates.
She also affirmed that she garnered the support of women in Owerri zone when she aspired to represent the zone in the Senate.
She, however, emphasised the need for further sensitisation for women who could dare to aspire like her, to look for He4She men around them that would help garner other men’s support for them.