As part of activities to mark the 2022 International Women’s Day, the Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) on Tuesday doled out the sum of N1.8million to reward six women for their outstanding contributions to the economic development and growth of Nigeria.
The six women were rewarded at the 10th LAPO’s Outstanding Women Leadership Award (LOWLA) during the 2022 International Women’s Day celebration in Benin City with the theme, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow, with the #Breaking Societal Bias Against Women”.
The beneficiaries drawn from the six geopolitical zones of the country are Mary Ike-Chukwu, South-South, Nwanta Flora Nwakaego, South East, Martina Onah, North Central, Hajia Amina Mohammed, North West, Olamide Akinnayajo, South West and Hajia Hassan Haladu, North East.
This year’s awardees brought the total numbers of women so far honoured and rewarded by the organization in the areas of business, professional and agriculture (farming) to 33 and the cash prizes to N9.9million.
Speaking at the ceremony, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, Chief Executive Officer of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) said the theme of the 2022 International Women’s Day celebration envisioned a gender equal world devoid of bias, stereotypes and discrimination against women.
Ehigiamusoe said the LAPO Outstanding Women Leadership (LOWLA) initiated in 2013 was a commitment to women empowerment, honours and celebration of their achievements in business, farming and professional careers with sustainable social impact.
“The award reinforces the positive image of women in Nigeria and helps in reducing the influence of negative attitudes and practices that discriminate against and exclude women in all facets of life,” he said.
“As a development organization, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) is passionate about women as well as committed to their overall development.
“LAPO, as a pro-poor and women-focused organization, has over the years supported the realization of women’s rights, socio-economic empowerment and the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against them through policy advocacy, health and social intervention programmes.
“For more than two decades, the organization has been at the forefront of bringing gender issues to wider attention, recognizing and promoting women’s contributions to the advancement of Nigeria.
“From inception, LAPO has been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges limiting the progress of women, including economic powerlessness, social exclusion and ill-health.”
He said each of the women were given N300,000 cash prize in addition to plaques.
In his remarks, Osaren Emokpae, Chairman, Board of Directors, LAPO, noted that parity in education, access to resources and life-transforming opportunities are yet to be achieved in Nigeria where gender disparity is tilted in favour of men.
Osaren also noted that women’s access to paid employment is still very low when compared with the men in all sectors including agriculture.
While opining that gender discrimination and marginalization of women in all spheres of human development has continued to attract global criticisms, added that historically, women are subjected to marginalisation, oppression and injustice with increasing cases of infringement on their rights both in public and private domain even though Nigeria is a signatory to several treaties and conventions.
He explained that gender equality will enhance economies grow faster, poverty alleviated, health status climbs, and communities more stable and resilient to environmental or humanitarian crises just as he opined that without full equality, there will be no full development.