Lagos – Female Architects of Nigeria (FAN) have reiterated that equal access of men and women to power, decision making and leadership at all level, is a necessary precondition for the proper functioning of democracy.
They emphasized this during the lecture marking the 70th birthday celebration of one their own, Olubukola Atinuke Ejiwunmi, first and only Nigerian female NIA president. The theme of the lecture delivered by Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu is: The Role of Women In Decision Making.
Hotonu explained that despite all the advances in elevating the status of women in the global arena, women have not made much impact in the decision making process, especially, women in the workplace and most especially, in architecture where the number of women is yet to rise exponentially.
She pointed out that even though women make up nearly 50 per cent of the world population, they make up 70 per cent of the world’s poor. A situation she identified as being caused by unequal opportunities, dearth of role models and gender stereotype, all of which she said have negative implications for a national sustainable development.
To this end, she said, active involvement of women in decision-making is not just crucial but indispensable. “We make decisions every moment of our lives. They may be simple ones such as what food to eat or more profound ones such as careers and choice of spouses. Many of our decisions are not based on conscious thought – they are spur-of-the-moment actions – and are influenced by a range of factors including time, emotions and our environment. Others, she said, are the result of rational processes.
Hotonu disclosed that one of the problems bedeviling women in the decision-making process is that they are often allowed to make all the behind-the-scene decisions in an organization to ensure that the team makes it to the top. However, she noted that on the race day, when the cameras and spectators show up, it’s the men who take the reins and not the women who orchestrated everything.
She advised that it is critical that women change the way they perceive themselves, as decision makers since it has been recorded that when there are more women occupying leadership roles, smarter decisions are made. In addition, she remarked that because women have been culturally conditioned to be subservient, they do not know their own strengths.
Challenging women to henceforth take decisions in their homes in a more creative and proactive way than they have done previously, the First Woman Rear Admiral in Africa pointed out that gender and other social norms are sticky and typically mean women are unable to exercise power on the same terms as men, even after reforms of discriminatory laws.
Furthermore, she recommended that the institute should develop a database of women who could be considered for national, state, local government and board appointments in the built environment;
According to the senior Naval Officer, they should have a strong and organized commitment to state and university chapters; reach out to and network with women organizations especially women in the arts who will explore common issues facing them and develop a working agenda to address the issues.
“Study and propose reviews for Civil Service Gender Equality Policies; Actively engage with government to ensure equal economic independence for women in the built environment. This would include merchants and artisans. Carry out regular gender audits in the built environment as well as propose Gender Mainstreaming Units in NIA and ARCON.
The post Female Architects Seek Role In Decision-Making Process, Leadership appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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Author: Nkasiobi Oluikpe