To celebrate International Women’s Day, Sylvia Obiajulu Mordi, founder Whyte Springboard Initiative wants to challenge stereotypes that limit women and girls. NNNGO’s correspondent, Olaife Ilori caught up with the game changer for women development, ever confident to voice her views and ideas, read how Sylvia chooses to reject gender-biased attitudes with a strong belief in creating an incredible present and future for the female gender world over.
Follow the conversation:
Do you think women are well empowered in this 21st century?
I would say that women are not well empowered, well I must say there are improvements but a lot still needs to be done, I say this because most times opportunities are taken away from women because the society seem to factor a woman’s personal life with her professional decisions. Also women are only empowered in a particular trend of skills, especially business, trading, cooking, fashion etc. leaving technical and professional skills out and so our foundation is going all out in ensuring that the female gender acquires that empowerment.
What is FEMINISM and why does the world especially the developing nations find it difficult to embrace this movement/advocacy?
Feminism is the advocacy for the political, economic and social rights of women, in the sense that the same opportunities given to men should also be made available for women to participate in different spheres of life if they want to rather than being deprived of such opportunities.
Developing countries find it difficult to embrace this advocacy because like the saying goes that CHANGE is difficult to accept and FEAR a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself. The fear of changing the cultures and the deeply ingrained bias towards women. The fear of changing the long taught norm that men ought to speak out loud while women listen.
What does the International Women’s Day Theme 2019, #BalanceforBetter mean to you?
BALANCE FOR BETTER is practically an equal opportunity for men and women. You know the future is just ahead, there is need to build a gender-balanced world that drives a better working world
There’ s a stereotype attached to career women. Many women, get caught up on internal i\ssues of what sacrifices they need to make even as they grow in their career. Do you think women get enough support system? In what ways should the society create best support system for career women especially at home without jeopardizing their career?
Indeed, there is a misconception that most career women focus more on their career rather than getting married and paying attention to the home front. Women should begin to have enough support system, many abandon their career just because they find it difficult to strike a balance between the home front and career life. The society can help by creating flexible working system for women, while men should become more supportive especially in house hold decisions and chores. Society must also stop prioritizing a man’s career over that of a woman.
So many women across the world are still unable to reach their full potentials, how is your foundation working on empowering women?
Our foundation is providing a support system by changing the perspective of women through coaching and mentoring to break away from the norm; we want to give them the opportunity to prove themselves in all spheres even in male dominated professions
Some 150 years ago, women and all she owned belonged to her father or her husband. How does your organization ensure this practice remains forever buried?
Women are striving hard to no longer inherit the silence of their mothers by seeking avenues to be enlightened and empowered. In this light, our foundation is ensuring this practice remains forever buried by supporting women through educating them on knowing their fundamental human right.
Women make up 51% of world population. There are no reasons women shouldn’t be able to represent more than 40% of top level jobs and corporate board seats. What is your take on this?
Yes, women should be able to represent more than 40% of top level jobs and corporate board seats. We must accept that change does not happen overnight, it is a gradual process, what matters is that our path are henceforth pointed into a new direction. So many organizations have sprung up and have become catalyst for change for women in this era. So there is hope that in the near future, we will have a good number of female representative in top jobs and corporate board seats.
What do you say to that woman who wishes and desires to excel in her career and would want to simultaneously keep an excellent home front?
She should stay strong and fearless, everything can be achieved for a determined heart for desires backed by faith knows no such word as IMPOSSIBLE
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
I would want to see more of female participation and equal representation in politics, health, science, ICT and technical skills.
On International Women’s Day, what advice would you give to women?
They should constantly keep evolving by seeking personal and professional development, seek personal approval rather than societal approval. Dream big and go for it. We all deserve better. Women do not apologize for being fierce and confident, silent the external noise and listen to the voice within you, keep reinventing yourself for relevance.