Veronica Pana Igube is a Legal Practitioner, member of The International Federation Of Women Lawyers (FIDA), an Advocate of Women and Girls Rights, ICT Consultant, Young and Energetic Lady doing amazingly well in the Social Enterprise Space. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on Gender Equality among others.
First, tell us your name, what you do and Organization. What do you think of Gender Equality? How can we achieve Gender Parity, owing to the fact that women obviously feel marginalized or are marginalized? It’s Gender Equality feasible? Should we be fighting for Gender Equality or Gender Equity?
My name is Igube Veronica Pana. I am a Lawyer working at Technology advisors (ICT Lawyers and Consultants)
Gender equality is simply equal opportunities for girls, boys, men and women in the different spheres. For example, education, public office, politics among others. Unfortunately, no country has achieved gender equality according to the United Nations. More needs to be done to achieve gender equality. A good starting point for Nigeria would be the passage of the Gender Equality Bill (Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill 2019) into Law.
The basic way for achieving gender parity is through education. Making education accessible to both girls and boys. Like the saying goes train a girl and you train a nation. The power of education cannot be over emphasized. Education is the key. Education is empowerment. Everyone deserves to have access to education. Making education free will go a long way to addressing the issues and bridge the gap.
Like I said earlier, according to the United Nation, no country has achieved gender equality. However, this has not stopped the advocacy and the fight for gender equality worldwide. This is the why the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Goal 5, pushes for gender equality. Interesting some countries have been able to achieve equality in terms of parliamentary representation, having 50% or more women at National parliament. For example, on the African Continent, we have Rwanda and Guinea Bissau. Other countries are Finland, Sweden, Spain among others. In Nigeria for instance, we need more women in the public sector and politics.
For the statistics above we can see that gender equality is feasible and that is why we must continue pushing and advocating for gender equality.
In regard to your question if we should be fighting for gender equality or gender equity. I would say both because when we speak on gender equality, we refer to equality of opportunity. On the other hand, when we speak about gender equity, we are talking about a fair playing ground or a level playing field.
As a Legal practitioner and a member of FIDA, how do you justify or handle issues patterning Gender disparity? You can sight a case study.
As a Legal practitioner, I work and advocate for women and girls’ rights in terms of access to justice. I ensure that I speak up against violence against Women and Girls, push for more women in politics and access to education for the girl child among others. Further, I advocate and a fully support and work towards the passage of the Gender Equality bill before the National Assembly.
You have been doing and still doing a lot in promoting ICT Skills development amongst youths and of women. What is the motivation?
Firstly, I grow up in an environment that is gender sensitive and I realize the benefits of such upbringing. As a result of this I am more attuned and touched by other people deprivation especially girls and women. At the same time my experience in the area of ICT has made me recognize the big possibilities for skills development and employment of the youth. There are great opportunities for youth out there and several youths miss out on this, because of lack of access to information. I am working to bridge this gap and ensure that everyone has access to opportunities.
The Month of March is said to be Women’s month, were you able to mark the International Women’s Day with any programme of sort?
Yes, I was. I participated in a lot of activities. The month of March is women’s month. In the month of March, we celebrated the International Women’s Day on 8th March and Mother’s Day as well. This year marked the twenty-five year since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration. I am presently a mentee of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund. I was able to partake in the March for Equality organized by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. The march was to raise awareness and educate the community about the need for gender equality amin others. #EachforEqual #IWD #Iamgenerationequality.
Who is your Role Model and tell us how you were inspired by your Role Model?
I have many Role Models. The first being my mother, Professor Restituta Igube. I admire her dedication and drive to achieving her goals. She has been my number one fan and supporter. Secondly, my Boss, Basil Udotai, Managing Partner, Technology Advisors. I am inspired by his creativity and innovative thinking. He has taught me to always chase my dream and strive to be the best at what I do. Others include Christine Lagard, President of the European Central Bank. She has a lawyer and I admire how she has broken through barriers and smashed the glass ceiling.Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, founder of Stand to End Rape (STER), I am inspired by her advocacy and fight against gender based violence. Let me stop here because the list goes on and if you allow me, I wouldn’t stop. What I try to do is learn as much as I can from great people shaping the world.
What advice do you have for Young people aspiring to standout?
My advice to young people is to be proactive in issues that affect their communities and environment. You have the potential to achieve everything you want to achieve. Be dedicated and never give up. Never stop learning. You learn, unlearn and relearn. Get a mentor who’s would guide you through the process, with their wealth of knowledge and experience. Also, be a mentor to someone else, you need to transfer the skill, lessons and experience you have gained to someone else. This will ensure that you changed lives. Gain skills. Network and build connections, connections are very essential. No man is an island. Never doubt yourself. Write down smart goals both short and long term and ways to which you want to achieve the set goals. Try to impact the lives of people around you and in your community no matter now little.
Any other comments you want to add. We appreciate you for your time. Thank you so much for your time.
On a finally note, I very much appreciate the opportunity given to me to air my views on the issues of gender equality. It is an area for which I am passionate about and is very close to my heart. Thank you for using your platform to speak on critical issues such as gender quality and giving me the opportunity and agency. I look forward to work in and collaborating with you in the future.