The Vice Chairperson Senate on Women Affairs, Sen. Stella Oduah, has said the emergence of Madam Gabriela Cuevas Barron from Mexico, as 29th President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was a great feat.
Oduah, who spoke with newsmen at the end of the IPU election in St. Petersburg, Russia, said the choice of Barron was laudable.
The vice chairperson expressed optimistic that the newly elected president would use her strength as a woman and experience in the Mexican Senate to move the union forward.
She stressed that the emergence of Barron to head a union of parliamentarians from over 173 countries, was a pointer to what the female folk could achieve when given the opportunity.
She said mainstreaming women into governance through relevant policies and laws would help bring out their potentials, which would be used for the greater benefit of the society.
“Women activities must be mainstreamed and there must be requisite policies and laws in place to ensure that women participate fully in governance.
“When women are denied the opportunity to build on their potentials, the society would be the one to lose.
“So, at parliamentary gatherings like this, one of the major issues for discuss is women empowerment.
“If for instance women are 60 per cent of a population and they are denied the opportunity to make use of their potentials, you have lost completely 60 per cent of your capacity and that shouldn’t be.
“We all know that the society is being kept majorly by women; the society is being maintained by women. Therefore we must ensure that women participate fully in the process.
“Women should among other things, be given the opportunity access soft loans to build on their skills and capacities,’’ she said.
Oduah called for the establishment of more advocacy and mentoring groups to put women through on the essence of being part of policy and law making.
She added that it would help to effectively affect their children’s lives and the society in general.
The newly elected president of the IPU, Madam Gabriela Cuevas Barron is to serve a three year term as the 29th President of the union.
Barron, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee of the Mexican Senate, got a total of 287 votes to beat her only rival, Ivonne Passada from Uruguay.
The IPU with 173 member countries and 11 inter-parliamentary unions as associated members was founded in 1889.