U.S. envoy underscores importance of mentorship for girls, women

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By Busayo Onijala

Lagos, Oct. 9, 2020 Future leaders are created through proper mentorship, says Claire Pierangelo, Consul General of the U.S. Consulate in Lagos.

The Consul General said this during a virtual celebration ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child.

Naija247news reports that the International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated on Oct. 11 annually and the theme for this year is “My voice, our equal future .”

The United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 19, 2011 declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognise the unique challenges that girls and women face around the world.

According to her, mentorship helps women and girls gain access and opportunities to strengthen business sizes and build stronger professional networks.

Pierangelo said that 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing declaration, there had been much progress, but there is still much work to be done to continue on the road for progress everywhere.

“This year, COVID-19 presented some additional challenges for girls and women around the world.

“So under the theme “My voice, our equal future,” let us recommit to supporting adolescent girls worldwide.

“We recognise the importance of women’s inclusion for national security and economic growth.

“Here in Nigeria, we work closely with our partners to help girl children live free from gender based violence (GBV), to learn skills, and to become future leaders.”

She said that the White House launched the women’s global development and prosperity initiative to recognise these unique challenges and the unique roles that women and girls play in national security.

The envoy said that women’s empowerment and economic integration are key to Nigeria’s long term economic development.

She added that an insightful statistics she had learnt is that 85 per cent of employments in Nigeria is generated by small companies whose vast majority are headed by women.

“If anyone ever doubts the importance of the role of women in Nigeria, you can simply cite the economic facts that without women’s contribution, the country can not advance,” Pierangelo said.

Also, Nkemdilim Begho, one of Nigeria’s leading digital solution providers and CEO, Future Softwares Resources, highlighted the importance of mentorship to her personal journey.

She said that mentorship has been the cornerstone of the success she had been able to achieve in past years.

“There has been a lot of role models who have created big roles and, obviously, in the technology space; there are not that many female role models.

“It has sometimes been a little bit of a hard journey when you look around and you don’t see anyone like you.

“This reality is changing especially in technology.

“I’m doing a lot of work to make sure that there are more girls and women who go into technology and actually stay in it.

“We need to continue to change the narratives and celebrate women in the various fields .

Begho added that being a role model and sharing her success story is an important aspect of her life.

“The more people we see that are like us, the easier it is to climb the ladder,” she said.

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