Gender Responsive Leadership (GRL), has been described as the panacea for the nation’s real growth, local sustainability and global competitive fitness.
This assertion was made on Wednesday by Prof. Virgy Ebelechukwu Onyene of the Department of Educational Management, University of Lagos, during her Inaugural Lecture on the topic, “Innovative Gender Responsive Leadership: Let’s Harness the Needful Locus of Institutional Management.
According to her, “the time was ripe for the use of mutual gender involvement and inclusive participation in both socio-political governance and institutional leadership as a panacea for internal efficiency, positive system growth and for our global relevance.”
She posited that if God has given Nigeria abundant human resources, as special common wealth, “He would have expected a holistic integration and complementary contributions from the males and females He made in his own image and likeness.”
The Professor of Educational Management and Personnel Administration, argued that organisational development depended on many critical challenges, one of which she identified as “this hydra-headed but seemingly latent gender-tied struggle,” insisting that it will remain latent if not openly addressed as of societal concern even as it will continue to hamper effective institutional goal attainment.
She also called attention to the fact that many female intellectuals working in Nigeria’s institutions of learning patiently marked time in waiting for their next appointment and in the process lose job enthusiasm such that if and when they eventually get to the upper echelon of the organisation, they are unhappy and unproductive.
Prof. Onyene noted that Gender Responsive Leadership was the only innovative local content that should be infused into Nigerian leadership instrument to get away from the present de-centering menace, pointing out that “this continued practice that alienates women has made them to develop total lack of sense of affinity, psychological disconnect, anomie and ‘how-for-do’ attitude which is being extended to domestic enclaves.”
She continued, “any wonder why domestic violence which hitherto carried the man’s head and face has today started showing female finger stumps in a most bloody manner?
“Our nation Nigeria is a high risk country of uncertainty with turbulent eruptions, insecurity, volatile environment and with even high level relationship instability right from the basic unit (family), through her institutions to the Federal seat of power and authority. Women are peace builders, family conscious parents, and that tenacious reserve army calling for positive involvement as both their legitimate right and socially justified entitlement since 1960.”
Moving forward, the Prof. advised that Gender Responsive Leadership, should be used as both preventive and curative measures for total inclusion with a view to using the best of the nation’s human capacities.
She also recommended that conditions of service, work procedures and regulations should be made more attractive by addressing peculiar characteristics of men and women.
Furthermore, Prof. Onyene called for the amendment of the 1999 constitution to make it gender responsive starting with interpreting leadership position as a rare privilege to serve not politicking tool. She spoke further, “on this platform of constitutional amendment, I stand strong to answer my suspected conjecture bugging some minds now, which is: ‘do women have their best eleven?’ I make bold to say, yes. Yes, in every sphere, at all times, space and in every clime. Yes, because Nigerian women are half of her population if not about 52% of 198 million people.
“Women have quality human resources, are well educated, versatile in skills, brilliant and creative, energetic and motivated, articulate with high communicative competence, tenacious in varied specialisations and in fact, the locus of efficient institutional management. Their best eleven as women and girls are ready to give leadership in every field of human endeavour with undiluted recourse to the principles of popular democracy, social justice, legitimate authority and absolute inclusion,” she said.