-As members unanimously call for equity
The host of activities organised in commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day, will be uncompleted without mentioning the special programme of the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Lagos State Chapter, held to celebrate the resilience and uniqueness of lady pharmacists in the state.
Themed: “Achieving Equity and Resilience: Voice of the Lady Pharmacists”, the occasion afforded the professional women the opportunity to raise their voices for equity in the society, as well as recognise the giant strides taken by some of them in their different areas of practice, while assuring the green horns among them that there is no limit to their success in life.
Being a unique global day for the female folks, the lady pharmacists had the privilege of taking turn to share their success stories as well as the challenges encountered in the process, as they demanded for an understanding society with a conducive environment, enhancing the progress of women.
While some of them opined that there is no barrier holding them back from actualising their dreams, as their male counterparts have been very supportive of the goals and aspirations of the interest group, others called for a gender-balanced PSN, where there will be more female representation among national executives of the professional body.
In exclusive interviews with nine lady pharmacists at the programme, below are their submissions about themselves and other women in the society:
The Chairman, Lagos State ALPs, Dr (Mrs) Afusat Adesina, said : “The international Women’s Day is an annual event to celebrate women the world over. This year 2023, the theme is “Embrace Equity.” As the Chairman of this association, I know we have women who have achieved great things in this profession, so we decided to bring lady pharmacists together to hear their voices, that was why we spoke on the topic” Achieving Equity and Resilience: Voice of the lady pharmacists.
“We have great achievers in our midst, such as professors, directors in government parastatals who have raised other women under them. So we raise our voices to celebrate ourselves, saying that as a woman and as a lady pharmacist, there is no barrier that can stop you from reaching the peak of your career.”
Chief (Mrs) Yetunde Morohundiya, vice-chairman, PSN-BOF, enthused “I am so pleased with the strides that women are making from the back, but now we are in the front line. Women are in all facets of life making their impacts felt, professionally, socially, and academically. We are very special in combining different roles, as wives, mothers, sisters, mentors, daughters, everything in one. I’m excited that we are moving up in politics, setting goals and living our dreams. There is still a wide horizon to cover, and we pray that we push through confidently, because the best thing a woman can have is her confidence. Therefore, set your goals, have your dreams, pursue them, and remember to be a good mentor to those coming behind you.”
Pharm. (Mrs) Foluke Akinniraye, on her part made the women realise that they aren’t inferior to men, but they need to acquire knowledge to effectively play their roles well, a disposition that attracts respect naturally. “As women in society, we are the bedrock of education for families, and smooth operation of things in our homes. So appreciating ourselves and then being appreciated on a day like this is something very wonderful. And we have seen many women that have risen up to positions of great honour in the country, wherever they are positioned the women stand out.
“Now embracing equity, which is the theme for this year’s event, is letting women know that we are not inferior to our male counterparts. We should not allow ourselves to be silenced, brushed aside nor to be made inconsequential anywhere are we. It is neither by fighting nor shouting, but it is about knowing our stuff and standing up to the responsibility that has been put upon us. When we know our stuff and we stand up and differentiate ourselves, then the respect will come naturally.
Pharm. (Mrs) Bolanle Adeniran, former chairman, Lagos PSN confidently posited :”There is always room for expansion, we can’t say we have done it all, but so far, I don’t think lady pharmacists are not lacking in any way, because we are able to present ourselves in all the areas that need our attention. We were there for health screening, cancer awareness, HIV awareness, medical outreaches, and sponsorship of girl-education, so wherever we find our services needed in the community, we don’t shy away from it. Since the reward of hard work is more work, we are open to more healthcare and social advocacy.”
Dr Dorcas Nyalas Omeire, secretary, Lagos ALPs, also expressed her opinions thus ” Well for me, it is not just today, but after today what next, is what I am thinking of. Like one speaker said during a webinar, that we should stop this idea of men not allowing us to do this or that, saying that in the real sense of it, nobody is stopping anyone, women just have to make themselves relevant. And to make yourself relevant is not just by clamouring for positions; you must also have what it takes for those positions.
“How do we get what it takes is by seeking superior knowledge. When you have knowledge, you are adding values, and when you add values, you will be sought after. So for me, i’m imploring fellow women to focus on adding values to their lives, then go out there and make impact, when you make impact, definitely you will be at the helm of affairs,”
Pharm. (Mrs) Adefolake Adeniyi, retired director, Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Health Service Commission, felt fulfilled looking back at her days in service, as she remarked that nothing hindered her and her colleagues from achieving their set targets. “As a lady pharmacist when I was in active service, there was no discrimination against us, because most of us were ladies, so we were able to achieve our individual goals. Well, for me in the hospital sector, I think I achieved my goals, because my department then was the pharmacy department, which was the cynosure of all eyes, due to the way we projected ourselves in the environment where we worked. Everybody knew us for standing for integrity and upholding professional standards,”she narrated.
For Pharm.(Mrs) Ngozika Okoye, researcher at the NNMDA, the resilience spirit of most lady pharmacists was her delight, as she applauded their hard working skill. She remarked “Lady pharmacists in Lagos State have been very up and doing, active and not waiting to earn anything on a platter of gold, for any position they held, they have worked for it, ALPs in the state have been involved in several advocacies, girl-child education, reached out to commercial sex workers in different areas in Lagos, cancer awareness and others. So lady pharmacists in Lagos state have been very resilient,”
Pharm. Queency Ogbeide, said “I believe there is level playing ground to an extent in Lagos compared with what we have in other parts of the country. There are things that ALPians want to do and they get support from their male counterparts. So I believe we are enjoying equity from our male colleagues, and going forward, we are looking forward to having higher percentage of lady pharmacists among the executives in terms of the national body of the society”.
Pharm.(Mrs) Modupe Bakare, director of pharmacy, Gbagada General Hospital, remarked thus :”I want to say women over time have come a long way, and there is always room to improve and do much more. As a lady pharmacist, I have been able to combine so many roles together, the woman the homemaker and a career woman, I have been into a career for almost 30 years, in the state public civil service, rising through the ranks to be a director. Through the years, we had so many things to contend with, and overcome them.
“Personally, as a team lead for the pharmacy department, i have to be able to fulfill my roles as a pharmacist and also as a manager, and a leader as well. I have a team of staff I need to ensure that they achieve the goals of the organisation. I have targets to achieve, and at the same time to be able to manage peculiarities of individual staff to get the best out of them. I’m always to ensure effective coordination of things at the home front in such a way that nothing is left undone. So the woman that I am, I’m a leader, manager, homemaker, resources manager, mentor, and many more. So with the IWD, conversation needs to continue on giving women equal opportunities to thrive in their fields”.