By Gabriel Chy Alonta
A professor of Human Kinetics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Oby Cordelia Okonkwor, has advocated inclusion of sporting activities in school curriculum to foster global peace and development.
Okonkwor, who spoke against the backdrop of decline in women participation in competitive sport and leadership, insisted that physical education should be accorded greater importance in the school curriculum as such gesture would help to provide avenue for the girl-child to have more access to sports facilities where talents are discovered and groomed.
The professor told her audience at the 53rd inaugural lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Thursday at the university auditorium, that factors such as psychological, media, social, cultural, religious, political and health constitute part of challenges affecting women participation in sports, while calling for policies that would further entrench participation of the girl-child in sporting activities.
Okonkwor, who is the first female professor from the Faculty of Education of the institution to deliver inaugural lecture, in her lecture which had the theme: ‘Gender Issues in Women Participation in Competitive Sport and Leadership to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria’ stressed the need for increased women participation and empowerment in sports and leadership roles.
According to her, historically, women were prevented from engaging in sporting competitions that demand physical effort but today, it is not so because women have shown that they can excel in any chosen area and are now taking up positions in the nation’s polity.
“In order to further women participation in sports for greater global peace, there is need for participation in sports. This can be achieved through media approach, public enlightenment campaigns, awards of personal achievement and strengthening of mass women’s return for August meetings.
“Women in sports should be strongly supported in view of the fact that they are at the core of the Millennium Development Goals. It is also good that institutions and establishments whether public or private, be encouraged to sponsor and promote women participation in sports through giving scholarship and social awards.
“Government should provide employment and career opportunity, promote female athletes as part of their welfare package, as well as allocate resources fairly to males and females,” she recommended.
Earlier in a remark, the chairman of the occasion and Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, noted that inaugural lectures afford the opportunity to showcase what the inaugural lecturer had contributed through research, to the university and society, at large.
Esimone, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Frederick Odibo, said that the institution would continue to sustain the inaugural lecture to ensure that most professors deliver theirs.
In a vote of thanks, the chairman of inaugural lecture committee, Prof. Richard Uwakwe commended the inaugural lecturer for performing up to the expectation of her audience, disclosing that the university council had approved delivering inaugural lectures monthly.
Book launch by the inaugural lecturer and photographic sessions formed the high point of the 53rd inaugural lecture.
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