Thank God for the type of First Lady we have, the back bone to Mr. President. So far, Dame Pateince Jonathan has done everything right in the uplifting of woman gender in the country, her numerous philanthropic works which is yielding good fruits today cannot be over-emphasized. Dame Patience Jonathan has proven to be the best First Lady in the history of this country, she is the hope of every woman, a pride to her husband, and a loving mother to her children.
before the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, women positions in government were marginalised to the minimum, they were various factors responsible for this gender inequality in government, Social, economic, cultural and religious factors were largely responsible for women’s marginalisation in politics, particularly in the Muslim-dominated part of the country where politics is seen as men’s exclusive preserve. Women such as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former managing director of the World Bank and current Nigerian Finance Minister, are usually cited as evidence of African women in political positions and signs of gender equality, but they are a minority in a male-dominated sphere.
In Nigeria, shortly after Goodluck Jonathan became President in May 2011, the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan launched the Women for Change Initiative, aimed at promoting women’s participation in the political sphere, amongst other things. It isn’t without its critics, but to emphasise its need to mainstream Nigeria’s political sphere,
Goodluck Jonathan posted this statement on his Facebook wall:
I promised women a 35 per cent slot in my cabinet and I fulfilled that vow, because it is my desire to ensure a level playing field in Nigeria by heading an administration where ethnicity, gender and religion do not hinder qualified persons from fulfilling their potential. It is also the reason I ordered the admission of women to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) a first in Nigeria. Women should brace up to be all they want to be in life as this administration will be an enabler of your progress.Today, there are about 13 women in Jonathan’s Federal Executive Cabinet, representing about 32 per cent of the 42 member Cabinet, with many others leading sensitive institutions. This means, the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has scored high marks on the empowerment of women. To his credit, women now know that they can aspire to the highest office in the country.
Only few months ago, Nigeria witnessed the emergence of the first woman Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Muktar Aloma. Other Prominent women in the Jonathan administration include
Ministers for Petroleum, Aviation, Environment, Education and those of the Ministers of State for Defence
and Foreign Affairs among others.
However, the major force for women’s empowerment and greater role in government in the present administration has been the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. With her pet project, Women for Change Initiative, Dame Patience Jonathan, widely seen as an Apostle of women empowerment, enhanced the journey started by previous First Ladies into an era befitting of Nigerian Woman.
She struggled relentlessly to awaken and empower the Nigerian woman through her various summits, programmes, enlightenment campaigns, sensitisations including making sure that women in politics in the country are constitutionally recognised as stakeholders. She canvassed in several fora that women should be given more opportunities to contribute to the development of the country.
It is also to her credit that women were effectively mobilised for the last general election in Nigeria, and that President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed and delivered the promise of 35 percent affirmative action for women in his administration is a step in the right direction. Good enough, a journey that women have been striving to achieve in nearly two decades was achieved by the administration in less than a year.
Dame Patience Jonathan has also been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for her philanthropic work and political pragmatism. She received the “Beyond The Tears” International Humanitarian Award New York, USA, in 2008, for her role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS; the African Goodwill Ambassador Award (Los Angeles, USA, 2008) and the recipient of the "Wind of Change" Award from the South/South Women’s Organization.
When Goodluck Jonathan served as Governor between 2005 and 2007, Patience Jonathan served the state in the capacity of the first Lady of Bayelsa State. During this period, she founded many philanthropic and women empowerment programs, among them are the A-Aruere Reachout Foundation (AARF), which she set up to improve the status and earning capacity of Nigerian women and youths. The foundation already has its focus on supporting and assisting children with heart-related problems.
A NATIONAL PRIDE FOR EVERY WOMAN, Dame Patience Jonathan, as d title, every woman should be proud of Her First Lady. Thank God that he gave her the grace to survive in her trying times, were she even died for seven days and family members started selling off her property but yet she is alive to do greater works than before...