Afiavi Calista AKIBODE

Interviewed by agridigitale during the Special Women Brunch Day celebrated on March 8, where several women managers of public and private enterprises of Togo took the floor, Mrs. Afiavi Calista AKIBODE, Economist and Director of Calia Expertise, regrets that "the role of women alongside men is always perceived marginally."

"In Togo, agriculture occupies 70% of the population and the first image that people have of the sector, is the men whereas women are those who work day and night in the fields and make food for them," she said.

For Ms. AKIBODE, "this occupation of women is not visible because women are damaged enough in access to land, access to agricultural land on the same basis as men."

"Woman does not have access to the land and cultivates for her husband's benefit where her contribution is not measured. We should ensure that women have access to the land and that land problem is solved so that the contribution of women in agriculture is visible," she suggested.

Peace Akpene ADIHO, lawyer at the Electric Power Company of Togo (CEET) believes that it is a form of injustice that must be corrected.

"When you go to a rural area, the woman is the one who has the baby in her back, the pile of wood on her head and who is going to cultivate while the gentleman is resting. When she leaves the hoe, she goes back to the oven to feed her husband, in all respects the woman got up very early. When you wake up at 5am, I believe that if you come across two men, you will meet 10 women," added Mrs ADIHO who challenges the society on the recognition of the role of women.

Equality and gender: a daily fight

If already in 1997, gender has been consecrated by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as an innovative concept capable of inducing human and sustainable development by establishing equality of law and opportunity, a way remains to be done to the real affirmation of women in the society.

"When you say that behind a big man, there is a big woman, why can’t we say, behind a big woman there is a big man and that women must always be bequeathed behind?", Wondered Mrs. ADIHO.

Admittedly, she recognizes that "it is an honor that proves the vanguard role that the woman plays, but the latter must now take the lead and have the will, the courage, the perseverance to assert herself more."

"It's not easy, in the morning your husband screams at you, you go out in a morose state, you come to the office, it's your boss who starts yelling at you, you're caught between a rock and a hard place and you must have your head on your shoulders, have confidence in yourself to assert yourself and prove that we have our place alongside men," she said.

Girl's future begins with her family background

To correct these inequalities, Special Women Brunch Day had the merit of bringing together women who succeeded and who stimulated a new dynamic to all participating women.

From Dr. Lidi Kama BESSI, first female officer of the Togolese Armed Forces (FAT) to Maryse Kale ADOTEVI, General Manager of the DELOITTE company in Togo through other eminent panelists, they have alternately shared their commendable backgrounds, their experiences and how they manage to reconcile family life and professional life.

Unanimously, they recognize that today, important steps have been taken in terms of equity and gender and what remains to be done is to make sure to keep the gains, impose and deserve to be with men at home, at work and in the society.

"Girl's future begins with her family environment. May the parents supervise the girls. They should give them an education that allows them to flourish tomorrow, monitor their dating, put all the means of supervision, not to choke the girl but allow her to flush positively," they recommend.

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