Visiting tennis champions, Venus and Serena Williams, yesterday advocated adequate empowerment of women in Africa. They said the presence of women in eminent positions around the world is a demonstration of the significance role which the female gender can play in the scheme of things.
The duo, who spoke at a news conference in Lagos, said women have more to offer if they were adequately empowered and motivated to be the best they can be.
They stated that women empowerment and equal opportunity for the girl-child were dear to their heart, which was why they supported the Breaking The Mould (BTM) initiative, a women’s empowerment programme aimed at advancing the cause of women in Africa.
They added that they were excited to be in Lagos, which was their first visit to Africa while noting that the tour of Lagos would afford then the opportunity to meet and impact the lives of women and young girls through the BTM initiative.
Venus, the older of the sisters, said for her, coming to Nigeria in particular was an exciting experience. "t is exciting to be in Africa. It’s been great to be part of the Breaking The Mould initiative. We look forward to meeting Nigerian women and learn from each other as women have so much to offer", she said.
She said further that they were amazed by the rousing welcome they received from Nigerians, even as she promised that they would thrill the nation when both of them engage each other in an exhibition match tomorrow.
"We have played so many finals in different places and look forward to playing another final in Nigeria. I don’t know who is going to win between the two of us, but it’s going to be a good match. We feel the excitement all around us and it makes us feel so special, loved and encouraged to do better and win more matches."
Serena explained that the visit was a great opportunity to inspire and motivate women and young persons.
‘‘It is an honour as this is our first visit to Africa and Nigeria in particular. We are more excited because we are here as a family and most importantly, we are here to do something different; to mentor the young women and young kids, and in general to understand ways of breaking the mould’’, she said.
"We are here to let them know that, if you have a dream, you can achieve it, and that it is okay to break the mould. We are really honoured and proud to be part of such a great idea. We look forward to playing each other in the presence of our lovely Nigerian fans, who have been following our coming to Nigeria on twitter through their messages."
Accompanied by their mother, Oracene Price, the Williams’ sisters described Africa as a great continent that has produced many great mould breakers, even as they declared that their African descent was never a disadvantage in any way.