“Achieving Gender Equality and empowering Women and Girls is the unfinished business of our time and the greatest human Rights challenge in our world”
– António Guterres Secretary General, United Nations
The theme (PRESS FOR PROGRESS) for the 2018 International Women’s Day campaign cannot be more apt. It is time to reflect as to the progress made in Gender parity and women empowerment. It is commendable that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support. However, this is also another opportunity to assess our current situation in order to bring forth ideas on how to further reduce gender discrimination to its barest minimum.
The importance of the female gender in the society cannot be emphasized. In Africa particularly, the women folk constitute about 49 percent of The Nigerian population; this presents potential human resources that can be harnessed to enhance economic productivity. However, the opposite is the case in Nigeria as majority of this active populace has been relegated to rural farming. In effect, about 70 percent of rural farmers are women –AFDB. Nigeria has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Saharan Africa and ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation. Women own only 20 per cent of enterprises in the formal sector and only 11.7 per cent of Board Directors in the country are women.
Hence, the United Nations has devised the best way to tackle this challenge by devising the Sustainable Development Goals which are targeted towards ending poverty, eliminating inequalities and promoting prosperity. With a particular reference to Goal 5; Achieve Gender equality and empower all women and girls. The foremost way to empower women and girls particularly those in the area areas is quality education as it will further prepare and position them to be active shapers of the Country’s economy.
According to the UN Women Proposals for achieving Goal 5 of The Sustainable Developmental Goals, the following has been noted;
Laws and policies to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls complemented by measures to change discriminatory social norm and practices
Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls including trafficking sexual exploitation
Eliminate all harmful practices such as Child, early and forced marriage, genital mutilation, child labour through legal reforms, policies, community mobilisation and engagement of religious and community leaders
Ensure women’s participation for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources
National Legislation must guarantee the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all girls and women at all levels
The targets listed are very instrumental to the development and progress of any Country. Thus, achieving them will in no small ways transform Nigeria into her desired aspirations
Another purpose of Women’s Day Celebration is to recognise courageous and outstanding women who have carved a niche for themselves and can be referred to as Trail blazers in their rights. Nigeria is replete of such women. Few among these are Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga of the Nigeria bobsled team, Elvira Salleras, President of Life Foundation Joke Silva, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Hadiza Bala Usman
At Life Foundation, we have internalised the 4th and 5th Sustainable Developmental Goals into our objectives by seeking to transform and improve the lives of vulnerable and socially disadvantaged children employing various measures including education sponsorships, educational support programs among others. We are deeply committed towards giving these children the best they deserve by providing them a loving family experience through our adoptions program in conjunction with our several partners. Life Foundation is of the firm belief that the future of the Country is secured when these children are adequately catered for.
-By Ibrahim Saka
LITERACY INTEGRATION AND FORMAL EDUCATION FOUNDATION