A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) join the global world in celebrating the International Women`s Day (IWD) today 8th March 2014.
This year’s IWD celebration is a very significant moment for Nigerian women in that it is coinciding with the celebration of Nigeria’s 100years as a Nation, the kicking off of the National Dialogue and the processes leading to the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Undoubtedly it is an important policy moment to raise awareness about critical areas where government needs to accelerate efforts in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
C21st welcome some states governments initiative in enacting gender sensitive Laws (such as Domestic violence law, child rights Law and the Gender equality and opportunities Law) and the efforts by the current government to achieve equality for Nigerian women through its various policy pronouncements supporting women’s right.
We are however deeply concerned that government words are yet to match their actions in achieving equality for the Nigerian woman. We are concerned that;
1. In spite of women ‘s contribution to the development of Nigeria , the percentage representation of women in politics and governance is still less than 35% affirmative action target stipulated under the Nigerian National gender policy.
2. The National dialogue which is a key policy space to galvanize action for the achievement of equality for women parades less than 35% representation for women.
3. Nigeria still has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world
4.Women and girls in Nigeria are still exposed to all forms of violence and abuse. One in 3 women and girls aged 15-24 have been victims of violence.
5.Majority of Nigerian women are still poor and Nigerian women has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
6. Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of gender energy poverty index.
7. Women and girls are at the receiving end of disasters occasioned by the impacts of climate change and the violent conflicts.
8.As the nation is progressing with the global world to transit from the M DGs to the new SDGs, Nigeria still displays high level of inequality which disproportionately affects women.
21st hereby calls for accelerated action in the above highlighted areas and calls on Nigerian government and all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency;
1.Implement 35% affirmative action to increase the number of women in politics and governance
2.Increase women representation to not less than 35% in the forthcoming National dialogue.
3. Ensure that gender equality and women empowerment issues are central in all discussions during the National Dialogue
3.Strengthen the implementation of domestic violence law and enact the gender equality and opportunities Law in all states of the federation
4.Ensure protection and adequate security for the lives and property of all Nigerians especially those living in the Boko- Haram catchment areas
5.Adopt and implement minimum social protection floors and /standard to address poverty, losses and damages arising from the impacts of climate change and inequality generally for equitable and just development.
C21st joins Nigerian women in mourning the death of children and other citizens killed as a result of Boko- Haram attacks in the Northern part of Nigeria and pray that God will give the families of the dead the fortitude to bear the losses.
We celebrate and congratulate all women including Nigerian women for their relentless effort in achieving equality for women.
God bless Nigerian women.
MS Titilope Akosa
Executive Director Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), Lagos, Nigeria
This 8th day of March 2014