GENDER EQUALITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION CHARTER FOR LAGOS STATE
Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) as an ensemble of organizations and individuals working for gender equality, women’s empowerment and socially inclusive Lagos state have come together in solidarity to advocate and influence policy directions in Lagos State.
Given our participation in various interventions and in series of dialogues aimed at improving the lives and status of women, children, people living with disabilities , the youth , marginalized and socially vulnerable communities in Lagos state;
We welcome and celebrate the positive leadership role of Lagos State in supporting and adopting laws and policies which seek to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusion;
We are encouraged by the development strides of Lagos State in adopting a development plan which has gender equality and women’s empowerment as its corner stone.
We note that the socio- economic development profile of Lagos State has improved significantly in the last 16 years of our democratic experience. There has been marked improvement in infrastructure development, health care service delivery, transportation, agriculture, housing, youth employment, education, environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment.
We recognize that despite the rising socio-economic profileof Lagos State, a lot still needs to be done to ensure good, equitable and accountable governance.
We are however concerned that if candidates contesting the 2015 general elections in Lagos state are not informed about gender equality and inclusive issues and are unable to make informed commitments in that stead, the gains recorded towards gender harmony , peace and prosperity may be jeopardized.
We are desirous of building a strong relationship between the people and the government and hold government accountable and responsive to gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusion in Lagos state when the baton of leadership changes come 29th of May 2015
To this end we stand together to bring forward the desires and voices o fLagos women, youths, people with disabilities, marginalized and socially vulnerable communities to the centre of political discourse to influence policy directions towards progressive change.
This charter is addressed to all candidates contesting the 2015 gubernatorial, national and State assembly elections in Lagos State. This charter is also addressed to all stakeholders who believe and know that engaging gender equality and social inclusion issues is important in driving growth, peace and a prosperous Lagos State.
3.0 OUR 7 POINT DEVELOPMENT ‘ASKS‘
Aware that there are various issues and challenges from various sectors and actors which demands prompt attention but it must be acknowledged that gender inequality, women’s empowerment and social inclusion are peculiar issues which if satisfactorily addressed can enhance the quality of lives and help to achieve progress in all areas of development.
3.1‘Ask’1Commit to the Implementation of the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025:
The recently adopted Lagos State Development Plan is focused on building sustainable governance and ensuring sustainable development. It prioritizes 4 sectors namely Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing. Gender mainstreaming is one of the pillars of the plan.
The rigours of the policy development process which waspainstakingly driven by the tireless efforts of civil society, development partners and other stakeholders stands to be wasted if candidates and their political parties contesting elections to various public positions in the state do not have a clear commitment to make the development plan work.
Development plan is a working document that set standards and policy directions for the next 20 years and must be promoted and implemented if we want sustainable development and continuous economic prosperity.
- Set up action plans for its implementation with clear timelines and deliverables
- Set up a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure timely delivery.
3.2 ‘Ask’2 Invest In Inclusive Education
Formal and informal education is very important in ensuring progressive human resources that can power the state to greater developmental heights.
The Child Rights Laws of Lagos state has made basic education from primary to junior secondary school free and compulsory. For the maximum achievement of this Law, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have been active in ensuring all children of school age are in school. Infrastructural supports to public schools and improved remuneration for teachers with periodic capacity building to boost teaching have been provided. The implementation of the EKO project has really improved learning outcomes for pupils who benefitted in the project.
In Lagos State, there are 31 inclusive units and 5 special schools in primary school category and seven inclusive units for secondary school category. These schools have been set up to cater for the needs of pupils with disabilities
However, there remain some significant challenges which must be overcome to ensure full enrolment retention and completion of basic education for all children of school age.
Some of the challenges include growing population of out of school children in the state, disparity in primary education and lack of integration scheme for girls who drop out of school as result of pregnancy.
With regards to inclusive units,the percentage of schools meant for the education of special needs people is insignificant when compared with the likely population of school-age special needs children. The inclusive education program in Lagos State as of now, only addresses the educational needs of few individuals with special needs, while several other target groups of inclusive education are yet to be captured.
The participation of Private sector in primary and secondary education in Lagos State is another huge issue which the state has inadvertently ignored. Recent research has revealed that thereareabout 15,000 private schools operating in Lagos compared to1001public primary schools and 602 public secondary schools. Many of the private schools are unapproved but yet provide education to 1.5million children. While many of these schools serves the poor, the quality of education the school offers remains unknown and open to doubt
- Ensure that all children are enrolled retained and effect their transition to higher schools
- Improve teaching and learning conditions
- Conduct out of school baseline study and monitor progress periodically
- Finalize and adopt the draft inclusive education policy
- Provide vocational education/training that can stimulate economic growth.
- Provide library in all secondary schools.
- Ensure quality educational standards in both public and private schools
- Remove regulatory hindrance and informal practices that undermines private sector participation in education
- Re-invigorate adult education programme in the state to enhance literacy at all levels.
3.3‘Ask’ 3. Invest in Women and Youth Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods
Women constitute a significant proportion of people living below the poverty line in Lagos state. Their activities dominates the informal sector which is the mainstay of Lagos economy but in spite of this they have been disempowered by limited access to and control of economic resources and skills.
There is high rate of youth unemployment while persons with disability are hardly able to get employment. The situation of Women and men living in vulnerable communities are worse off.
Although the Lagos State government over the years have implemented skills acquisition programs for both men and women in the State and have given loans and grants. But there is need for better economic empowerment that links skills to market and create a favourable economic environment for all
- Institutionalize measures that increase women’s access to credit and capital Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprise (MSMEs)
- Strengthen the newly created Head of department for women and poverty Alleviation and office of the supervisory counselors at the Local governments to deliver economic empowerment initiatives and give mentoring support for setting up of MSMEs
- Provide capacity building and agricultural entrepreneurship education for women , youth and persons with disabilities
- Invest in women green business and open up the space for green skills acquisition
3.4 ‘Ask’ 4 Provide Affordable Health Care Services and Social Security
Health care service delivery in the state has improved overtime as a result of the passing into law of the Lagos state health reform law of 2006. Significantly Primary Health Centre (PHC) infrastructure has been refurbished; sustainable drug revolving fund has been established in most PHCs. The uptake of Community based health insurance (CBHI) has commenced in some parts of the state while a bill to institutionalized CBHI is currently been debated at the floor of Lagos State house of assembly.
Free health care services in the state have been variously confirmed in policy statements of the Government and this includes free health care service tochildren from ages 0 to5 years, the aged and pregnant women.
But in reality free health care services have not been totally free there are many hidden costs which citizens still have to pay for.
Women bear the consequences of social problems like unemployment, poverty, powerlessness, conflicts, corruption among others, in addition to the effects of globalization, economic restructuring and rapidly changing systems of production and consumption. All these have consequences for women’s health, safety, security, and overall quality of life.
The health burdens of women are also increased due to the use of unclean fuels for household cooking. Majority of households in Lagos state within urban and rural areas rely heavily on kerosene (84.6%), fuel wood (7.6%) and traditional biomass such as dung and coal for domestic cooking. Only a small proportion of about 6.3% use clean and safe fuels such as LPG, biogas and natural gas for domestic cooking.
The state is in the process of finalizing its social protection policy and it is believed that the policy will take care of most of the health care and social challenges.
- Provide funding commensurate to the scale of the challenge of maternal and child mortality.
- Undertake a fundamental review of economic policies to promote the wellbeing and security of women, men, youth (male & female) and persons with disabilities.
- Provide social security including legislation and budget for the poor, women and the elderly (free maternal health care, access to pension, free education for children, affordable housing, etc).
- Facilitate the speedy passage of the Community Based Insurance health scheme Bill
- Provide viable technological options that reduce the effect of climate change on women and children for example support for the clean cookstove initiative, which saves women’s lives, money and the environment
- Strengthen Community participation in health care service delivery
3.5 ‘Ask’5 Demonstrate Political will to Gender equality and inclusive governance.
Women occupy less than 10% of both appointive and political positions in Lagos state despite constituting almost 50% of the population.People with disability and youth appear not having any significant representation in leadership positions and governance.
The quest for gender and inclusive participation in governance has endured for some time but the minimum affirmative action standard of 35% representation for women is yet to be achieved.
Nevertheless, the state has taken an initial step to address this inequality by initiating the Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities Bill which is currently been debated on the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The bill when passed into law will address all issues of inequality, discrimination and injustice based on gender, disability or any other discriminatory issue.
- Facilitate legislative acceleration for the enactment of Gender and equal opportunities bill
- Establish a system of gender mainstreaming which incorporates 35% of women in all sectors of government
- Include gender, youth and persons living with disabilities as parameters of equal opportunity
- Work with data-generating agencies to generate sex- disaggregated data to inform policy
- Have clear gender indicators showing delivery and tracking of results for girls, boys, women and men in every sector
- Partner with civil society to develop innovative means of ensuring that citizens engage government, demand and receive accountability.
3.6 ‘Ask’6 Provide Basic Amenities and Infrastructure Development
In the last 8years Lagos has been able to a reasonable extent address the issues of infrastructure deficit which is a constraint to growth and social empowerment of both women and men. Road has been constructed, the bus rapid transport has been introduced to ease the burden of transportation, renewal of public parks and beautification programs has been sustained, expansion of water infrastructure to service more homes with portable water, construction of light rail system, slum upgrading and reconstruction of public facilities to ensure that they are disability friendly.
All these developments have come with a huge social cost to the women and children living and doing business on unsecured tenures, illegal structures and slums. Many of them havebeen displaced from their homes and business without any compensation. The provision of housing in the state is out of the reach of the common man.
The impacts of climate related disasters and other disasters such as building collapse is compounding the problems.Practically , the social groups hardest hit when climate disaster strikes in Lagos are: children, women, poor and indigent households, female-headed households, youth and the elderly; the disabled and sick and most especially people living in low- quality housing- slums and flood prone areas. Of course women bear the disproportionate burden in all these.
Some communities in Lagos state especially the riverside communities’ still lack basic social amenities such as drainages, portable water supply, electricity, road network, toilets, and waste disposal and sanitation services. These communities bear the disproportionate burden of developmental deficit in Lagos state.
- Slum upgrading and other infrastructural upgrading should take account of vulnerable and affected populations in accordance with international human rights standards
- All social issues emanating from demolition of houses should be addressed in a transparent manner and the lives and livelihoods of those affected protected.
- Service all household in Lagos state with clean, accessible and adequate water supply
- Connect riverside communities with road networks and construct drainages in the communities
- Provide affordable housing to all
- 7 ‘Ask’7 Protectand Strengthen theEnforcement ofBasic Rights
Lagos state in line with the human rights provisions of the Nigerian constitution has enacted laws to protect the basic rights of its citizens. The state has recognized the need to domesticate some important women’s rights instruments and adopt a human rights approach to addressing the issues of women and vulnerable groups.
The Child Rights Law and Domestic Violence Law were passed in 2007.The Special People’s Law was passed in 2010. The State has adopted the policy of 6months maternity leave for women and one month paternity leave for men. In addition, a law to make it an offence for a man to abandon any woman he has made pregnant has been passed.
In furtherance of implementing the Domestic violence Law, the offenders register was established and Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRST) set up under the office of the Attorney General to response speedily to cases of domestic violence and raises awareness.
The State Ministry of Women Affairs have provided shelter for victims of domestic violence and provided a complaint mechanism to strengthen the implementation of the domestic violence Law.However, the violation of women’s rights, persons with disabilities, vulnerable communities and non-indigenes still remain un-redressed due to weak enforcement. Gender-based violence including rape, incest, sexual exploitation in private and public domains; harassment, intimidation and exploitation remains a critical concern.
The need for continuity of interventions such as DVRST, provision of shelter and the need to strengthen the enforcement of the laws protecting the rights of women, orphan and vulnerable children and persons with disabilities cannot be overemphasized.
The safety of women children, people with disabilities and other vulnerable children is of paramount importance in ensuring social justice and equity
- Continue the DVRST and interventions to provide support for Victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the state.
- Strengthen the implementation of Domestic Violence Law by empowering the office of the Chief Judge of Lagos State to establish counselling centres in all the Local governments as stipulated by the law.
- Accelerate the implementation of the Special People’s Law.
- Make budgetary allocations for the enforcement of Domestic Violence Laws and the Special Peoples Laws.
4.0 COMMITMENT OF LASGAT
LASGAT understand that for every right there is a corresponding duty. We therefore commit to work in partnership with any government that comes into office to build structures and processes to enable us track the delivery of our ‘asks’ and to review our Charter as necessary.
Overall, the components of the gender equality and social inclusion charter of LASGAT is desirable not only to gain the confidence and put integrity into the governance system in Lagos state but also to establish a social compact with the people to help put pressure on candidates to deliver on their electoral promises. This charter will undoubtedly speed up women’s active involvement and meaningful participation in building the Lagos state we can proudly call our own
Charter Dated this 24th -Day of March 2015
Nigerian Women Manifesto 2013,
Lagos State Draft Inclusive Education Policy
Developing Effective Private Education Nigeria (DEEPEN) research on Private sector participation in education,
Gender and Climate Change study by Centre for 21st century issues, 2011
Lagos People’s Charter by Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP)
Lagos Climate Disaster Analysis Report (Draft)2014
The Gender Pact with Gubernatorial CandidatesTwelve points Demand Facilitated by Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)