Education as a Tool for Women Empowerment

Olumide Idowu

 

 

 

 

Education is very essential for every one because it is the only education by which we can differentiate between human beings and animals. Education teaches us how we can live in a society that’s why education is important for everyone, for both men and women. In the past, women are denied education. They were not allowed to come out of the four walls of their houses. Domestic issues were their only education. But now we are living in 21st century where men and women are equal.  Men and women should be educated. They believe that women  have to take care of the children, stay home, clean up the house, and be the self-denying wife and mother. They think that the life of a woman is all about getting married, having children, and being bombarded with domestic affairs. But they do not understand that education is very important for women not only for them but for a whole family. Because women are the mothers of the future generation. If women are uneducated, the future generations will be uneducated.

Girls are far more likely than boys to perform hours of unpaid work in the home, including care-giving, cooking and cleaning. Their parents are less likely to enroll them in school. This continuing imbalance of power between the sexes in the public domain underscores the fact that education has not significantly addressed the strategic needs of women as a group – partly due to entrenched patriarchal systems and harmful gender stereotypes. Primary concern must now be how we can advance the right to education, in order to facilitate the rights and strategic needs of girls and women. How can educational institutions help eliminate harmful stereotypes regarding the traditional roles of women and men?

Men and women are like the two sides of a coin. Without one, the other cannot exist. Educating women not only will give an educated family but Education of women can also be helpful in eradicating many social evils such as dowry problem, unemployment problem, etc. Social peace can easily be established. A woman has to play three distinct parts in the course of her life in each of which certain duties are expected of her.

  • Duty of a woman is to be a good daughter,
  • Is to be a good wife,
  • Is to be a good mother.

Education teaches a mother what she should be. It also teaches her how she would do it to be a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother. Only With the help of education women can know their rights. Woman belongs to a weaker section of the society because she suffers from many handicaps due to rigid, outdated social customs and religious practices. But an educated woman cannot be exploited easily. She is aware of her rights and will go any length to defend them.

Thus education will enable women to make their children, husbands and parents truly happy. Consequently it is very important that women should be educated. On all these grounds female education is a vital necessity.

 

Olumide Idowu is an entrepreneur, environmentalist and activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 42 African countries with over 10  years  experience in the non-profit sector and specialized in practical issues associated with developmental issues. Olumide Idowu is the Co-Founder, Climate Wednesday (@ClimateWed). He can be contacted on Twitter via @OlumideIDOWU

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“If My Mummy Beat My Daddy Who Should I Report To?”

By

 

Damilola Adeoye

 

 

 

“If my mummy beat my daddy who should i report to?” This is one of the interesting questions asked by pupils of low fee private school in Ojo local government area of Nigeria at a training  organized by centre for 21st Century In celebration of 2017 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV.) The  theme of the training is eliminating Gender based violence in  low fee private schools in Lagos state .

The objective of the training was to raise awareness about Gender based violence in school setting  and how to curb them. The training  brought together pupils , parents, proprietors, teachers and community leaders/members as participants in an interesting discussion.

Participants were enlightened about different forms  of violence which  include: Physical violence, emotional violence, sexual violence and technology violence. The need to protect the girl child from all forms of violence in school and at home was emphasized. Noting that statistics shows that  they are most vulnerable to violence. Pupils were encouraged to stop bullying each other and report any case of violence in their schools and communities.

The training triggered some amazing questions which could only be asked from a genuine  innocent  mind of children who are attentive and  ready to be agents of change in ensuring violence in all it forms are eliminated not only in their schools but also in their homes.  some of the questions include

  1. If a parent beat a child at home should they report to their teachers?
  • If a girl first beats a boy what should he do?
  • If someone is being maltreated in their community, who should they report to?
  • If mummy beat daddy and daddy did not do anything who should the child report to?

These questions  tend to reveal the scenarios of possible  pattern of violence which often occur in schools and at homes. Thus the children sought to know how they can take the right actions.

Teachers at the training emphasized the need to punish children when they misbehave and added that punishment  meted out to correct erring pupils should not be regarded as gender based violence  except if it is such that could cause grievous bodily harm to the child .

Some of the pupils demanded to know the appropriate person or authority  to report to if violence occur in the home.  Some asked whether it is appropriate to report to  their their grandparents or religious leaders  since as children they cannot go to the police.

They were advised to report to appropriate authorities in their school  but for home they should report to  those who  has showed tendency to listen to them.

They were also informed of the Lagos State Domestic Violence Law that says a person can report on behalf of someone else. In addition, teachers were admonished to take adequate and appropriate action towards a disobedient pupil. They could mentor the child to change or talk to the parents

It is important that schools create enabling environment for learning and school authorities should encourage children to develop a sense of independence and be able to speak out and protect themselves against any form of violence.

 

Sexual Violence And Trends In Lagos State Higher Institutions

 

By

 

Damilola Adeoye

 

The increasing trend of sexual assault of female students in higher institutions of learning in Lagos State as replete in media reportages is disheartening. More worrisome is the apathetic attitude school authorities display on such problem considering the botched way cases of sexual violence are handled. In a lot of incidents, no stringent actions are taken against perpetrators of rape of female students who are usually the male members of the academic staff and students. Reason for this is not farfetched, Nigeria as a society is enmeshed in a patriarchal system. In simple term, a man can denigrate a woman without a collective challenge by his fellow men.

According to a recent baseline media monitoring conducted under the project title: Mainstreaming Gender Reporting on Affirmative Action of Women and Girls Rights Issues by Journalists for Christ (JFC) Nigeria, it was observed that there is a preference for men to be quoted as sources over women in issues that concern women. This only poses a critical thought that if the presence of women as sources in media reports is low especially in issues that relate to them, does this not indicate an infringement on their basic right to defend themselves? This observation distinctly reveals the triviality accorded women in Nigeria media.

Due to reprisal attacks ranging from threat of failing a female victim by lecturers to physical violence; even death by other culprits, most cases go unreported. The shame of being stigmatized and lack of information to access justice are also factors. Though an academic terrain, where victims and culprits are supposed to know the consequences and laws guiding sexual violence, the traditional practices of keeping mum in a male-dominated environment still seeps its way through the walls of these higher institutions of learning. Most students in tertiary institutions in Lagos State are not even aware of the legal repercussions of committing sexual violence crimes, they do not know that these crimes can lead to life imprisonment, hence, offenders can always go free and brag about their actions consequently stoking negatively the fire of this sinister act. The schools are also culpable in these crimes because most of them do not have detailed rules to resolve sexual violence crimes and their attendant issues.

Female students on school campuses had been accused of indecent dressing making them susceptible to sexual assault, thus, the resultant rape cases. However, no excuse in any form should be accepted as a reason to sexually violate a woman. Sexual violence is a violation of women’s rights; it portends health problems such as those causing victims to contract the deadly HIV. Reports have revealed that increase in HIV developed from sexual violence cases, and the emotional pain caused by this health issue is also a form of violence.

Conversely, female students who are considered vulnerable to sexual crimes are not the only victims; male lecturers have accused the women of sexually seducing them in order to gain good grades. When they do not comply, the female students usually resort to blackmail. Some male lectures have even complained of threats of rape by female students who seek academic favours and this situation makes them feel insecure on school campuses. Similarly, female lecturers have also been accused of sexually harassing young male students.

In order to curb cases of sexual violence on campuses of tertiary institutions in Lagos State, The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) recently began various sensitization and enlightenment campaign across the city.  This is in addition to  the massive actions been taken by other women and gender based organizations to address Gender based violence in Lagos state .

The need to especially focus on curbing sexual violence  and indeed Gender based violence in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria  cannot be overemphasized.  It is therefore imperative for civil society organizations and all stakeholders  to extend their advocacy to tertiary institutions to  enable a peaceful environment for students to be  educated in order to fulfill their potentials in  life.

 

Damilola Adeoye holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Botany from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,Ogun State.  She  works with Centre for 21st Century Issues and coordinates the organizations projects on women’s rights and environment including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

 

16 Blogs For 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based violence Campaign

The Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) in partnership with Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)   will be celebrating 2017 16 days of activism against gender based violence  from 25th of November to 10th of December 2017.

Campaign tagged 16 Blogs For 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence will run for the 16 days. The campaign will feature 16 blogs written by activists, scholars and social development practitioners from Africa and diaspora.

The blogs will explore different aspects of gender based violence  in all spheres of societal life as it affects girls, women, boys and men.  This will be in tandem with the 2017 themes,  “Together We Can End GBV in Education” and “Leave No One Behind” 

A discussion tread with hastag #16Blogs16DaysActivism  will  be initiated on social media platforms to crowd source solutions and useful information on ending all forms of violence.

On ground, in Nigeria, training sessions on Gender Based Violence will hold in Low fees Private Schools across Lagos state to build awareness among pupils, teachers , parents and all relevant stakeholders in the education sector.

The objective of this campaign is to raise critical  awareness about the negative impacts of  gender based violence and raise voice to end all forms of violence in our society.

Though women and girls have been acknowledged as the major victims of  gender based violence but  recently it appeared that the  paradigm is shifting towards men as victims.  The  report of  two Nigerian men allegedly stabbed by their wives about two weeks ago  and the subtle justification coming from some women as reported by the social media is is lending credence to this shift. This no doubt  is disturbing and calls for increased awareness an deeper inquiry into the reasons behind the shift and indeed all forms of   violence. Violence in any form and from any person should not be condoned or justified.

As we start the discussion today  25th of November 2017, a day set aside by united Nations to eliminate all forms of Violence against Women and girls let us reject all forms of violence and ensure peace in our homes and communities.

Remember to follow us on twitter @c21stnigeria

Ms Titilope Ngozi Akosa

Executive Director

C21st

 

 

C21ST Train Low fee Private School Educators On School Development Plan

Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st) in partnership with Coalition of Private School Associations held a one day Teachers training on School development plan on Saturday,  22nd of April, 2017 for educators of low fee private schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state.  The objective of the training was to build the capacity of educators on how to prepare  school development plans that will ensure improvement in quality outcomes of their students

Low fee schools  are categorized as schools with tuition that is less than twenty five thousand naira per annum and accounts for about 70% of basic education in Lagos State. This training  became imperative following findings from a series of forums convened in Ojo and Alimosho Local government Area which revealed that most of the educators do not know and have  a school development plan.

The training is part of the project  “Community Engagement in Low Fee Private Schools”  being undertaken by C21st on behalf of  Developing effective Education Nigeria (DEEPEN).  It is a project that mobilizes  education stakeholders such as parents, proprietors, teachers, community groups and associations in quarterly community forums to address quality outcomes in Low cost fee schools in Lagos state.

During the training , Mr. Adeyemi,  an expert in school improvement  service defines School Development Plan as a blueprint or master plan for improving schools and is centred on realistic analysis of the current situation of the school.

He further enunciated the significance of low fee private schools in filling the gaps created in basic education due to inadequate number of  public schools to cater for the ever growing population of school age children in Lagos . The schools according to him help meet the needs of high population of children seeking basic education in Lagos State. Mr. Adebayo explained that SDP identifies and prioritizes key area for school improvement.

He also mentioned the importance of School Self Evaluation (SSE) in any development plan. The SSE is to identify needs in the school and find immediate and possible solutions to them. The needs may range from improved school finance, professional training for teachers and Head teachers, better accountability to stakeholders, better parent participation in school activitiesand provision of necessary school facilities etc.This will enable the school management place in order of priority the problem they want to solve first instead of trying to solve all the problems at thesame time which may not be realistic. He pointed that SSE is not for proprietors alone or few people but for anybody who brings his or her child to school.

The facilitator cited teachers, pupils, proprietors, community members and religious leaders as relevant stakeholders who must be involved in School Self Evaluation. They have responsibilities to lead and make decisions in some activities in the SDP, and although the PTA executives may not have sufficient understanding in doing SDP, the proprietor has the responsibility to provide them with adequate information on what to do. There is need to constantly report SDP so as to ensure accountability and confidence building. Trainees were additionally taught how to keep standard school record and save cost by collecting locally available resources as teaching aids for learning.

Participants were also enlightened on Peer-to-Peer Constant learning which is when teachers meet regularly at about two weeks interval to cross-fertilize ideas and exchange views on how to improve and at the same time learn from one another.

The capacity building workshop was very practical and interactive as participants worked in groups with free handouts that include action plan template for cost determination to solve problems. They demonstrated real life occurrences which they are expected to replicate in their schools. It is anticipated that the training will help improve learning outcome in low fee private schools.

Damilola  Adeoye

Project Coordinator