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Nigerian Women Trust Fund, an NGO, has underscored the need for equal opportunities for male and female children, saying that development would be incomplete, if women were trained only as homemakers.
Ms. Funke Baruwa, the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, made the call in an interview with the
newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
Baruwa said that there must be gender equality, if the girl child must contribute to national development.
She further said that all Nigerians must begin to change the socio-cultural practices and policies that imposed limitations on the girl child.
“We need to change the way we bring up women; otherwise Nigeria will not grow; when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.
“Go and check countries that have developed; the gap between men and women has been bridged such that women and men achieve together.
“We cannot continue to raise our girls and women to be behind; we have to raise our girls and boys equally.
“They are different people but in the sense that success or leadership is not limited to a particular gender.’’
The chief executive officer said there was the need for a change in social norms that limit the potential of women to marriage and child bearing, adding that this vicious cycle must stop.
Baruwa noted that women play a huge role in national development and also as mothers, adding that education had a great part to play to enable them to take their place in nation building.
“If you don’t have an educated mother who can tell you some of life’s issues, chances are that your process of socialisation is already hampered.
“Now, a woman that raises up a child in the perspective of knowledge will do much better than a woman that raises a child that is deprived of exposure, knowledge and education,’’ she said.
In a separate interview, Ms. Suweba Jibrin, Gender Advisor, ActionAid Nigeria, said that if the community understood the rights and responsibilities of women, they ought to help them to achieve them.
Jibrin said that the exclusion of women starts with the unavailability of birth certificates, especially in the in the rural areas, with no record of existence.
She called for a change in practices that are against women, especially in traditional societies.
“For instance, if there is a national policy that all girls should go to school and the traditional ruler does not support it, all girls in that community stay home’’.
Jibrin added that the group had begun the process of organising girls at the community levels to enable them to enjoy their rights.