Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, John Groffen has expressed disappointment that in spite of increased global efforts at closing gender gap, it may take another 200 years to achieve the feat.

Groffen was speaking at a panel discussion group event to mark the International Women’s Day in Abuja on Thursday.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Press for Progress’’.

The Dutch envoy, however, commended recent positive collaborations and movements working to see that men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities.

“The International Women’s Day is an important day. If you look at the reports, as far as where we are globally in terms of what gender parity is concerned, it is not very uplifting to be honest.

“You can look at it from different perspectives, but the gender gap report of the World Economic Forum says it will take us over 200 years to reach gender parity.

“However, I believe that there is a strong global movement to strive for gender parity because it is very important.

“The good news is despite the challenges, we keep recording positive steps toward reducing the gender gap.”

Groffen said that the Netherlands committed millions of euro to working with international organisations and its domestic partners in ensuring that the gender gap was reduced.

He said that one of such programmes was the Nigeria Joint Response (NJR), a coalition of NGOs working together to achieve a common goal.

The NJR is a combination of five NGOs executing intervention programmes in the North eastern part of Nigeria.

They are Save the Child, Oxfam, Plan International, TearFund and Christian Aid.

“We need the government, civil society, public and private institutions as well as citizens to share support and motivation to drive gender parity.

“This is one of the important components of the Dutch foreign policy, which is why we are supporting this initiative,” the envoy said.

Panellists at the event included Dr Danladi Idrisa (UNFPA); Hadiza Aminu (Technical Assistant to the Office of the VP on SDG); Prof. Donli Patricia (University of Maiduguri); Aurore Mathieu (Oxfam Campaign, Media and Advocacy Manager); and Ummi Bukar (Director, PAGED).

The International Women’s Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911.

Two years later, in 1913, it was proposed that the date be moved to March 8, with the original aim of the celebration being to achieve gender equality for women.

According to some UK companies, Ladbrokes, EasyJet and Virgin Money, gender gap still exists in the UK, where women earn up to 14 per cent less than men.

In January, it was revealed that in UK, there is pay gap of over 15 per cent in favour of men. (NAN)


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