By Josephine Agbonkhese
The International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Lagos State Chapter, has called for the implementation of gender budgeting, arguing that it is key to the achievement of gender equality and a part of the National Action Plan on Resource Allocation for Gender.
According to the Chairman, FIDA Lagos, Barr Philomena Nneji, who spoke at a recent UN Spotlight Initiative Project themed “Training of CSOs/NGOs on the Provisions of the National Action Plan on Gender and Government’s Accountability for Budget Allocation and Release, and Monitoring of the Budget Utilization”, organised in Lagos by FIDA Lagos, gender equality is not just a basic human right but has a huge implication on the socio-economic status of any nation.
She said: “Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth. Yet, gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps.
“They are too often denied access to basic education and health care. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.”
Nneji, who stated that the objective of the project “is to introduce gender budgeting in Lagos State and train stakeholders in the implementation process, using the recommended training manual,” said the training was the second in the FIDA Lagos’ series of UN Spotlight Initiative Project.
“On June 12, 2020, FIDA Lagos concluded her first activity under the Spotlight Initiative on training of stakeholders on the elimination of violence against women/sexual and gender-based violence/harmful practices and women and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health rights.
“We critically analysed the steps to explore towards elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls with particular focus on sexual and gender-based violence, SGBV, and Harmful Practices, HP/SRHRs,” she explained.
Earlier in her address, Nneji said the project on gender budgeting planned to consider what contributes to effective targeting of women and girls in budget design, implementation and accompanying challenges,
Also included is the validity of Gender Responsive Budgeting, GRB, as a step towards gender mainstreaming and institutionalisation, as well as practical ways to improve targeting in specific government processes, policies and programmes.
Keynote speaker at the event, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, a leading activist on gender-based violence and women’s human rights in Nigeria, who is currently the Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence against Women, recommended that there was need to form a coalition to monitor gender-responsive budgeting.
The climax of the meeting was the formation of a Whatsapp Group by the participants as part of strategies on the way forward, to synergize on holding government accountable for gender budgeting, implementation and utilisation.
The group, according to the participants, is also aimed at enabling the reporting and directing of cases to the appropriate organisations, and promoting the agenda of gender-budgeting.