Chairman, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi.
One of the reasons why the five targets of the Sustainable Development Goal-5, SDG-5, has not been met is because government is unsupportive towards the goal’s attainment.
This was the submission of civil society leaders and women coalition groups who attended a two-day capacity-building workshop on ‘Coordination Mechanisms to End Violence Against Women and to Generate Shadow Reports’ organised by the Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre, WARDC, under its United Nations Spotlight Initiative Project.
Speaking at the Day-2 of the event, one of the facilitators, Mojisola Akinsanya, Executive Director for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative, observed there have not been sufficient programmes and policies to empower women, thereby slowing down the SDG-5.
“Government tends to focus only on aspects of the SDGs that favour the men. It has not been supportive of the achievement of the targets of this goal.
“As long as poverty exists, social ills will continue. We cannot remove poverty but we can reduce it. Gender equality cannot be achieved when women do not have the money to empower themselves and run for political offices,” she said.
According to Akinsanya, who also decried the incessant rate of abuse of women and girls, it is important to document reports of cases of abuse of women’s rights. This is so that such reports and activities can be also documented and reviewed at UN meetings.
She went on: “Then, we can identify loopholes and advocate further for women’s rights. Civil society groups are the mouthpiece of the people and they should let the world know how true government’s reports are. It is our duty to assess the reports of government.”
Still on the SDG-5 target, Gbemisola Akosa, Executive Director, Centre for 21st Century Issues, argued that there was need to engage women at the grassroots because most women do not have access to the internet; which would have helped them gain knowledge on gender-based violence.
She noted that during the lockdown, there were increased cases of abuse concerning women and girls, owing to the fact that the victims were more vulnerable to their violators.
She said: “Although there has been a number of sensitisation programmes on the internet and the media, this information does not always get to the people at the grassroots since they do not have access to the internet.
“All stakeholders, including civil society groups and government, need to create more empowerment opportunities for women as gender equality cannot be achieved when women do not have the resources needed to empower themselves.”