Calls for more attention to women’s welfare, dignity
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 2020, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Wednesday, expressed concern over poor treatment women in Nigeria continue to suffer despite international treaties signed and promises made by the government to add value to the lives of women in the country.
This was expressed by the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, while maintaining that Nigerian women are “still over-represented in low paid, insecure jobs with little or no access to social protection and rights at work”, which she emphasized that several occupational health and safety risks, female workers are more targeted for violence and harassment at work.
Obi also urged the Federal Government to put in place mechanisms that would strengthen legal protections for women against Gender-Based Violence, GBV, at work and home.
She also called on formal and informal employers of labour to prioritize the protection and promotion of the rights of their workers, especially female workers.
She said: “As we mark the 2020 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we need to recognise that Nigerian women are still over-represented in low paid, insecure jobs with little or no access to social protection and rights at work.
“This leaves them vulnerable to multiple forms of violence; a manifestation of patriarchal norms, the undervaluing of women’s work, and the attacks on labour standards.
“ActionAid Nigeria urges the Federal Government of Nigeria to strengthen legal protections against Gender-Based Violence at work by adopting, enacting, and enforcing national laws and regulations that will ensure universal access to gender-responsive, appropriate, and effective complaint systems, safe and confidential reporting, and transparent justice mechanisms for victims of gender-based violence and harassment at work, including informal work. We also implore all formal and informal employers of labour to prioritize the protection and promotion of the rights of their workers, especially female workers.”
According to her (Obi) the reason why women are relegated to the background is as a result of different factors including conditions of work, type of work, employment in the informal sector, precarious, short-term work, and low bargaining power.
However, she pointed salient issues that demand the government’s urgent attention and described them as priority issues, which include: That government funds public services that meet the needs of women and girls (gender-responsive public services) such as in shelter, education, health, sanitation, and agriculture sector.
That government ratifies the ILO C’190 to ensure women and girls are protected from harassment and sexual exploitation in the world of work; and that CSO actors continue to hold the government accountable and bring attention to gender-based violence especially in the world of work, women’s unpaid care and domestic work, and the impacts on the realization of women’s rights to decent work, social protection, and public services.