By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-AS the world mark International Women’s Day today, the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs,NAWE, has said what women want was an equal future free from stigma, stereotype and violence.
Besides, the group said women want a future that was sustainable, peaceful with equal rights and opportunities for all.
National president of NAWE, Barrister Vera Ndanusa, addressing a press conference, Monday, in Abuja, to mark the day, said to get women to these areas,” the world needs women at every table where decisions are being made.”
“Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all.
“To get us there, the world needs women at every table where decisions are being made,” she said.
Noting that:”Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in of all areas of life drives progress for everyone”, she regretted that:” Yet, women are still underrepresented in public life and decision-making, as revealed in the UN Secretary-General’s recent report.”
“Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years,” she added.
“To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, with the theme: “Women in Leadership, Achieving An Equal Future in a COVID-19 world”, we are advocating for government support with a special focus on women, because the impact of COVID-19 on women analysed the effects of COVID-19 on all sectors of women’s lives and most of their living experiences,” she said.
According to her,”This, the Government can do by placing a special focus on women especially those living in the rural areas and see how it could address their plights.”
” To this end, we are calling on the government to provide agricultural inputs to women in rural areas to enhance food production and reduce workload through the use of appropriate technologies along the chain of agriculture production,” she further said.
The group’s prepared text reads thus:”Women, like their male counterparts, can be big-time farmers in Nigeria if given the necessary and desired support by Government and corporate organizations like banks. Of course, we have women who are so enterprising but for the lack of financial backing, they have gone back into their Shields. After all, we have women who are very successful in other businesses, so why not in the agricultural sector?
“Government could also assist in the establishment of “women shareholders multipurpose cooperatives” in both urban and rural settings. Such cooperatives could serve as channels for the dissemination of information and for the provision of such assistance in dealing with health challenges like Malaria, Hipetites and COVID-19 that increase maternal mortality.
“A special gender-sensitive monitoring system should be developed and adopted by central and commercial banks to ensure that loans and cash transfers target reach vulnerable women. Such a system could also guarantee that cash transfers do not fall into the hands of men and the less needy.
“The United Nations could develop gender-sensitive monitoring and impact checklists to assist countries with follow-up and assessment of their achievements in all sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One other dangerous and business monster in Nigeria is fuel increase. Each time the Government increase fuel pump price, many businesses suffer because there is always an astronomical increase in prices of commodities and others including transportation.
“What do expect of the rural enterprising women, whose businesses suffer serious hiccups? It’s in this light, that we in NAWE are not in support of the rumoured planned fuel pump price by Government this month. Over the years, such an increase has been affecting the Nigerian economy negatively.
“It’s unfortunate that Women have become danger species in northern Nigeria with the abduction of schoolgirls almost on weekly basis thereby hampering their educational pursuit. Even at the home front, a woman is not psychologically stable due to the trauma they go through whenever their loved ones are kidnapped or killed by insurgents or bandits. The increase in boundary, kidnapping and insurgency across the nation especially North East and North West is unacceptable.”
The group called for “equal opportunities in the social, economic and political spheres; end to social stereotypes associated with the female gender and
more government interventions directed at the girl child.”
Others are:”Strong partnerships between the government and the civil society to end gender-based violence against women and girls; domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition,,VAPP Act to reduce cases of Gender-Based Violence,GBV against women and girls and 35% affirmative action for all elective positions at all levels of government in the country.”
“As an association, NAWE chooses to challenge the incessant rights abuse and marginalization of women in the social, political and cultural spheres within the Nigerian Society.
We choose to challenge the unequal opportunities that exist in the Nigerian society
“We choose to challenge the prevailing negative perceptions of the female gender in the Nigerian society,” it further said.