By Ebunoluwa Sessou & Esther Onyegbula
Gender stereotypes have been identified as one of the factors militating against the rights of women and girls in Nigeria and the world at large. The big question is how to challenge different stereotypes against women. This issue was raised in the just-concluded Vanguard International Women’s Day held in Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos.
With the theme: Nigerian Women and COVID-19 Resilience, and the #Choose to Challenge, they spoke against all forms of stereotypes that women face on daily basis. In this extract, they have decided to challenge gender stereotypes.
We’ve got to reach out to the younger generation through technology — First lady, Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu
Women have been marginalised for too long and to change the narrative; we have to reach out to the younger generation through technology. We need to go to the drawing board. We need to strategize. We need more women in decision-making. More women were molested during the pandemic. In fact, the violence took a new turn as more young girls became victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse by relatives and their fathers. With the recognition that our women have been marginalised for far too long, subjugated due to no fault of theirs but the society at large, we felt that to change the narrative, we have to reach out to the younger generation. Educated women need to go to the drawing board to strategize.
Nigerian women should choose to challenge all bad habits — Dame Abimbola Fashola
Nigerian women should choose to challenge all bad habits, bad behaviour perpetrated by any gender.
We should not wait till things turn very bad before we speak out. We should champion the cause of all humans – both young and old – for better living, good health, and total education to have great leaders who are caring and supportive of the causes of all Nigerians.
We should take up the fight for the voiceless wherever we find ourselves.
I challenge women who will not invest in real estate — Ichechi Okonkwo, CEO, Victoria Crest Homes
I choose to challenge a world where women will not invest in real estate.
Policies, Labour laws should be fostered to support women — Mories Atoki, ABC Health Organisations should adopt the best practice standard for workers. Labour law should be reviewed in light of the new normal in society. The time is right to display our courage. At a time like this, it is important for women to take the bull by the horn.
The world is changing and more attention is being drawn to supporting and empowering women. The time is ripe for us to display our courage, be bold and speak up. Therefore, policies, Labour law, and things that should naturally embrace, support, and assist the woman at the workplace, at home, and wherever she finds herself, should be fostered either by our actions, our voices, or our reactions.
No woman should be left behind — Woman Affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen
No woman should be left behind after the devastating experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also work with the Federal Ministry of Youths in the survival platforms. We embark on high-level sensitisation and advocacy all over the country through their cooperative group for them to have knowledge about this loan and how to access the loan.
More people should invest in agriculture — Ozioma Ukegbu-Onwordi, Farmer
Agriculture feeds the nation and women need all the support to move it to the desired destination. There is a need for training. There is a need to engage the community leaders and more people should invest in agriculture.
We’ve lots of discriminating laws against women in our constitution — Aisha Yesufu, Activist
We have lots of discriminating laws against women in our constitution. Women must be ready to be part of politics. We must not wait to be called upon before we take our place at the table. We have systematic and societal discrimination in place and we have to challenge those discriminations. It is not enlightenment that we need; we need a level-playing field for women to compete with men. I do not think that we need 35 per cent affirmative action, we need 100 per cent.
Court must show a sense of responsibility on women issues — Justice Olusola Williams
The court must show a sense of responsibility when it comes to the issue of women and it should not be negotiated.
I challenge all forms of abuse — Aisha Abdulkarim
I am challenging all forms of abuse against women and girls.
Nigerian women shouldn’t be relegated — Prof Lillian Salami, VC, University of Benin
Nigerian women should not be relegated, rather, they should be given a voice where necessary for better representation.
We should prepare our girls early enough to improve on STEM education — Engr. Funlola Ojelabi, President, APWEN
One of the factors hindering students from taking STEM is the unavailability of teaching aids and facilities. If the Ministry of Education can invest in STEM, it will be easy for students to study engineering.
We should prepare our girls early enough to improve on STEM education and spend quality time on education.
I challenge the barbaric idea of showcasing ladies and women’s nudity — Fausat Ibrahim, Oxford Group
I challenge every woman to love herself, to become a formidable team that cannot be trampled upon by any man in life.
I challenge the inability of women not having foresight in life to be able to assume leadership positions.
I challenge the barbaric idea of showcasing ladies’ and women’s nudity.
I challenge acts of hatred that women have shown to one another.
We need to provide resources for women — Mufuliat Fijabi, CEO, Nigerian Women Trust Fund
We need to provide resources for women. Advancing the cause of women into leadership positions attracts resources and it cannot be ruled out. Women are not politically supported to advance their positions. We need Nigeria’s electoral system to be de-monetized. Over the years, the table has not been very good for women. The stereotype is still a factor and is still very much in place.
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I’ll like to see a policy that respects human lives — Abimbola Olu-Sholanke Nutritionist
I will like to see a policy that respects human lives. Lots of things have been over-mechanicalized in our agriculture. The quality of our food has been compromised. Parents should be intentional about educating their children on nutrition.
Enforce Labour laws — Dr. Temitope Farombi, Online Health Company
There is a need to enforce Labour laws.
In Nigeria, widows are treated as wizards and we should begin to change the narrative. Widows should be treated with respect and I want to see a policy that would be implemented in that regard
We need women who are willing to take up challenges — Senamie Ayodeji, CEO, Pro Brand Corporate
Women should continue to learn, grow and explore opportunities. We need women who are willing to take up challenges and forge ahead without any limitations.
More gender-friendly policies towards women need to be implemented for a better society.