March 12, 2022

Nigeria must close gender gaps if it must succeed— Minister

COVID -19: Pauline Tallen self isolates as test returns positive



By Victoria Ojeme, and Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja.

The Federal Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, Thursday, Urged stakeholders to close the gender gaps between men and women in all facets of governance to create a more effective, sustainable and inclusive society and economy.

Tallen made this call during the celebration of the 2022 International Women’s Day, themed: “Changing Climates: Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, organized by the Abuja Chambers of Commerce, and Industry, ACCI in Abuja.

Describing the event as a step to announce Women’s readiness for governance in Nigeria, Tallen pointed out that the major obstacle observed to be the hitch of gender equality is climate change, as it places women in a more susceptible way.

She further called for equal access to education for the girl-child, stating that it remains a veritable instrument and enduring intervention in women empowerment.

She said: “The theme of this year’s women’s day is apt and relevant for local and global interventions that end bias, break barriers and foster gender equality.

“A major obstacle observed in efforts to gender parity is climate change. There are incontrovertible indications that women are worse hit by climate change than menfolk. In fact, gender inequality places women in a more susceptible way to climate change’s dreadful effect. Inequality reduces women’s ability to be financially independent and has a terrible impact on their political and social rights.

“Similarly, gender roles in societal norms of developing countries mostly put men in charge and women being supported. This worsens the plight of women whose families rely on agriculture and labour work for daily sustenance.

“Increasing frequency and the expansion of dissertation in the southern globe means that women travel farther distances for farming, gathering of cooking firewoods and in search of water sources etc, which increases the chances of attacks by armed bandits.

“In Uganda, for instance, the research found that severe droughts have caused an increase in substance abuse, which resulted in more instances of domestic violence. Similarly, financial pressures associated with droughts were partly the cause of the increase in alcohol consumption, drug and substance abuse by men as a coping mechanism which resulted in increased violence against women.

“Sad realities of strong patriarchal tendencies are evident around the world, particularly in Nigeria where recently, the National Assembly had massively voted against bills initiated to improve the socio-economic and political status of Nigerian women. Suffice to state that the said action of the National Assembly which has been roundly condemned by well-meaning Nigerians is in the clear negation of the policy thrust on gender inclusion and mainstreaming championed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria H.E Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the First Lady Her Excellency Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, respectively.

“In spite of the odds, cheering news however is that locally and at the global space, many women have through sheer hard work, tenacity and resilience distinguished themselves in endeavours ranging from politics, finance/ banking, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), agriculture and food supply chain, commerce and industry, etc.

“The onus effectively rests on governmental actors, policymakers, civil society and advocacy organizations, faith-based groups, the academia, cultural and traditional institutions to join hands in positive actions to extricate women from unfair, harmful and inhuman practices of domination and all forms of patriarchal tendencies that inhibit equality, the dignity of women and overall development.

“I will leave this august occasion with a recommendation that equal access to education for the boy and girl-child remains a veritable instrument and enduring intervention in women empowerment.

“In conclusion, I call for actions to celebrate the contributions of women! I call for actions by the world to tap into the potentials of the women for a sustainable tomorrow.”

On his part, the President of ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar who was represented by Chief Emeka Obegonu, the Deputy President of ACCI, in his remark, stated that the role of women in the economic progress of the nation as indispensable as they play a critical part in the development of the country.

“ACCI has always been a strong supporter of women hence, our continuous engagement for women empowerment remains a top priority.

“The role of women in economic development cannot be overemphasised because it is critical to the overall national development agenda. We understand that the Nigerian business environment is harsh to women but the global reckoning of Nigerian women has continued to surge with over 23 million female entrepreneurs putting Nigeria amongst the highest entrepreneurs in the world.

“Nigerian women too, are said to account for 41 per cent ownership of micro-businesses in the country.

“Although women may face many challenges and have fought against all sorts of stereotypes, many keep doing their best by showing their leadership skills and excelling in their field. This has brought many to limelight in their chosen fields and careers.

“The EXCO, Council members and management of the ACCI celebrate our women and we pledge that we will continue to support them for positive growth and development”, he said.

The Managing Director, MD, of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, While presenting a paper titled: “Breaking the Ice”, urged women to aim for personal development, desire deep knowledge of their industry and world affairs in breaking the ice in career and entrepreneurship.

While advising women to be tenacious, she urged the Nigerian women to support themselves as it would go a long way in enhancing their voices all around Nigeria.

He advised that the prioritization of the education of the girl-child should be taken more seriously.

She said: “Women everywhere need to understand that no one will hand over their rightful place to them on a platter of gold. Victory is never served a la carte.

“Women should not forget the place of preparation and personal development. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I will prepare myself and one day, my chance will come.

“Develop your leadership skills. Even if your company does not train you, train yourself. Improve the quality of your mind. They say women are emotional and soft to manage senior positions. We need more women who are tenacious

“We need more women to support women. If each one could reach one, then each one would teach one. Women who have broken the ice in their careers and businesses and shattered the glass ceiling must be deliberate about raising the next generation of female leaders. Women must provide a support system for other women seeking to make headway in a room filled with bias. We must prioritize the education of the girl child. If you educate and train a girl, you have trained the society.

“It is also extremely important that we create enabling environments for women to thrive and maximize their full potential. This is a need we identified in Fidelity Bank and it informs our newly launched HerFidelity Proposition.”

Vanguard News Nigeria