By Abiemwense Moru
Mrs Beatrice Eyong, UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, says gender inequality and gender violence can lead to poverty if not addressed.
Eyong made this known on Monday in Abuja at the UN Women Nigeria Partners Conference 2023, with the theme, Escalating Media Action for women’s empowerment and ending violence against women and girls.
She said until the issues of gender inequality were handled, sustainable development would never be achieved.
“This is because studies have shown that gender-based violence is good to reduce the gross domestic product of the country up to two per cent.
“So gender equality is not a women’s issue, it is a development issue as we hope this will come out from the media.
“We can show you how our economic growth is reduced, if we take this decade that we are and even the previous decades.
“We will see that the economic growth of African countries that are among countries having growth of up to about five, six and seven per cent annual growth, has never reduced poverty.
“So, gender issue is very important for development,” she said.
Eyong further explained that gender inequality meant equal opportunities, fair treatment, and respect for human beings.
“That is what we are talking about, increased access to all the different groups of people that we have and removing the inequalities that block people from progressing.”
She explained that Nigeria had the mandate which involved domesticating the international standards that had been adopted by everybody.
“Nigeria has ratified nearly all the conventions, the protocols, resolutions for the protection and the promotion of women’s rights.
“So what we are doing in this mandate is to make sure that everybody understands what they are, as there are some people who know about the Maputo protocols, among others.”
She explained that the Maputo protocol adopted by the African heads of states said that representation in institutions should be 50/50, meaning 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women.
“These instruments are there but many people don’t know it because when people know, it will have to change attitudes and behaviours.
“We also have what we call oppressional mandate which is operating within the fields. Carrying out projects, programmes to show that it is possible to reduce gender-based violence and bring about gender equality.
“I know that the media is very powerful and we are calling on the media to carry out this message across to help us reduce gender-based violence.
“This will help us promote gender inequality and women empowerment.
“This is because when they say a country is poor, a continent is poor. This percentage of persons are living below poverty, the only way we can do it is to bring those people out of poverty.
“Let money go to those people who are poor so they can escape poverty. So gender inequality and gender-based violence are perpetuating poverty,” she said.
Also, Mr Lansana Wonneh, Deputy Country Representative to Nigeria, UN Women, expressed happiness that the conversation during the conference touched on different dimensions and angles on how women should collectively work together.
“I know we are in the 16 Days of Activism which is the purpose of our being here on ending gender-based violence.
“The media should collectively work together to achieve the purpose of the discussion which is gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
He called on men to champion the causes of women and assist them to get the results they desired.
“The language has been let us change the narrative, let us change the mindsets, and I want to change first, the media; you have to write more articles appropriately.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma