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April 22, 2024
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Stakeholders seek adoption of transformative approach for gender equality

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By Angela Atabo

Stakeholders have called for the adoption of gender transformative approach to promote gender equality in Nigeria.

The stakeholders said this at the third Annual Transformative Gender Justice Conference with the theme: “Diversity and Inclusion: Empowering Communities for Transformative Gender Justice”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr Temitope Fashola, the Country Director, Christian Aid, said that the aim of the conference was to deepen the discourse on the imbalanced power dynamics relations.

“The imbalance fueled by social cultural norms, and advanced by gender blind legislative and policy frameworks inadvertently perpetuates gender inequality.

“In terms of women participation in participatory and decision-making processes, statistics has repeatedly shown that Nigeria remains below the Global Average of 22.5 per cent.

“The 2023 General Elections marked a significant downward slide for women’s representation in Nigerian politics as the number of women in Nigeria’s National Assembly dropped by 19 per cent compared to the last assembly,” he said.

Fashola said that although gender equality discourses often engaged women more than men, it was important to recognise and address challenges for both sex.

He said this was because while most gender inequalities disadvantaged women, there were also important issues to address that primarily affected men.

He said that assigned gender roles and societal pressures had left men struggling with strict and unrealistic expectations of masculinity.

“ It is allegedly reported that males account for 80.6 per cent of suicide rates in Nigeria, an undeniable effect of negative coping mechanisms.

“It is on these bases that we believe that these negative effects can be reversed using the transformative gender justice approach.

“This approach seeks to actively examine, challenge, and transform the underlying causes of gender inequality rooted in inequitable social structures and institutions,” he said.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, commended Christian Aid for the initiative adding that the ministry would continue to work to promote gender parity.

Kennedy-Ohanenye,represented by Mrs Funke Oladipo, the Director of Gender and Development, said the vision of the ministry was to build a Nigerian society devoid of gender discrimination, as well as guaranteed equal access to political, social and economic wealth creation opportunities.

She added that the ministry was also working to develop a culture that placed premium on the protection of the child and focus attention of both the public and private sector on issues that promote full participation of women.

“The ministry has put in place some mechanism to achieve this, however, the fight against stereotyping on the basis of gender in family, schools, worship centres in our society is the responsibility of all,” she said.

Mr Monday Osasah, the Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), said that the conference aspires to achieve multifaceted objectives to empower women and girls to participate in governance.

Osasah, represented by Dr Emenike Umeri, Director of Leadership, said the conference would enable conversations on power dynamics and secure commitments from faith leaders to challenge harmful norms, and expand the impactful Side-by-Side interfaith movement for gender justice.

“let us seize this opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to gender justice, to forge new partnerships, and to mobilize collective action towards a more equitable future;together, we have the power to challenge norms, influence policies, and create lasting impact,” he said.

The Chairperson, Women in Parliament, Ms Blessing Amadi, said there was need for urgent legislation to ensure increased women participation in governance and the group was championing it at the National Assembly. (NAN)

Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

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