Home Column International Women’s Day: gender inequality a major setback to sustainable growth

International Women’s Day: gender inequality a major setback to sustainable growth

by News Echo
7 minutes read

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

IWD mission is to help forge a gender equal world. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility while calling out inequality as the key. International women’s day is a collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes the day impactful.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once said that the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.

So what makes International Women’s Day the women’s day is anyone who can truly make a positive difference for women.
IWD 2022 campaign theme of the year is #BreakTheBias. Women all over the world are asked to free themselves from gender inequality. To embrace a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to educate and inspire children and young people about gender equality.
In the world today, the inequality between men and women has always been biased against women, even as they try to close the gender equality gap.
In Nigeria, the women make up 45% of the population of the country but do not share equal rights with the men.

Even in the Nigeria constitution, the rights favour the men more than the women. Section 26 (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, gives the right of citizenship to any woman who marries a Nigerian man becomes a citizen of the country but not for a Nigerian woman.

This discrimination has really affected a lot of people and robbed them of their constitutional rights.
But thanks to a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Akin Alabi who has made process to change that kind of law, and the bill has passed its first reading on February 27.


Some parts of the country still believe that when a woman enters into marriage she becomes the property of the man and when the husband dies, she loses her right to freely live as a woman.

When a woman loses her husband she is asked to shave her hair completely to show respect to the dead. She is not allowed to wear colourful clothes or look beautiful in any way but when a man loses his wife, he is free to do whatever he wishes. There is no mourning stage for him or staying indoors to respect the dead.
An unfair practice that rubs women of their right, this promotes the inequality of a man and a woman.

Section 29 (4) (b) of 1999 Nigerian constitution, which has been amended says that “any woman who has married will been seen as adult’’. These same government officials had adopted the Child Right Act (2003) which says that child marriage is illegal and minimum age for marriage to be increased to 18.
But how will this CRA when the constitution contradicts with it.

This is why the theme of international women’s day “break the bias” is urging everyone to “actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it”.

Teachers, parents and guardians are also asked to play a key role in raising awareness about barriers that impact the advancement of women and girls. They can also help educate about challenging stereotypes and bias. Additionally, they can inspire future generations by celebrating role models and highlighting the wide range of women’s achievements. They can also reinforce the diversity of women overall.

It is important to create a space for children and young people to feel supported and comfortable to talk about gender equality, and their experiences and rights. It is important to have an agreed code of conduct that is supportive, sensitive and understanding of diversity and difference.

Children and young people need to feel safe, but also encouraged to speak out and share their experiences, concerns and points of view. International women’s day aim is to reach more girls and young women, educate more communities-including boys – and support on the ground advocacy campaigns, with the aim to scale these efforts. International Women’s Day is powered by the collective efforts of all in supporting, inspiring and empowering women worldwide. It is a day were all women support themselves and promote women power.

Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) is the most extreme manifestation of gender inequality and human rights violation. There is a growing understanding that VAWG has many dimensions, physical, emotional, verbal, mental, spiritual, and psychological, this also includes both a deliberate deprival of dignity and access to basic services.

In Nigeria, girls and young women have used their curriculum across the country to lobby state officials, educating them on the importance of the Stop the Violence Program, highlighting the issues that are affecting them in their community. Girl Guides participated at a nationwide walk against Child Sexual Abuse, demanding that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition ACT (VAPP) be incorporated into state law, with the aim to protect as many girls as possible.

The 1995 Beijing Platform for Action flagged 12 key areas where urgent action was needed to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys. It also laid out concrete ways for countries to bring about change. UN Women works with governments and partners to ensure such change is real for women and girls around the world.
Violence hurts women and girls and hampers their ability to thrive in multiple ways. Since the Beijing Conference, an historic two-thirds of countries have put laws on the books to stop domestic violence. Yet gaps in laws, implementation of legal protection and lack of access to essential services remain for women globally.

Ending violence against women is one of UN Women’s key priorities. They support expanding access to quality multi-sectorial responses for survivors covering safety, shelter, health, justice and other essential services. They advocate for laws and help guide policies and action plans to help step-up investments in prevention—the most cost-effective, long-term means to stop violence against women by addressing its root causes.

Whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or through unpaid domestic or care work at home, women make enormous contributions to economies. Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions.

To ensure that women can contribute fully and benefit from the economy, UN Women runs multiple programmes for women’s economic empowerment. We promote women’s ability to secure decent jobs, own land; accumulate assets, and influence institutions and public policies determining growth and development. They also work with partners to ensure that workplaces are free of violence and sexual harassment.

Women today are becoming strong office holders because they are now fighting for their right. In every sector of the country we find women there supporting each other and changing the game. We now have women as doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, and so on.

The celebration of the International Women’s Day is to encourage women to stand up and do not take the inequality anymore. Women are encouraged to support each other because they need to start from themselves if they want the men to know and to join them in the fight against inequality.

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