Nigeria, two days ago, joined the rest of the world to mark the International Women’s Day, a global event dedicated to honouring women. Women it is known plays critical roles in the development of any nation but it is not certain that they have been given their due.
Marked annually on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year. The aim of the occasion is to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, and lobby for accelerated gender parity, raise funds for female-focused charities. The campaign theme for international women’s day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. So let all #ChooseToChallenge
We decry the marginalization of women and wish to remind the nation’s leaders that no meaningful development can be achieved without the adequate involvement of women in the effort given the critical roles that women play in the scheme of things.
Worst still is that women in the state are not recognized in the scheme of things. They are not respected and their opinions or voices are not heard. This scenario affects their confidence, financial capacities in politics, and investment and even their contributions to the economy.”
The Social Development Goals (SDG 2015-2030), stated that Goal 5, requires the elimination of all forms of discrimination, violence against all women, and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking, sexual abuse, and other types of exploitation”. This discriminatory tendency is one factor that excludes women in decision making even on issues that affect their development.
Reflecting on the challenges of women in Nigeria what stands out very prominent is the matter of culture and religion. These twin limiting factors if handled can take the women folk to the highest height. They have stood like the rock of Gibraltar impeding their development.
Cultural and religious beliefs imbibed by the women exclude them from so many opportunities and given their roles in the upbringing of children they have continued to transfer these from generation to generation. A woman has the capacity to mould a child in the direction of choice including those that bring limitations
Our culture would exclude women from eating certain parts of meat while religion would impress on them that they must be under the men. It limits their ambition to aspire higher because they would not want to be seen as excelling beyond their men counterparts.
News Echo calls on the federal government to allow more women participation in decision making, respecting the rights of women, even as we call on women to rise up to the challenges and assume their rightful positions to create a better society.
The various women groups and the government should strive to eliminate all traditional and religious practices which limit women’s freedom. This is to allow their voice and participation in governance, to enable them contributes their God given talents and skills in development. There is no doubt that the patriarchal systems run in the country are major impediments to women emancipation.
There should be an action packed program to champion women development in the state because nothing should be spared to preserve the dignity of womanhood.