Abuja (Women Affairs Ministry Report)
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina has lately acknowledged the need to solicit for support and partnership from the men-folk for the current efforts of women empowerment, gender mainstreaming and the campaign against gender – based violence in the country to be successful and thorough.
Zainab Maina stated this in Abuja at a one-day meeting with the Nigerian Male Gender Champions on the Outcome of the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Voices for Change Initiative.
According to the Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ezekiel Oyemomi, men’s engagement in gender mainstreaming is an instrument for achieving more ways of effecting change and dismantling the obstacles against women advancement. The Minister further affirmed that the elimination of violence against women can only be achieved if men and boys take full responsibility, working side by side with women and girls to redress the dynamics that hinder progress as well as stand up for women’s rights in the family, workplace and community.
Maina also noted that since the remarkable ‘Fourth World Conference on Women’ held in China in 1995, the engagement of men and boys in gender equity and women’s rights has been increasingly recognized as critical to achieving women’s empowerment; adding that it has become ever more important as the post-2015 agenda is being developed.
“Men can and should be partners in educating other men on women’s rights and in moving our society towards gender equity and equality by joining and leading the campaign against harmful traditional practices such as widowhood rights, denial of access to owning land or inheritance, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and other practices affecting women’s realization of their potentials,” she noted.
“The meeting was convened to translate the agreed conclusions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 58th Session into concrete actions and ensure their implementation in every nook and cranny of Nigeria in line with the present Administration’s Transformation Agenda. The 58th session evaluated progress made by member-states on women empowerment and the promotion of gender equality as well as identified challenges and articulated the concrete advancement of women and the girl-child in the countdown to the 2015 development agenda.”
The Minister recalled the Commission’s recommendation that member-states should take action to fully engage men and boys, including community leaders as well as strategic partners and allies in the efforts to promote and achieve gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls.
In his welcome address at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry represented by the Director of Finance and Accounts in the Ministry, Yakubu Mohammed stated that gender equality is not about women challenging men who are the head of the family, rather it is about equal rights, opportunities and benefits for collective development. He added that greater women’s rights and equal participation in public life with men is not only a better form of governance for improved service delivery, but a smart economics and countries that embrace it have really developed.
Speaking during his paper presentation titled: “Importance of Women Empowerment and the Gender Equality Agenda,” Chidi Odinkalu averred that empowerment for women means investing in getting more into offices, getting more into schools, keeping many more away from the morgue during childbirth and ensuring that the women, who go to the farm or school are not stolen by sex perverts playing God’s avatars.
Chidi Odinkalu noted that the decision making hoops are still controlled by powerful men, insisting that it makes sense to enlist the partnership of men for greater empowerment of women.
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