The UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, has warned that with the pace of things with regard to disparity between men and women in the area of governance, development and economic opportunities, it will take over 200 years to achieve gender equality in Nigeria.
Lamptey raised this concern over the weekend while speaking at the National Media Briefing and flag-off activities in commemoration of the 2020 International Women’s Day in Abuja by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the British Council’s Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) Programme and European Union.
She disclosed that, ”women and young girls access to basic human rights continued to be threatened as women work more hours earn less with less than five percent (5%) women representation in parliament, as child marriage and violence against women and girls still persist.
“At the current rate of change, the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity will not close for another 257 years and the estimated time keeps increasing.”
According to her, unless progress on gender equality is accelerated, the global Community including Nigeria will fail to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 5. It will also forgo the catalytic effect that gender equality can have on the achievement of the 2030 agenda more broadly.
To avoid this outcome, Lamptey stressed the importance of education in Nigeria stating that in Nigeria, about 10.5million children are not in school even though primary education is officially free and compulsory.
In the same vein, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, restated the need for educating the girl-child as this is crucial in attaining the mandate of gender equality.
According to Tallen, “education remains pivotal in achieving our mandate. When a Girl-Child is educated, half of society’s poor social indices and issues will be resolved.
“There is need to work towards the enrolment, retention and completion of the Girl-Child in Primary and Secondary Education as well as promote second chance education for young mothers and women who dropped out of school due to early pregnancy.”
She further stated that it is time to take stock and assess current challenges affecting the implementation and the realization of gender equality and women agenda in Nigeria, as this will go a long way to determine easily the extent of work done.
While speaking, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, stated the need for all hands to be on deck noting that “even though it is the issues of women, there is need for a deeper rooted collaborative effort on all partner agency to deal to a reasonable threshold the issues surrounding gender equality.”