MMS Amazons Pledge To Unearth Root Causes of Gender Imbalance In Nigeria
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
As part of efforts to address the fundamental issues responsible for gender disparity, Nigeria women have said they plan to set-up a think-tank group to study and unveil the factors responsible for gender imbalance in the nation.
The idea which was canvassed by MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Initiative where they did a post celebration of the 2022 International Women’s Day in Lagos yesterday, where some of the amazons took turn to air their views, voicing out loudly and firmly that human rights are women rights.
Aggregating the voices of women at the event, the Guest Lecturer, Chief Executive Officer of African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr. Felicia Mogo in her lecture titled “Gender Equality: Puncturing the Stereotypes Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, advocated policies that will enhance gender equality.
Also, Chief Host of the event and Chief Executive Officer of Lelook Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, leading the movement for gender balance along other great women who have distinguished themselves in the maritime industry, observed that Nigerian women still have a long way to go in the fight for their rights in the country.
She however expressed delight that a number of in the maritime sector are not resting on their oar in the struggle for gender balance, noting that leading maritime women have remained vocal and even visited the National Assembly in Abuja to mark the 2022 IWD celebration, to kick against the recent rejection of gender sensitive bills by the male dominated legislators.
“I’m very happy that we are here to celebrate women who have broken the bias in their respective fields as well as those who are working assiduously to break the bias. As we celebrate, it is important that we really understand this bias before exploring strategies to break it. We have a worthy speaker to tell us more about this bias,” she said.
Delivering her lecture, Dr. Mogo suggested that experts should take more critical look at the gender content of other countries and its gender distribution system with a view to adopting same in Nigeria; noting that Nigerian women demand for gender equity does not in any way threat to displace men but in all honesty, that gender competences should be recognized and given its due in the national polity.
Meanwhile, she lamented that women are repeatedly falling and will continue to fall victim to rape, kidnappings, robberies and other violent activities against women in Nigeria, and urged the federal and state government rise to the occasion and address the security challenges plaguing the nation, noting that women have been affected the more.
Her words: “As an outcome from this MMS WoFHoF event or from the Ministry of Women Affairs, there should be a holistic study of the root causes of gender inequality in Nigeria. These findings should be documented and published.
“There is also a need to agree on a particular benchmark to be attained for gender balance. We can copy from the successful strategies by countries that are doing well in this regard.”
She also expressed dissatisfaction that the high level of participation of women across the various economic, political, and socio-cultural sectors have not translated into significant participation in the gender leadership value chain.
Dr. Mogo however, opined that data collection is very important in appraising the development of women participation across various aspects of the nation’s economy and in governance.
In his welcome address, the Founder of MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke note that the Initiative will continue to lend its voice against what he described as a national on the part of the lawmakers who reportedly jettisoned gender bills sent to the National Assembly, saying the act is grossly insensitive and a great national disservice.
“We demand the immediate passage of all women-related bills at the National Assembly. While we commend the leadership of the House of Representatives for rescinding their earlier position on the bills, we call on both chambers to revisit the rejected bills and give them accelerated treatment.”
“Unless this is done, we shall join our leaders to seek the mobilization of Nigerian women to adopt a posture of “NO Gender Bills: NO Vote For Male Candidates” in 2023 general elections and subsequent ones. “
He continues: “Why is it difficult to create special seats for women in the national and state houses of assembly? Why the age-long lip-service for the support for 35% women participation in elective and appointive positions in Nigeria?
“Why should lawmakers support the floating of women by denial of indigene-ship? A married woman is denied rights in her husband’s place and place of birth on the ground that she has been married out. Why should a reasonable man vote against citizenship by registration? A woman cannot give her foreign husband Nigerian citizenship today. All these bias against female gender are rooted in male chauvinism and not African cultures or traditions,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the uncommon advocate irrepressible doyen of gender balance, former Continental President of WIMAFRICA, Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN), described the action of the National Assembly in refusing the gender bills on March 1, 2022 as a gross display of bias.
Her words: “As part of bias and gender inequality, on the 1st day of International Women’s Month, Nigeria’s 9th National Assembly of 95.0% men voted against the following constitutional amendments: The right for a Nigerian Woman to grant her foreign- born husband Nigerian citizenship. Yet, a Nigerian man’s foreign born wife gets automatic citizenship.”
“The right for Nigerians in the diaspora to vote during national elections, in spite of their much favoured remitted $9.6BN (2021) has been put under question mark. The right for a woman to take indigene ship of her husband’s state after 5 years of marriage is also in vogue.
“We note the 35% affirmative action for women in party administration and leadership. We demand specific seats to be allocated for women in the National Assembly”, she declared.
The event also featured the celebration of eight women identified as 2022 IWD Amazons by the MMS WoFHoF Initiative. They include: the Managing Director of Multimix Academy, Mrs. Oluchi Okafor; Managing Partner of Hudson Gee Nigeria Limited, Barr. Gloria Kanabe; Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Engr. Sarat Braimah; Deputy Director, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mrs. Margaret Ogbonnah.
Others are: Zonal Public Relations Officer, Zone A Customs headquarters, Nkeiru Nwala; Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Shielibe Abe; Head of Corporate and Strategic Communications at the Lagos Ports Complex, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Arit Nwokedi and the Executive Secretary of MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mrs. Ifeoma lloh.