The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) commemorates the International Women’s Day 2021 with theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.
While we on this Day commend the recent political actions and multilateral decisions setting a pace for increased priority for women in leadership positions across the world, we at the same time acknowledge the tremendous impacts these have resonated with renewed policy focus affirming Beijing Declaration.
In the spirit of commendations, we are perturbed by various normalised factors militating against women participation in leadership positions at various levels in Nigeria, most especially the deliberately imposed deep-rooted historic, cultural, and socio-economic barriers that prevent them from competing favourably at decision-making tables.
We reiterate our disappointment and condemn in totality the deliberate moves to backpedal effort at achieving gender equality in all spheres such as the unwelcome development breathed by Covid-19 Pandemic with massive extortions, terminations and demotions targeted majorly at women population through varied secretive moves by some businesses in guise of unfair measures to ease financial impacts of Covid-19.
We recall that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures, women including the Rights-holders were marginalised in all spheres of the economy. This included various inequalities that featured in under-paid or poorly paid employment rewards and other benefits. As a result, rights-holders constitute the vulnerable and socio-economic deprived group whose families live below the poverty line, estimated at $1.90 per person per day in 2019 World Bank Report.
While it is evident that women possess the right, adequate capacity, potential, wisdom, talents and skill required to develop the country, we are displeased by the widening gender gaps in political structures and processes in Nigeria, as manifested in low numbers of women in political party decision making structures; limited involvement of women in household, community and political spheres; unclear rules and procedures on recruitment and conduct of primaries.
We re-affirm that gender equality is an imperative for progress on socio-economic emancipation and development in Nigeria, while calling for adequate political decision and policy realignment that recognise Beijing Declaration in addressing inequalities militating against gender equality in leadership position, cultural representation, political inclusion, socio-economic capacity, education attainment and domestic burdens.
We demand adequate and holistic support by both the public and private sector to the women and other vulnerable groups at all levels to alleviate socio-economic deprivation and reinforce self-sufficiency and self-determination among women.
Executive Director, MAMA Centre