Adaora Onyechere, a Nigerian broadcast journalist, and gender equality and women’s right advocate, gives her view concerning issues of gender equality, women empowerment and actualization of women’s dreams in leadership. Gender equality implies that the sex of an individual does not determine his or her responsibilities, opportunities, and rights. According to the rule of gender equality, the denial of a woman’s legal rights, based on her gender, is considered as gender inequality and an infringement on her rights.
Women empowerment, as a step towards achieving gender equality, has to do with the promotion of self-actualization in women, enabling them to have charge over their lives and having equal access to participate in opportunities available in the society. The empowerment groom women into a gender that embraces equal opportunities in social, political, and economic fields, just the same way as men. A woman could get self-empowered by going to school, touring the world, learning a new language, immigrating, engaging in politics, among others. The re-examination of laws and norms that affect women negatively could also be a means of empowerment.
The National Assembly rejected five gender-related bills.
Founder of Gender Strategy Advancement International (GSAI) added that gender inclusivity is not limited to a particular gender but to both genders, as it plays a vital role towards the achievement of a peaceful and sustainable world. The implementation of relevant laws for the betterment of the lives of Nigerian women would contribute greatly to the achievement of gender inclusion. The National Assembly recently rejected five gender-related bills that would help women thrive in politics and personal lives.
Rejected proposals include the bill to establish a law for the provision of special seats for women at the National Assembly; the bill that encourages the inclusion of women in political party administration; a proposal for the establishment of a law to reserve a quota for women in politics; The Indigeneship Bill that would permit women to become indigenes of their husbands’ states after five years of marriage; and the proposal for the enactment of a law that allows for citizenship by registration for foreign spouses of Nigerian women.
The UN considers gender equality as a step towards an inclusive society.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals-SDG5 that advocates for the empowerment of girls and women, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against the female gender, has also stressed the fact that gender equality is a major step towards achieving an inclusive society. A paramount issue on the advocacy of gender equality is the participation of women in politics, which has proven so difficult to achieve in Nigeria, until an actual effort is made through political will.
According to the head of Women Affairs and Gender Cluster Committee Africa Union ECOSOCC, Nigeria, further addressed gender inequality as being mostly strengthened by patriarchy, injustice, miseducation, insecurity, misogyny, political rascality, and greed. However, there are ways through which women can be freed from its shackles. They include the demand of their rights through peaceful demonstrations, the empowerment of more women at the grassroot level, media advocacy, the teaching of gender rights, reporting gender crimes, and many more.
Poor financial capability is a barrier that limits Nigerian women.
Lack of policy implementation and progressive policy review is regarded as the major hindrance towards the achievement of gender equality in Nigeria. Other challenges include corruption and the refusal to redefine the country’s budgeting strategy for the inclusion of the major needs of women and negligence of poverty at the roots. Due to poor financial capability, Nigerian women are unable to engage in politics, education, policy making, leadership and other career advancements that would enable them break barriers that limit them.