Gender

Why Nigeria Can’t Be Behind In Addressing Women Inequality, UN Group Explain us On Women’s Day

By NAN

Nigeria cannot afford to be behind in addressing women’s exclusion from decision-making,” says Naomi Nwokolo, the Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact Network, Nigeria.

Nwokolo said this in an address at the virtual session of 110 stock exchange’s “Ring-the-Bell”, organised by the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX), to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD), on Tuesday.

The IWD with the theme “Break the Bias: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow” is celebrated globally every March 8.

According to her, this year’s IWD theme is apt, because it reiterates the idea that the world must embrace the importance of women’s full and effective involvement in decision-making in general.

Nwokolo said: “In today’s Nigeria, we cannot afford to be behind in addressing women’s exclusion from decision-making.

“Women’s full and effective participation in all aspects of development, as well as equitable chances for leadership at all levels, must be achieved.

“We urge organisations and government at all levels, to join our cause, partake in Target Gender Equality, sign up to Women’s Empowerment Principles, and promote inclusivity to enable women to thrive.

“I acknowledge the tremendous accomplishments of women in Nigeria, and throughout the world, who continue to push for gender equality and more female representation in many fields.

“To achieve good governance as a country, we must build on the momentum of our fore mothers by enhancing women’s leadership and encouraging their active engagement in local, national, and international decision-making processes.”

She noted that women’s voices must be heard and have equal weight with those of men, saying the focus must be on establishing truly inclusive workplaces.

She said though gender equality emerged as the top corporate sustainability issue and gained traction worldwide, progress had remained slow and most companies had not sufficiently translated commitment into action.

“When businesses take action on gender equality, the impact has multiplying effects.

“Government policies supporting women are reinforced, civil society is encouraged to take steps towards supporting women, and harmful, dated social norms are changed to be more inclusive.

“The Network remains committed to mobilising sustainable companies to set realistic and ambitious targets to bridge the Gender Equality gap; and we invite you to work with us,” Nwokolo added.

She advised Nigerian women to be intentional in creating a sustainable future, and to set measurable targets towards gender equality,

According to her, equality means good business, and that when women are empowered, everybody benefits.

She decried the COVID-19 challenges that had created systemic barriers and entrenched gender norms, noting that though they were not new challenges, they should however, be overcome urgently.

“There is indeed a heightened urgency to act; the social and economic impacts of the pandemic are affecting and still affecting women disproportionately around the world.

“There is concern of global gender gap widening rather than narrowing, we cannot allow this to stand.

“Slowing down or backtracking on our progress towards gender equality will not only affect women, It will impact on everyone, sap the strength of economies and hold the world back from achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Gender equality is a fundamental human right and 99 targets of SDGs are tied to human rights; disregard of gender equality is disrespect of fundamental human rights,” she said.

She, however, commended the efforts so far made to achieve progress in gender equality, and called for holistic strategies to break lingering bias in that regard.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Global Compact is a non-binding UN pact to encourage businesses and firms worldwide, to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

The Network also seeks to mobilise local movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders and improve the lives of future generations.

NAN also reports that local networks of UN body promote the sustainability of companies at the base level in more than 85 countries, by making global goals local business.