As the world gathered on Tuesday, 23rd September, 2014 to hold a High level Forum at United Nations General Assembly 69th Session for First Ladies of UN Member States to discuss on the gaps, health challenges and picture areas of concern from the Beijing +20 on Women Reproductive and Sexual Health, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) observes as follow:
- Women constitute over 50 percent of the world’s population; perform two-third of the world’s work, yet receive one-tenth of the world’s income; represent a staggering seventy percent of the world’s one billion poorest people.
- Nigeria has the highest population of in African continent with 38 percent of its women lacking formal education as against 25 percent for men and only four percent of women have higher education against the seven percent of their male counterpart.
- In Nigeria, majority of girls and women face real-time poverty, gross inequality, molestation and injustice, denying them effort to acquire meaningful skills and contribute positively towards the nation’s development.
- Series of discrimination and atrocities against women include poor education, poor nutrition, violence and brutalization, vulnerability and low pay employment.
- Since democratic rule in 1999, women are under-represented in all key political decision making bodies in Nigeria, as only 25 out of the 360 members of the Nigerian House of Representatives and about 4% of local government councillors are women.
- In Nigeria, every 10 minutes one woman dies from conditions associated with childbirth; and only 39% births take place with assistance of medically trained personnel, coupled with the scarcity of skilled attendants, absence of personnel among other factors impede the effectiveness of health services in the country.
- In eight Northern States, over 80% of women are unable to read (compared with 54% for men), as reported by UK Department for International Development (DFID) in 2012; owing to some traceable factors such as lack of funds, existing traditional and religious inclination, non-provision of educational facilities by government, poor funding of the educational sector, weak educational policies, early marriage, early childbirth, poor sanitation and ignorance.
- Nigeria records one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa; with majority of women concentrating in casual, low-skilled, low paid informal sector employment.
- Appreciable effort at the local, national or international platform recognising girls and women as equal players in the game of life whilst empowering, up-skilling and investing in them for a better world.
- Full-fledged implementation of 35% Affirmative Action for Women by governments at all levels to encourage appreciative participation of women as leaders and decision-makers in households, communities, and in the public and private sphere in the nation’s political decision making.
- Passage into Law the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill at the Federal and State levels in order to domesticate the CEDAW and AU Women’s Protocol; and immediate passage of the Violence against Women Bill currently in the National Assembly.
- Improved access to education and eliminating gender gaps in education, proper individual orientation, mass public awareness and sensitization on the provisions of the Rights of Women.
- Massive awareness campaign by civil society, media and government at all levels on gender equality and against violence on women.
- Adequate healthcare infrastructural facilities to restore human dignity, rights and provide accountability for maternal health; and massive recruitment of additional skilled health manpower.
- Strengthening Nigeria’s criminal justice system to checkmate abuses and violation against women.
- Effective rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration programmes through medical, psychological and legal services for women suffering from domestic violence and sexual abuse. Signed Executive Director of CISLAC
- Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)