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A Development Manifesto for Women in Edo State

A Development Manifesto for women in Edo State is both a wakeup call for the government and a strategy to guarantee an unfettered marketplace of ideas to aid in the creation of policies and programs that will enhance and support women’s ability to lead productive, healthy and vibrant lives. Poor women are the secret key to unlocking the door of development. This is so because, women are disproportionately affected by under-development, thus leading to the “feminization” of poverty. With access to education, training, loans, jobs and good healthcare, women can become thriving and productive contributors towards the alleviation and eradication of poverty in the State at large.


Various research studies have shown that economically empowering a poor woman, by

providing her with economic opportunities; in other words, putting money in her hands, have a

direct and positive correlation to her children’s improved health and nutrition and likelihood of

going to school. Furthermore, a developing country like Nigeria stands to rapidly improve her

chances for development when women are empowered as stated by a World Bank study:

“Countries that enact specific measures to protect women's rights and increase their access to

resources and education have less corruption and achieve faster economic growth than countries

that do not.” (World Bank). Therefore, investing in women and children will yield the highest

dividends on naira invested.


The human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part

of universal human rights; they should be promoted and protected. In the current environment of

poverty and lack, it is alarming that women do not fully enjoy their human rights and

fundamental freedoms, and the long-standing failure to protect and promote these rights and

freedoms are a major concern. Full implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Nairobi (1985) Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, the Beijing (1995) Platform for Action, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

and many more, are necessary to enfranchise women and the girl-child. These international

instruments, appropriately adapted to the local environment, can provide a viable blue-print for

creating an enabling environment for: our market women to thrive, girl-child to have safe access

to education, protection of women from sexual harassment, criminalizing corporate prostitution

(of university girls), enforcing policies against discrimination against women in the workplace,

addressing work-life issues, providing childcare, creating and implementing policies that will

assist women to break the corporate and political glass ceilings and finally, passing legislation to

ensure a minimum 30% gender representation as mandated by the United Nations.


There is also an urgent need to address the issue of violence against women and children

(especially the girl child). Government MUST enact laws and devise policies to prevent violence

against women and children and provide resources necessary to assist and sustain those who are,

or have been victims of violence. Such resources could include providing safe houses for

battered women, providing them with resources to establish a new life away from violent

partners, addressing cultural practices and beliefs which promote and encourage violence against

women, including gender education in schools targeted at young boys and also girls.


A SpecialCommission on Women’s issues must be set up by the government with resources to carry out research on women’s issues and needs and forward recommendations for policy implementation. The State Government must focus aggressively on uplifting the disenfranchised women in Edo State such as, women living in rural or remote communities, widows, destitute women, women in institutions or jails, the girl child, women with disabilities, elderly women and women survivors of human trafficking.


As long as women continue to be sidelined in development efforts, progress across the board will

be stifled. Efforts to alleviate or eradicate poverty will only succeed if State resources empower

women as well as men to become self-sustaining. This will positively impact their lives, their

families and their communities.


Some suggested actions that can be taken by the Oshiomhole administration include:

♦ Create a center for Research on Women in the State’s higher education institution- to be

tasked with providing the government with evidence-based research and statistics that

will support policy formulation and implementation.

♦ Micro loans, backed with guarantees where necessary, targeted at women and for

women’s' economic empowerment programs

♦ Create a forum to engage in substantive, outcomes-based dialogue with women groups in

Edo State and women indigenes of the State, residing in the diaspora.

♦ Create Micro -Schools (Adult Education Centers) for rural and urban women who missed

out in attending school to empower them to be literate, self sufficient and self reliant.

♦ Build and set up community centers in all local government areas, to deliver services

tailored to the needs of poor urban and rural women.

♦ Create a state apprenticeship training system – a hands-on training program for people

who want to work in the trades. This will provide training for women or girls who may be

interested in the trades such as: dress making/fashion design, cook/chef, baker,

hairdresser, to name a few. The training will also include classes to teach these women

are to become successful entrepreneurs. A well structured system that will establish a

training partnership with the different sectors of the economy by working with

employers/businesses and trade schools (if such exist). The govt. should also think of

providing some incentives to employers/businesses who will be eager participants.

The bottom line?


Women and children are the key to unlocking the door of development in

Edo State and in Nigeria at large


An Op-ed article by:

Ms. joan.Osa Oviawe (USA, Nigeria), Dr. Rosaline Oseme Okosun (Canada),

Ms. Eki Ogbeide (UK), Dr. Esohe Aghatise (Italy), Mrs. Helyn Woghiren (UK), Mrs. Sandra

Frempong (USA), Mrs. Barbara Emode (Canada), Ms. Iyesogie Ebohon (USA), Ms. Ov Obazee

(USA), Mrs. Priscilla Ikhareba (USA), Ms. Valerie K.V Osagie (USA), Mrs. Katie Ogiamien

Salami, MSW (USA), Mrs. Francisca Adeyeri (Canada), Ms. Tinyan Otuomagie (Canada, UK), Prof. Irene Salami-Agunloye (Nigeria), Dr. T. Obazee (USA), Ms. Tina Iyare (USA), Ms. Omolayo

Omoruyi (USA), Mrs. Maryann Omoregie (Canada), Mrs. Mary O

basuyi (USA) Lady Marcella

Iguodala-Cole (Nigeria) and Mrs. Cecilia Umuro (Nigeria).


Source: www.voiceofedowomen.com

Views: 1107

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