The Nigeria’s women, the challenges and the way forward by Lola Dare

Posted by Rachel Madison on 2018-03-13 14:15:00 | Views: 4 |

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The Nigeria’s women, the challenges and the way forward by Lola Dare

Editor's note: Women all over the world are faced with many challenges. This could be as a result of some factors such as their ethnicity, race, background or religion.

In this article sent to, Lola Dare, writes about challenges being faced by women in Africa, especially Nigeria and the possible solutions.

Since 1985 when Beijing conference was held in China on women empowerment and others interventions, the progress has been patchy across Africa countries. While some countries reported significant progress in women’s inclusion and participation in politics, many still lag behind and we should push for much more progress.

More women are completing primary education, but very few go up the education ladder to complete secondary and tertiary education. In the work place, women comprise only 15% of membership of multi-national boards.

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In spite of having more women in the work force, they still remain in largely administrative positions, with a wide pay gap even when they occupy senior or executive positions in corporations.

According to the most recent report on gender parity gap published by the World Economic Forum, it would take over 2 centuries (217 years) to bridge the gender gap if we continue at the current pace. This is unacceptable and much more needs to be done

Although, there are challenges facing women, I do not identify those challenges but opportunities. Within every mountain lies and opportunity to learn, adapt, improve and positively impact on our space, work and indeed on humanity. This shift in mindset is very important for progress and action.

The average man sings his minutest victory as 'awesome'. Women on the other hand are known to play down their greatest exploits as simple and ordinary. This ‘modesty’ has not helped to profile women as the success they are at home, work, play and society.

Increasing exposure to education, along with democracy, expanding availability of technology to enable voices and improved access to financing provide more opportunities for the African woman to harness.

The coverage by these remain inadequate and this is where more needs to be done. We need bolder progress to ensure that women access what global, regional and country policies provide to them towards representation, participation, inclusion and access to both social and economic assets. The #timeisnow!

One of the key ways is for women themselves to come together in unity with purposeful action. No one commits to you until you commit to yourself. Women need to be courageous and seek to acquire the education, skills and competence required to successfully compete in all sectors. Women also need to seek implementation of the many good policies that are in place.

We need to take advantage of support to small and medium scale enterprises, an area that is largely dominated by women-led enterprises. We need to move our loans from micro-credit to larger loans that can truly take women away from poverty to sustainable livelihood.

The policies for gender equality are in place and have been signed on as the gender goals and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must work across borders to demand their implementation and #pressforprogress. Women need to support one another, nurture young females and very importantly celebrate each other.

Our culture in their original forms are based on a high level of regard for women. In their tenets, a man of both stature and integrity is measured by the value he places on the women in his life (mother, wife, daughter etc.) to provide for, empower and protect them.

This in no way makes women the ‘weaker se.x’ but the respected and revered one! I am not aware of any culture or tradition, where domestic abuse or disrespect for women is celebrated except among charlatans and scoundrels. This is not our culture or African heritage.

Our history is full of women who have distinguished themselves well beyond the kitchen and other duties. Our work on women is named after Queen Kambasa of the Bonny Kingdom, Nigeria. A female King well renowned for her positions on gender equality.

There are many others including Queen Amina of Zaria, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Magaret Ekpo, Hadjiya Gawa Sambo, all of whom are notable rights activists as well as Prof. Jadesola Akande, Prof. Bolanle Awe and Prof. Grace Alele-Williams to mention a few.

Traditional rights of passage including various forms of ge.nital mutilation affect both men and women and can be harmful to both.

However it is taking some time for women’s role to fully evolve from their long standing role of home keeping and child rearing. We need concerted action to take forward the very modest achievements in this area and should #pressforprogress in these areas.

Politics in Nigeria is not for the faint-hearted even, amongst men! It is a very tough terrain requiring long hours and a lots of money. Women have neither this time nor resources to wantonly engage in the current billion naira patronage motivated political system that we have.

I stand in deepest admiration for those women of valour in Nigerian politics who have in spite of all odds stood up to be counted in this murky terrain. Kudos!

Quite frankly, we should frown that our politics is driven by this volume of money, such that it leaves merit and value behind.

The experience is the same for both male and female. Money matters so much that only a minuscule value merit, commitment and vision in our political landscape. Sadly, it would appear that money wags merit and as you can see we all lose. This is very sad and must change.

Women are not endangered? This could never be the case. In whatever way you construct it – mother, wife, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, cousin, colleague…! There is no humanity and no life without a woman!

My advice for women is to be prepared! I was taught this as a member of the Girls Guide in Ireti Primary School, Ikoyi and also as a student of Holy Child College, Obalende, Lagos.

A very important life enabling lesson. Only those who are prepared can identify and make the best of opportunities that present themselves in our lives each day.

‘To thy self be true’. I also learned this from the Reverend Sisters in Holy Child College. Being true to self is key to believing that you can and that by His grace you will.

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Finally, all women must remain primed. ‘Action not words’. This is the motto of Holy Child College, a great school that has turned out women of distinction and integrity.

Dare is the President, the Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development and Global Director, I Will Give.

Meanwhile, had previously reported that the event, popularly known as International Women's Day (IWD) celebration first started as a global campaign for better pay and fundamental rights for women, is now aimed at inspiring females globally.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of

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