Gender Equality and the Challenge Before Us

By Zainab Naseer Ahmad

AREWA AGENDA – When my good friend Aishatu Kabu Damboa challenged me on the #GenderEqualityChallange, I knew I had a lot to say, but in order to draw the line and censure myself from featuring on National dailies let me posit in a way we all will not be at war with ourselves.

At its most basic level, gender equality is simply about ensuring that both genders have access to the same opportunities at an economic, sociological, health-care and educational level. It is about the same behaviours and needs being valued, acknowledged and respected equally regardless of gender.

Gender inequality in Nigeria is influenced by different cultures and beliefs. In most parts of Nigeria, women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts, especially in Northern Nigeria. It is generally believed that women are best suited as home keepers.

In Nigeria, The gender gap, or gender inequality is relatively high compared to peer countries, that is, countries at similar levels of development. This is the case for several reasons, because gender inequality is a multifaceted concept. So, you talk about opportunities, but we also talk about outcomes.

What i see is that basically, in both of these dimensions, there are gaps. In enrollment rates , in education, girls are less likely to go to school than boys are. Women are less likely to access health services or gain access to financial services. Legal gaps persist, at least in the application, although at the national level, laws that grant women and men equal rights do exist. These opportunities at the end translate into differences and outcomes.

Ultimately, whether in the corporate sector, in politics, on health or across every other socio-economic structure, a more gender-equal Nigeria will create a more prosperous country.

It is not by coincidence that the countries that rank high in the human development index (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland) directly correspond with the countries atop the gender equality’s list.

Gender equality have many benefits to all sexes and development of every community and nations; it saves lives and result to a better healthcare, it helps in economy growth, it leads to a better legal protection because we need more laws where women are well-protected from domestic sexual and economic violence. Both of these types of violence affect a woman’s safety and freedom. Increasing women’s legal rights keeps them safe and able to build productive happy lives, Gender equality leads to peace and above all it reduces the level of poverty.

Wether you are a man or woman, gender equality is for the benefit of us all. We must all embrace it.

Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives.

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