COMMUNIQUE PRODUCED BY THE ARISE! NIGERIAN WOMAN FOUNDATION AND PRESENTED BY ITS NATIONAL COORDINATOR MS ABIMBOLA JUNAID AT ITS NIGERIA @50 SOLIDARITY MARCH ON THE 29TH OF SEPTEMBER 2010 TO THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE LAGOS STATE, AND BY EXTENSION TO THE STATE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA TO HIGHLIGHT THE JOURNEY OF THE NIGERIAN WOMAN AS STAKEHOLDERS IN NATIONBUILDING IN THE LAST 50 YEARS AND IN REPOSITIONING FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS.
Lagos State Governor
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola,
Deputy Governor of Lagos State
Mrs Sarah Sosan,
The Commissioner for women Affairs,
Mrs Joke Adefulire,
All women of Nigeria and the men that love us.
All protocol duly observed.
Arise !Nigeria Woman Foundation, will like to thank you for honouring our invitation to present to you and by extension the government of Nigeria, this communiqué on how to take the journey of the Nigerian woman forward. It has become imperative that we do so as we reflect on our journey so far in preparation for the next fifty years as Nigeria turns 50 tomorrow 1st of October 2010.
Gender inequality has been in existence since immemorial past and still on-going in the 21st century of today. It will take more than wishful thinking but relentless action and strategy taken, to see gender equality and empowerment become a norm in any given society.
History tells us of many of women movement that has brought about partial emancipation of women to a large extent in some communities and countries around the world.
The women’s suffragettes movement in the early part of the 20th century led a campaign in Britain for women’s right to vote in political elections. Even in Nigeria, history tells us of notable Nigerian women who fought gallantly and emerged in Nigeria’s political landscape and nation building, the likes of Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Queen Amina to mention a few.
There has also been a surge in international, national and local women’s organisations over the years, channelling the cause of her emancipation. And if truth must be said, progress has been made, but it is still a far cry from what it should be.
Equality is a human right, and inequality can be likened to racism, or tribalism, where one race or tribe believes, it is superior to the other and hinders them from being all they can be. Yet before our creator, we are all equal.
The Nigerian Woman
Nigeria will be celebrating 50 years of independence come 1st of October, 2010. This definitely calls for a celebration. You can trust that the government of the nation is preparing for this day, with much pomp and pageantry.
The Nigerian woman as part of this journey has come a long way. History tells us of notable Nigerian women who fought gallantly and emerged in Nigeria’s political landscape and nation building, the likes of Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Queen Amina to mention a few.
Today the number of Nigerian women in high profile jobs in most sector of the economy and political office has surged, in spite of these, the state of our Nation Nigeria today, has diverse effect on the Nigerian woman, on her level of growth and capacity. As the bedrock of the African family, she gets the blame for what happens in her household, despite going through her own issues in our society of today.
That is why it is essential for the Nigerian woman to take stock of her journey in the last fifty years and as a stakeholder in Nigeria and its future, decide now, plan now, what the next fifty years will hold for our great nation and its people.
Some of the Issues the Nigerian Woman faces include:
Violence against women; Physical, mental and financial abuse, sexual harassment and rape, domestic violence, under aged marriage and injustice is still widely perpetuated on the Nigerian woman, eg the Uzoma Okere saga, the ethnic massacre of women and children in Jos, Plateau state earlier in the year and the traditional ruler that publicly beat his wife in one of the states are a few that comes to mind.
The healthcare sector is failing the Nigerian woman and children eg the recent incident of the twins that died n Abuja, because medical personnel in an hospital their mother went to, turned her away in the middle of the night, as their mother didn’t have a deposit nor the cash to pay due to the time of night it was.
The Nigeria woman’s mortality rate remains high especially in pregnancy and there is a direct correlation between her low status, violation of human rights and HIV transmission.
The public education sector has failed the poor, grassroots and our youths, many of whom, have been left as hustlers, miscreants and cyber thieves rather than the gifted, determined, energetic future leaders that they really are.
Widows are not left out.
The girl child and woman trafficking remain rife in our society.
The unemployment rate in the country has an end result on the Nigerian woman, her family and her home and this can be likened to the high level of violence against women and children in the home front.
Tribal and religious unrest has lasting effect on the Nigerian Woman and her family, that is the plight of our women in the Niger Delta, who are exposed to these violence, but worse still most affected by the pipeline pollution and the devastation caused to their land and water.
Lack of national security makes the woman most vulnerable. Women too have been victims of the kidnapping and killing sagas in the country today.
The Nigerian woman still faces, gender discrimination in accessing business capital and promotion at their jobs, eg how many women editors are there in the world of Nigeria journalism. Even young women feel oppressed by not only men but other women, sometimes older who feel threatened with the new generation, yet the real problem is everyone is protecting their own jobs and only source of livelihood.
Nigerian women still faces huge under representation in democratic governance despite making the highest percentage of the population in the society. Not just in terms of quota and percentages allocated women, but the levies charged and requirements made of female aspirants needs to be subsidised the more or made free in order to compete favourably with their male counterparts and promote more women participation.
What the Nigerian Woman need beyond Nigeria @fifty.
That the Nigerian woman’s issues be given all the attention it requires and lasting solutions sort after, this should be evident in political, cultural, societal, economical and institutional changes of the persistent held beliefs of the role of the Nigerian Woman.
The Nigerian woman needs a review of the health care system and women and children policy incorporated.
The Nigerian woman needs to know she can get fair treatment and justice from any part of the system especially the Nigerian police authority and legal systems. EG, by making discrimination, violence against women a criminal offence across the land, commissioning telephone helplines, drop in centres, for women needing help and educating the police force on working with violence against women.
Newer policies that reflect the true life circumstances and needs of today’s Nigerian woman be enacted.
Exploring and promoting social capital as the means of financial empowerment of the Nigerian woman.
The campaign for more women representation and participation in Democratic Governance should become an integral part of our society. Not just when elections are coming up, it should be taught to our young ones early enough
To renew orientation of the society at large of the added value of the Nigerian Woman.
Action Plan that will make the real difference includes.
Nigerian Women of influence to influence change for all of Nigerian women by rising up in capital and in might to demand change of the status quo.
The campaign for more women representation in Governance should translate to the elected women acting for the women of Nigeria proactively and tirelessly. This should be evident by bills and motion sponsorships, participation in debates and voting data in political office.
Women in government and its agencies for women, civil societies and non-governmental organisations should come together as one and take up issues, the campaign for the emancipation of the Nigerian woman full on and stand collectively on it till we evidently see result.
These groups should work in collaboration in recommending changes or form newer policies that reflect the true needs and the true life circumstances of the Nigerian Woman today.
Ways to build a bond of unity, team work and solidarity between Nigerian women should be established and promoted.
A platform, a forum, where Nigerian women of all creed, colour, tribe, religions, career and position can meet regularly, locally and nationally should be created to deliberate and find solutions to national issues as they emerge and women’s view point of the matter made known to the authorities involved.
This is not the only solutions that there are, but a good place to start and with God on our side, this will bring about renewed change and advancement for the Nigerian woman. Slowly but surely we will get there.
May God bless Nigeria and the women of Nigeria.
About Arise! Nigerian Woman Foundation.
The Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation, is a social change organization, its motto is
“In one accord we shall rebuild our nation”.
It is an open membership of likeminded Nigerian women, both old and young, regardless of culture, religion, tribe and status but united in their concerns about the state of our nation and have chosen to rise up and become ambassadors involved in rebuilding our nation; community by community, state by state and also creating the platform for Nigerian women to become active in nation building.
Our aims and objectives are:
To stir up the Nigerian woman to become proactive rather than passive in her community, her state and nation building starting with the ongoing political campaigns and forthcoming elections in 2011.
To promote a social science solution to the problems of Nigeria and how growth and advancement of the Nigerian woman through fuller civic engagement and responsibility of the general society can be achieved.
To form a consortium of women stakeholders eg women in governance, women agencies, civil societies and faith institutions, agencies alike, to champion the cause of the Nigerian woman to bring about reforms and newer policies that will empower her to be all she wants to become and as a result contribute fully to national development.
To renew awareness in the larger society of the image and value of the Nigerian woman and her capabilities.
To bring about unity amongst women by creating one platform for all facets of the Nigerian woman, eg the masses, grassroots, market women, women in the force, corporate women, women in authority, women in governance in order to maximise the strength in pooling together of all expertise.
To form partnerships with all stakeholders in achieving this goal.
To introduce a platform of interaction and feedback on a monthly or quarterly basis between women and government at local and national level.
To develop newer strategies of influencing change and rebuilding of Nigeria
Nigerian Women to rise and take on the baton of the much needed role model and ambassadors of change the society needs.
For women to continue to safeguard the family unit and the social society at large.
To bring about the forms of social capital methodologies; bonding, bridging and linking social capital, as the solution to changing the status quo.
Arise! Nigerian woman, in one accord we shall rebuild our nation.
Website: www.arisenigerianwoman.org and arisenigerianwoman on facebook.
Postal Address: Arise Nigeria Woman, P.O.BOX 20859
Tel numbers: 08088453707,08062658196, 08025695845, 08059951081.
History and Development of the Nigerian Woman.
2009 GENDER AWARE STATISTICS REPORT AS PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS NIGERIA.
1.Population and Development
According to the 2006 census, gender distribution in Nigeria is currently 50.9% males and 49.1% females. Cross Rivers and Delta states recorded 50 per cent each for female and male while Sokoto state had 45.2 per cent female population. The youngest age group (0 – 5 years) which constitute 31.0 percent of the population and 44.3% of the active working population (20 – 59) within households were women; Average household size in Nigeria was 4.4 percent. Female headed households were 16.3 percent of all household heads. There were more male births (52.7 percent and 50.9 percent in 2006 and 2007) than female births in the years covered and there were also more male deaths (59.4 percent in 2007. Average Life-expectancy for males and for females differ.
The statistic shows that more boys were enrolled both in primary and secondary schools in 2006 and 2007. The same pattern was observed with teachers. In 2007, the proportion of male teachers in secondary schools was about 60%,Female youth literacy rate in 2007 was 77.3 per cent, lower than the national youth literacy rate of 82 per cent and male youth literacy rate of 86.7 per cent. Female adult literacy was 61.9 per cent in 2007; lower than national adult literacy rate of 69.3 per cent. There was a notable drop in adult literacy in most of the states. This is most likely due to low reporting rate.
Statistics on Maternal Mortality rates and Infant Mortality rates show that HIV/AIDS prevalence is still highest in the north central (6.1 percent), followed by south south (5.3 percent. There has been a notable drop in the incidence in 2006 and 2007. Female infection remains higher than male infection.Access to reproductive health care services was proxied by the percentage of pregnant women who registered with clinics and received anti-tetanus injection. Nationally, the former was 47.9 per cent, out of which 75.1 per cent received anti-tetanus injection. The southern states recorded the higher registration rate than northern states. They also recorded more visits. The larger majority of pregnant women (40 percent) made approximately two visits during the entire period of their pregnancy. Female personnel continued to dominate as Midwives, Nurses and Community Workers, making up 96.3 per cent, 94.6 per cent and 59.4 per cent of total personnel in these fields. The percentage of female doctors on the other hand, was 22.0 per cent of the total number of doctors in the country.
3. Gender and Poverty
Many factors contribute to deepening poverty for women in Nigeria. This is worse in rural areas where women farmers have to struggle for resources to produce for food and for income. Out of about 29,000 persons granted micro-credit by the NAPEP in 2007, 8550 or 29.8 percent were female. Access to land is another determinant of women farmer’s poverty, While 38.1 per cent of men owned the land that they were farming on, only 7.2 per cent of women owned their land.
In 2006, women accounted for 35.3 per cent and 40.5 per cent in junior and senior categories of the civil service while in 2007; they constituted 37.4 and 44.0 per cent respectively, marking an increase. However, women’s visibility was still low in high-level, decision-making employment in the country. Percentage of female judges in 2007 was 20.1 per cent. Male Permanent Secretaries were 79.3 percent compared with 20.7 percent for women in 2007. In 2006, women accounted for 35.3 per cent and 40.5 per cent in junior and senior categories, while in 2007; they constituted 37.4 and 44.0 per cent respectively. This was none-the-less a progressive change over previous years.
The ICT sector, being a growing sector, also provides new employment opportunities for both women and men. The statistics predictably, indicated that female staff accounted for 32.3 per cent of the total employment during the period 2001 to 2007.Recruitment of women into the civil service continued to rise up till 2004 but fell sharply thereafter. This is attributable to the massive retrenchment and right-sizing policy during the period 2005 to 2007. For all the seven years, the average percentage of women promoted was 30.4 per cent, compared to 69.6 per cent of men. Sectoral statistics shows that women accounted for 72 per cent and 82 per cent of the employment in the Restaurant and Hotel business in the urban and rural areas respectively in 2007. Men dominated wholesale and retail employment (55 per cent in urban and 66 per cent in rural). Women are more visible in the education and health sectors.
5. Politics and Decision Making
The visibility of women has been increasing steadily over the last three elections – 1999, 2003 and 2007. For instance in the Federal House of representatives, number of seats held by women has moved from 12, 22 and 26 in the three consecutive elections. Seats held in state assemblies have increased from 57 honourable members and 54 committee chairpersons , twenty seven Local Government chairpersons and 235 LGA counsellors in 2007. Female State Commissioners were 10.3 percent in 1999, 11 percent in 2003 and 13.8 in 2007. Female Directors-Generals were 15.3 percent in each of 1999 and 2003, increasing to 20.8 percent in 2007.
6. Violence and Crime
Trafficking in persons for economic purpose is a crime that is on the rise in the country. Incidence of trafficking for labour or sex exploitation was recorded. The statistics show that the 16 – 25 age-group is most susceptible to trafficking. A total of 922 persons were reported trafficked over the three years 2005 to 2007, followed by the 6 – 15 age group with 741 reports and the 26 – 35 age group with 133 reports
Of total reported cases of exploitation during the period 2004 to 2007, 2007 had the largest number of cases with 366 of the 711 persons in the whole period being female. Labour exploitation was reported for 1035 females. The trend is also incremental over the same period. Statistics indicate that female criminality is still low in Nigeria compared to male criminality. The proportion of women prison inmates in 2003 was 2 per cent. This percentage has not changed significantly. It was 1.95 percent in 2007. This statistics would suggest that female criminality (and incarceration) is not declining. More casual observation suggests that it is on the rise. Statistics indicate that female circumcision is gradually declining in Nigeria.
Further to this other issues of violence and crime against Nigerian women with no statistics, include domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse.
7. Information and Communication Technology
The ICT equipments assessed include radio, television; mobile phone (GSM) fixed telephone, personal computer and internet services. The average percentage of women owning all the ICT equipments was 10.7 per cent, lower than 17.4 per cent of men, as shown in table 9.1b. The equipment owned by most of the women in 2007 was the radio (34.5 per cent). While 45.7 percent of men owned these assets. The least owned were fixed telephone and internet services. Only zero point one per cent of women were associated with ownership of fixed telephone and internet service while about 0.7 per cent men owned fixed telephone and 0.2 per cent had internet services. Exactly 1 per cent of men owned personal computer while 0.3 per cent of women owned personal computers.