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Gender equality advances in spite of legal, social barriers, OECD says




In a report marking International Women’s Day, the 36-member organisation of mainly wealthy states said countries with higher gender equality benefited economically.

“The current level of discrimination reduces world income by 6 trillion dollars, or 7.5 per cent,’’ the OECD said in its 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index.

However, the organisation said, lower levels of discrimination were the result of long-term political and social investments in gender equality.

The report noted changing attitudes over recent years, with the number of women worldwide saying domestic violence was acceptable under some circumstances declining from 50 per cent in 2012 to 27 per cent in 2018.

Since the last edition of the report in 2014, 15 countries had criminalized domestic violence, 15 countries had banned the marriage of girls under the age of 18, and eight had legislated for gender balance in elected offices.

The report ranked 120 countries by their level of gender discrimination, which it found was on average lowest in Europe and highest in Africa.

The best-performing country was Switzerland, graded eight per cent on a scale of zero to 100 from least to most discrimination. War-torn Yemen had the worst result at 64 per cent.

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Tinubu calls for an end to gender-based violence, abuse



Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, has called for an end to gender-based violence and abuse in the country.

Tinubu through verified twitter handle on Wednesday, wrote “enough is enough’’.

The APC leader described the acts of violence against women and young girls as “inexcusable”, adding that there was nothing that could defend the wrongdoings.

“For far too long women and young girls in our nation have suffered the pain, hurt and stigma of gender-based violence and abuse.

“Too many have been hurt, intimated and bullied. Too many have died; violence is inexcusable,’’ he said.

According to him, we are all born of woman and nurtured by woman.

Vera Uwaila Omozuwa is the most recent name on a list, far too long, of women who have lost their lives at the hands of these vile criminals.

Today, I rise in solidarity with women in Nigeria to say #enoughisenough’’, Tinubu said.

The APC leader, in protest against the rape, murder of some recent victims declared that “enough is enough’’.

He tweeted the hashtags: “#JusticeforUwa, #JusticeforJennifer #JusticeforTina, #JUSTICE for all victims of gender based violence.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on May 27, a 22-year-old student of the University of Benin, Uwa vera Omozuwa was raped and murdered at a church in the town.

Similarly, an 18-year-old girl, identified as Jennifer, was allegedly gang raped by five boys reported to be her friends in Kaduna state.

The incident happened in Narayi, a community in Kaduna South Local Government Area.

The boys were said to have carried out the action on the teenager after giving her a liquid content, said to be a mixture of alcohol and drugs.

Also, a trigger happy policeman on May 27 allegedly killed a 16-year-old teenager, Tina Ezekwe at Iyana-Oworo bus-stop in Lagos.

The policeman was said to have shot dead the girl while attempting to arrest a bus driver.

The driver was alleged to have violated the nationwide curfew imposed by the Federal Government to check the spread the COVID-19.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)







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Women peacekeepers from Brazil, India share UN military gender award




For the first time, the UN Military Gender Advocate award has been awarded to two UN peacekeepers: Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian naval officer, and Major Suman Gawani, of the Indian Army, the UN Department of Peace Operations said on Monday.

The award, created in 2016, recognizes the dedication and effort of individual military peacekeepers in promoting the UN principles on women, peace and security in peace operations. Women peacekeepers are nominated by the heads and force commanders of peace operations.

Commander Monteiro de Castro Araujo serves as the military gender and protection advisor in the UN Mission in the Central African Republic. During her tour of duty, she has conducted training on gender and protection, and was instrumental in seeing the number of gender-responsive patrols engaging with local communities increase from 574 to nearly 3,000 per month, said the department.

“It’s very gratifying for me and the mission to see that our initiatives are bearing fruit,” said the Brazilian officer.

Major Gawani, the first Indian peacekeeper to win the award, is a military observer, formerly deployed to the UN Mission in South Sudan, where she mentored over 230 UN military observers on conflict-related sexual violence, and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the mission’s team sites. She also trained South Sudanese government forces, and helped them to launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence.

Expressing happiness at seeing her work recognized, Major Gawani said, “Whatever our function, position or rank, it is our duty as peacekeepers to integrate an all-genders perspective into our daily work and own it, in our interactions with colleagues as well as with communities.”

Commending the two women peacekeepers, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described them as powerful role models. “Through their work, they have brought new perspectives and have helped to build trust and confidence among the communities we serve,” he said. “Through their commitment and innovative approaches, they embrace a standard of excellence that is an inspiration to all blue helmets everywhere. As we confront today’s challenges, their work has never been more important or relevant.”


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Group tackles gender-based violence in rural communities



Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF)  says it has extended awareness creation on gender-based violence arising from the COVID– 19 lockdown to rural communities in Lagos State.

WARIF,  a non governmental organisation on gender-based violence in Nigeria, launched the WARIF COVID-19 Response in Rural Communities Initiative in response to the increase in reported cases of violence against women and girls during the ongoing pandemic.

Dr Kemi Da- Silva-Ibru, founder of WARIF, made this known in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Da -Silva-Ibru, sharing her concerns about the increase in gender based violence, said the lockdown and frustrations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic had  led to an increase in reported cases of violence against women and girls.

This, she said, had led the organisation to recognise the need to address the issue at the grassroot level.

She said that the sensitisation program was designed in collaboration with traditional birth attendants, previously trained by WARIF as first responders on gender-based violence cases.

“These health care providers, already educated on the prevalence of domestic and sexual gender-based violence within their grassroot communities and the immediate response and management of these cases, have been galvanised into small cell groups.

“They will be making house to house visits in their various communities to offer assistance to women who are in lockdown with their spouses and partners.

“Cases of abuse in these households are being identified and recorded and are referred to the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre.

“Additional support and assistance are given to these traditional birth attendants, by the distribution of personal protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitisers and gloves to protect these frontline workers and reduce the risk of spread of the virus in their respective communities,” she said.

Da Silva-Ibru revealed that the first cycle of the program was being carried out in five Local Government Areas of Lagos State — Epe, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Apapa.

“These LGAs are selected due to a high number of women in these communities, with Alimosho, the largest, with an estimated population of 5,700, 714.

“Fifty-four per cent of the population of Nigeria still reside in rural areas, with the shadow pandemic and increasing number of cases, women in these remote areas are isolated and locked away with their abusers with no means of communicating with the outside world and with no services available to them.

“This initiative brings help to their door steps, providing an opportunity for care and safety from their abusers that they will not ordinarily have,” she said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


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Lockdown: NGO tasks Bauchi Govt on monitoring gender-based violence



A Bauchi-based non-governmental organisation, Attah Sisters Helping Hands Foundation (ASHHF), has called on the state government and partners, to intensify monitoring of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the state.

Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs Comfort Attah, made the call on Sunday in Bauchi during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .

She said as the coronavirus disease continued to spread and the authorities responded with social and health control measures, reports of sexual and gender-based violence had not abated in the state.

“Victims of domestic violence, most often women, face a double threat: a deadly virus outside and an abuser at home,” she said.

She said there was need for government to improve protection and services for survivors, by strengthening enabling laws. 

“There is also the need to address the root causes of violence by challenging social norms and behaviours, as well as tackling the wider gender inequalities,” Attah said.

She said that with families confined to their homes in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, there werenfears of surge in domestic violence.

“The lockdown is creating fertile ground for gender inequalities to be exposed at their worst.

“We have handled many cases of sexual violence against women in Bauchi.

“Nearly half of the cases treated are  women who have experienced intimate-partner domestic violence,” she said.

Attah explained that some violence within the pandemic period included rape cases involving pregnant women, keeping a girl under lock and influence of drug for six days, as well as brutality on women.

“Our NGO, with the support of ActionAid and Government of Canada, are following up the case at the police station to make sure the right thing is done.

“We have provided medical care and social support for traumatized victims,” she said.

She added that they would provide legal service through a pro bono lawyer, and that they were waiting for courts to resume normal sitting.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo (NAN)


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Italy reports 73% rise in calls to gender violence helpline



Italian authorities on Wednesday called for a national helpline for victims of gender violence and stalking have increased by 73 per cent during the novel coronavirus lockdown period.

“The year-on-year increase refers to the March 1 to April 16 period,’’ statistics agency Istat said in a statement.

Italy’s nationwide lockdown started on March 10 and was eased on May 4.

Out of 5,031 calls, just over 2,000 came from people seeking help, including around 1,500 people who suffered physical or verbal abuse.

Some 97 per cent of callers were women.

Many experts have expressed concern that women could be more at risk during the lockdown period, as some of them would be confined in violent households.

However, Istat said the increase in calls might not “necessarily’’ be due to an increase in domestic violence, but rather to the success of a public campaign encouraging women to use it.

The agency noted that in the March 1 to 22 period reports to police for domestic violence fell by 43.6 per cent.

However, it also said that 72.8 per cent of victims who call the 1522 number do not go to the police.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)


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More resources must be allocated to address gender discrimination in COVID-19 national response plans: UN roundtable




United Nations officials and gender equality experts attending a high-level roundtable said Tuesday that efforts must be made to allocate additional resources to address discrimination against women in COVID-19 national response plans.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is moving beyond a global health crisis and morphing into a labor market, social and economic crisis, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Head of European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments Hilde Hardeman, and International Labour Organization (ILO) Deputy Director-General for Policy Deborah Greenfield on Tuesday convened ministers, chief executives officials, and business associations, trade unions, civil society and academia representatives at the high-level roundtable, “The G7’s role in ensuring women’s economic empowerment and security in the post-COVID future.”

Roundtable participants said that efforts must be made to “allocate additional resources to address discrimination and violence against women and girls in COVID-19 national response plans, including effective measures to reduce the risks of heightened levels of domestic violence.”

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods as it deepens pre-existing inequalities, and exposes cracks in social, political and economic systems. From access to health services, social protection and digital technologies, to significant rise of domestic violence and unpaid care work, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for many around the world, said a press release issued by UN Women.

“Women with caring responsibilities, informal workers, low-income families and youth are among the hardest hit,” it said.

Globally, women represent 55.8 percent of employees in service industries, while in the Group of Seven (G7), women make up around 88 percent of the service industry workforce. Nearly 60 percent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty. Most are unable to work remotely and may require additional care support for children or older family members as they leave their homes to work.

This pandemic has brought to light the collective reliance on public social safety nets in a time of crisis. The COVID-19 crisis has also made starkly visible the fact that the world‘s formal economies and the maintenance of our daily lives are built on the invisible and unpaid labor of women and girls. Along with governments, the private sector and workers’ representatives have a key role to play in establishing an equitable and gender-responsive future of work, now increasingly reliant on digital technology, and built on social, environmental and economic justice,” said the press release.

Roundtable participants put forth recommendations for G7 member states to foster resilient and regenerative societies and economies and build the world we want postpandemic. It is important for G7 countries to work in solidarity through global coordination with all stakeholders, and to prioritize gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in their COVID-19 crisis response and recovery.

Among the 10 proposed key actions for G7 member states to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in COVID-19 crisis response and recovery are designing and implementing gender-responsive crisis responses with long-term solutions, expanding and investing in universal gender-responsive social protection, mitigating the pandemic‘s impact on enterprises and employment, providing health care and other front-line workers with occupational safety and health equipment and allocating additional resources to address discrimination and violence against women and girls in COVID-19 national response plans.

A more detailed call to action will be made available in advance of the virtual G7 Leader’s Summit taking place from June 10 to 12, the press release said.


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COVID 19: Ekiti FIDA distributes palliatives to over 200 victims of Gender Based Violence



The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Ekiti  has donated palliatives to no fewer than 200 women, victims of Gender Based Violence in Ekiti state.


The association said it was to cushion the effects of the lockdown due to COVI|D-19 pandemic.


The distribution of the palliatives was done at the Afe Babalola Bar Centre at the State High Court premises on Monday in Ado-Ekiti.


He Vice Chairperson of FIDA, Mrs Titi Ogunsina, said that the relief items were graciously donated to FIDA by Mrs Bisi Fayemi, the wife of the Ekiti State governor.


FAyemi said that they were to support the victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) registered with FIDA.


She said that the donations were aimed at alleviating the plights of the women; some of whom were unemployed and single mothers, and had suffered abuse from their husbands.


Ogunsina said that one of the aims of FIDA is to protect the rights of women and children, adding that despite the economy, FIDA remembered the GBV victims and wished they survive the period of the lockdown.

The FIDA official used the medium to appreciate Mrs Fayemi for providing the palliatives for the victims of Gender Based Violence.

In the same vein, the Secretary of the Association, Mrs Blessing Ajileye, said that the victims were from the 16 local governments of the state.


She advised the women to engage in vegetable farming and other agricultural endeavours, within their residence.


One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Abisola Ayodele appreciated FIDA for remembering them at such a time like this and for its donation to ease their suffering and make life good for them.


According to her, through the intervention of FIDA, she had been receiving some token from her estranged husband toward the upkeep of their three children since moving out of his home six years ago.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Peter Dada (NAN)

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SADC calls for collective efforts to fight gender-based violence amid COVID-19




Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for collective efforts to fight rising gender-based violence in Africa during lockdowns to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must all redouble our efforts on zero tolerance to gender-based violence as we fight this devastating COVID-19 pandemic,” said SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax Wednesday.

Citing the United Nations Women report, the SADC Executive Secretary said some countries around the world, particularly those highly affected by COVID-19, have registered up to 30 percent increase in reported domestic violence cases and around 33 percent increase in emergency calls for gender-based violence.

She challenged countries on the bloc to collectively seek, to sustainably empower and protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence.

“With collective efforts and commitment, we can avoid a double crisis of COVID-19 and gender-based violence, and the associated far reaching consequences to our society,” Tax said.

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CSOs call for gender enabled Nigeria in climate change mitigation, adaptation



The Nigerian Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement and the SDGs (NCSFPAS) has called for a “gender enabled” Nigeria in the mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

Mrs Elizabeth Jeyiol, Chair, Gender Working Group, NCSFPAS, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.

Jeyiol said the large-scale extraction of natural resources, climate change and environmental degradation across the country’s six geopolitical zones were advancing at an unprecedented pace, undermining the livelihoods of millions of women and men.

She said successful action on climate change in Nigeria depended on the engagement of women as stakeholders and planners in ensuring everyone had access to resources they need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Jeyiol said examples of such involvement rangeed from the role of women in building resilience against natural disasters to being key agents in supporting low-emissions development.

She noted that in Nigeria, food preparation was overwhelmingly done by women and this activity required household energy.

Jeyiol said that across the country, women use cook stoves that rely on solid fuels such as biomass (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung) and coal as their primary source.

She told NAN the use of these dirty solid fuels contributed to harmful emissions of Carbon dioxide and black carbon (soot), destructive agents that perpetrating climate change.

“Indeed, women have a crucial role to play in supporting their families and communities and in implementing mechanisms to adapt to climate change and mitigate its negative impacts and they require the help and support of all in this regard.

“From rising sea levels to drops in farming yields and urban floods, the impacts of climate change are being acutely felt by women.

“Women make up a large percentage of poor communities in Nigeria that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods,” Jeyiol said.

She said the Climate and Sustainable Development Network and NCSFPAS have been in the forefront of adopting gender inclusive measures to tackle climate change.

Jeyiol said that these measures include both male and female perspectives and sex disaggregated data in situation analysis for proper planning of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

“Women’s knowledge in agroecology, agroforestry and renewable energies have been improved through different training programmes for adoption of sustainable agriculture, use of renewable energy and energy efficient cooking stoves that we have organised.

“These have not only empowered them for improved livelihoods but also served to mitigate climate change to a large extent. ”

She said Nigerian women, however, needed more representation in decision-making at all levels with gender analysis of all budget lines and financial instruments.

Jeyiol said this would help to implement innovative and sustainable responses and solutions to the environmental challenges that arise.

According to her,  Nigerian women and girls play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, and it is essential to make sure that this role is not only fully understood, but incorporated into national and state development plans.

“A Nigeria where equality reigns is a gender-enabled Nigeria. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate Nigerian women’s achievements.

“Collectively, each one of us can help to create a gender-equal Nigeria.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)

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