PROTECTING WOMEN’S INTEREST IN NIGERIA

A woman is an integral part of creation, as the first human specie made by God might not have survived on his own, without the one generated from his bone. She’s a friend you can rely on, a sister who will not stop loving you, a mother who is the pillar of support and your first doctor when you are ailing. She’s a wife who encourages you when things become topsy turvy though she may be scared too, the importance of a woman cannot be overstated.

God’s intention of creating a woman to be man’s partner has not changed for He doesn’t want man to abide alone. Traditionally, a woman, once married, sees to the affairs of the home by tending to the issues of the husband and children but as the world evolves, women began to denigrate the roles of being a woman in the society.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in empowering women but a man is a man and a woman remains a woman and she is crucial to the development of any society.

The interests of women cut across several areas of life, like education, politics, health, family, economy, etc.

In order to promote the progress of any society, it is pertinent to educate children, especially the female child as they constitute a larger percentage of the population. Educating a girl will prop up literacy rate, ensure political participation, reduce human trafficking as women are most vulnerable, reduce early marriage and increase income generation for families through poverty reduction.

Most families in Nigeria are unable to take adequate care of their children and when the issue of schooling comes to the table, parents prefer to send the male specie to school before considering the female and this is as a result of the dominant status given to a male child according to Nigerian tradition.

Equal opportunity should be given to both sexes and each one should be able to decide whether he or she wants to further his or  her  education  after  a t t a i n i n g s e c o n d a r y education.

Without educating a girl child, there would not be political representation for women as it takes the one who wears the shoes to understand where it pinches. Men cannot fully represent women as they can only imagine what women go through at different stages of life.

Educating a girl is a step towards preserving the future generations as you can be sure that an educated mother will see to it that her children are educated too because a parent’s desire is to see their children being a better version of them.

Education remains a basic right of an individual irrespective of gender, age or nationality. For every boy that is schooled, every girl should be schooled too.

Another aspect of women interest that needs to be ensured is political representation which is the activity of making the voice, opinion or viewpoint present in the public policy making processes, this occurs when political actors advocate and act on behalf of others in the political arena.

For almost two decades of democratic governance in Nigeria women have been involved in the political processes but they are yet to occupy twenty percent of the elective positions despite that both women and men exercise their voting rights at almost the same rate. Nigeria has not produced a female Governor not to talk of vice president or president as the case of developed nations like United Kingdom whose head of state is Theresa May, Malta has Marie-Louise Colero Preca as the Head of State and Croatia has Kolinda Grabar- Kitarovic, in Africa, Namibia has Saara Kuugongelwa from 2015 till now, Ethiopia has, Sahle-Work Zewde.

The highest political position a female has taken in Nigeria is that of the Speaker of the National House of Representatives in the person of Patricia Etteh. Six women have been Deputy Governors in Nigeria and the 2015 election produced seven female senators and twenty two in the House of Assembly, this shows that women still have low representation at the political sphere and some of the factors responsible for it includes culture, religion, funding, party system and structure among others.

There is the need for stakeholders to see women’s political underrepresentation as a case discrimination against women and steps should be taken to address it via initiation of legislation that would establish a more balanced gender representation of electoral posts at the local, state, regional and national levels, reorientation of people towards their perception of what the roles of a woman is in the society, proper education and mentoring should also be available for women in order that they will be equipped for the position.

The gender role assigned to women has for a long time defined their social and economic status in the society, this accounts for why some people see women as being useful only at home and in the marketplace where they go for their daily businesses, Nigerian economy is structured in such a way that many women rely on a male breadwinner for survival due to their inability to independently earn a living due to lack of access to decent employment. The reproductive role of women is another issue that crops up during job seeking by married female, some employers find them repulsive because they feel once they get pregnant, put to bed or children fall sick, work will be deficient.

The persistent economic downturn in Nigeria has led to the deterioration of family among the middle and lower class families thus women have had to increasingly take up any available employment just to augment the family income. This economic role was solely on the men in the past.

In recent times, there has been several cases of obstetric haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia ovarian cyst, cancer, infant and maternal mortality, cancer of the breast, vesico vaginal fistula and a whole lot of other health concerns for women, due to factors of ignorance, poor health facilities, lack of proper health care, lack of health insurance that could assist in getting adequate healthcare for women.

The government need to do more in this area as there are still loopholes in her efforts towards improving women’s health.

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