Gender Rights activist, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu has said that attainment of sustainable development would be imposible if marginalisation and adversity against women are not addressed.
She also enjoined more women to participate actively in politics. This according to her and is the most potent way to effect gender mainstreaming on the African continent.
Aliyu while speaking at the 2018 African conference in New York, noted that the African countries that have been able to get more women into leadership and governance have made significant progress in meeting the developmental targets and evidences are there for all to see.
“However the irony is that sustainable development is virtually impossible without frontally addressing marginalisation and adversity facing our women. From politics and governance to the family and economy, the challenges confronting our women are as real as they are daunting. Year after year we continue to pay lip service to issues of women empowerment and gender mainstreaming,” she said.
Aliyu added that The MDGs, and now the SDGs have provided a great vehicle for attaining sustainable development and by extension women empowerment. Unfortunately the success stories have been rather too few and far between.
“A good place to start would be to first have a comprehensive appreciation of the scope of the gender gap in our society today. Notwithstanding the dearth of credible and detailed data to guide implementation of gender policies, the Gender Equality Index put together by the African Development Bank (AfDB) provide a very good starting point. Additionally, we must tap into the vast reservoir of socio-economic and cultural experiences and resources available to draw up tailor-made interventions that will significantly close the gender gap.
“However what needs to be clearly emphasized is that without women empowerment there also cannot be any real sustainable development,” she added.
She insisted that involvement of more women in politics and governance will effectively address the marginalisation against women.
“The reason for this trend is quite simple; women’s participation in development have direct positive impact on their immediate communities and families. And because the family and the community represent the basic structure of the average African society, the more women we have in decision making positions the better for the society at large.
Therefore all of us; women and men, owe ourselves a duty to continue to hold our governments to account on issues of gender quotas and gender mainstreaming. For the generality of women who cannot all be in leadership positions, we must urge our governments to become more compliant to globally agreed human and labour rights standards. This can also be done by urging our lawmakers to come up with legislations that will guarantee and promote women’s access to decent terms and conditions of employment including but not limited to good living wage, secure contracts, access to social protection, equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities and of course non-discrimination in the workplace,” she stated.
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