In commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), marked every October 11, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that the ministry is working on policies for the protection of the girl child and gender equality in Nigeria.
The minister made the disclosure while addressing participants at the event organized by an international organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in Abuja Monday, with the theme; “Amplify Her Voice”.
Represented by an official in the Child Development department, Mr Adekunle Balogun-Ashry, Tallen said the ministry is at the final stage of the gender policy review, which will subsequently be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.
“The ministry is working assiduously to ensure that issues affecting women are tackled. We understand the issue of gender inequality in society. However, it was permitted by our own actions. Girls are faced with cultural, societal issues as a result of their gender.
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“However, the ministry has formulated a lot of policies for the education of the girl child and eradication of gender inequality even at the local level. Right now, we are in the final stage of the gender policy review. The last time we had the review was in 2005.
“We also intend to review child policy. In the ministry, there is a particular ministry dedicated to child development. So, these are the efforts of the ministry to balance the inequality in society. Hopefully, things will change for the better as we are always interested in things that will better the girl child at the ministry of Women Affairs,” she said.
Also speaking, the Director of Advocacy, Policy and Marketing, AHF Africa, Kemi Gbadamosi, said that the issue of menstrual hygiene is particularly a disturbing one as many young girls skip school whenever they are menstruating, adding that the Foundation has been doing its best to ensure HIV positive girls are adequately taken care of.
She said: “From our statistics, in Nigeria, more women get infected with HIV than men. This is as a result of rape, violence, molestation, unhygienic practices, among others. In 2016, we launched the Girls Act project as we considered that it is not just about medication, but for us to tackle the root causes of HIV infection. We ensure that lives of women are changed positively at AHF.
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“Women lack opportunities more than men, so we do our best to intervene. Even in schools, girls are discriminated against as many of them are mandated to clean the black board or sweep the floor, while the boys watch, which is not supposed to be so. We are all equal as human beings. We may be saddled with different roles to play, based on our gender, but we are all important and deserve equal opportunities. So, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the girl child is protected.”