Overtime African Women have played a vital and steady role towards the growth of the continent’s economy. Women have emerged as successful farmers and entrepreneurs, they carry out most of the task in the society.
However Women in the African Continent have not fully explored their potentials. They have had setbacks of engaging in unproductive tasks and menial duties which is time consuming.
It is important that gender responsive policies are enacted and business environment made conducive for these Women to thrive in business in order to reduce poverty in the continent. Although certain women empowerment policies has been raised but a lot of them has failed because it only centred on certain activities such as skill acquisition programmes,offering credit facilities and provision of extension services. It did not address the issue of getting Women involved in the political scene and economic framework of the country.
Women empowerment should relate to Women holding political offices at the local and National levels. Also barriers limiting women running for elections should be curtailed and an affirmation action for Women education should be established.
Let me make it clear that women’s full participation in power structures should be paramount as their representation in decision making would translate to more employment opportunities and more control over their reproductive choices.
Now to the issue of violence against Women, The human right of Women needs to be addressed and must be an integral part of human right activities. In Nigeria Women have suffered gender persecution in forms of sexual violence in conflict situations ,harmful traditional practices, harsh and punitive widowhood rites, rape and defilement, violence in the home, female genital mutilation, forced childhood marriages and socio economic violence.
A study recently conducted by the Ministry of women affairs and Social development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) Nigeria with the support from the Norwegian Government, found out that 28% of Nigerian Women aged 25-29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15. Gender based violence has been seen to hinder National productivity . Violence against Women is mostly accepted as a fact of life because certain cultures perceive the Woman as the property of the husband.
As a Woman , this is a call to action to always seek knowledge and be informed in order to effectively unleash our potentials. We recognize the Nigerian Government and its effort to curb this menace by adopting a framework and plan of action for the National Gender Policy in2006 and 2008. At the Federal and state level, several policies has been enacted,one of which is the ‘’Violence against persons prohibition act of 2015’’ (VAPP).There is a strong need for legal actions to be taken against the perpetrators. We are also calling on the Government to domesticate the VAPP act of 2015. Together we will thrive in a society devoid of Gender based violence.
(STELLA-MARIS OBETA-UNACHUKWU, 2021)