CSOs advocate greater participation of women in Nigeria’s socio-economic development

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The Women’s Economic Collectives (WEC), under the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) and development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), has called for greater participation of women in Nigeria’s socio-economic development .

The call was made by the group during a one-day technical review of the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) components of the National Development Plan 2021-2025 in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, which held at the Jades Hotel in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Engr. Funso Adebiyi who was represented at the event said the importance of women’s involvement in the socio-economic life and decision-making of a society cannot be overemphasized.

He said Women empowerment is not just about giving them financial support, but also about gender equality-accepting their thoughts and viewpoints, appreciating their efforts and decisions.

Engr. Adebiyi reiterated the administration of president Buhari’s recognition of the importance women whom he said form the larger part of the bases of the country’s growth and development by creating the enabling environment in supporting and empowering them economically and financially through the establishment of institutional and policy frame work to address the needs of women.

“Among these, is the Nigeria for Women Project, which the ministry is coordinating and just flagged-off this year’s first phase in Abia State over the weekend, and other programmes to encourage and enhance the participation of women in the attainment of our national development goals.

The national president of NACCIMA Women Group(NAWORG) and Former Minister of Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, in her Goodwill message said that the review of the WEE components of the national plan is important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 5 geared towards achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

“As you are all aware, women play vital roles in the development of the nation’s economy and the implementation of these plans should be holistic for its success,” she said

Some participants at the event in a group picture

She said women despite constituting about 50% of the economic actors in the country with proven records of high loan repayment and savings, credits and financial services dedicated to women has been much less than 10%, even as financial institutions are taking steps to address the gender financial gap by creating women focused products and services, departments and special desks.

Mrs Abubakr added that “going forward, NAWORG is going to make women universal access to finance by 2030 a top priority and will take a pivotal and strategic role in designing and pioneering innovative financing structures for women to bridge the perceived gender finance gap”.

Speaking at the event, the National President of NES, Ummu Ahmed Jalingo, said gender equality is a right that must be fulfilled to mitigate number of challenges facing humanity most especially women and some of which include economic crisis, healthcare issues, violence against women, climate change among others.

Women she said are not only more affected by these problems, but also possess ideas, will and leadership capacity to solve them.

“However, gender discrimination is holding many women back, thereby decelerating global economic growth.

She said investing in women can make a world of difference for not only women, but also for their families, communities, and the nation at large as it will further ensure reduction in poverty across the country.

“Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) is necessary for inclusive and equitable economic
growth of any nation.

Mrs Jalingo said there is increasing recognition that economically empowering women is
essential both to realize women’s rights and to achieve broader development goals such as economic growth, poverty reduction, health,
education and welfare.

“To drive economic empowerment process, engender higher productivity and fast track economic growth, reduce poverty through the reduction of maternal and child mortality, women participation in economic ownership and control of productive assets is key,” she said.

Participants at the event were drawn from a combination of CSOs such as: NACCIMA, Women Business Group (NAWORG), National Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE), National Association Women in Agriculture (NAWIA), Market Women Association of Nigeria (MATAN), and the Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA).

PAWED is a coalition that aims to build and nurture sustainable civil society advocacy to support leading WEE interventions at the national and states level.

The PAWED project works at the national level and in selected states in each of the six geopolitical zones to increase the importance of WEE amongst policymakers in Nigeria

Tuesday’s event was anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), in collaboration with Nigerian Economic Society (NES) and the Dangote Business School, Bayero University, Kano.

WEE is sponsored by the Gates Foundation, which believes that women’s economic empowerment is beneficial not only to individual women but also to their children, households, and communities.

The programme aims to help women and girls move from limited power, voice, and chores at home and in the economy to having the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to compete equitably and benefit from economic gains.

The Nigerian government had in September 2021 inaugurated a technical working group for the pilot monitoring and evaluation framework for the WEE interventions.

The group was inaugurated following a national symposium organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in collaboration with the dRPC on the application framework as it relates to the WEE.

The participants had at the event recommended that a working group be set up to follow up the implementation of the framework.

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