The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, has stressed that women deserve to be celebrated as they stand at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as healthcare workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers, as well as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic.
NAWOJ noted that Nigerian women play invaluable roles in building homes, and by extension, the nation, significantly contributing in the public and private sectors of national life, noted for high-flying achievements and uncommon record breaking, while their passion for justice, equity and fairness with less tendencies for corruption and violence are unequalled.
It stated this in a press statement signed by its National President and Secretary, Comrades Ladi Bala and Helen Udofa, on Monday, March 8, 2021, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, joining the global community to celebrate outstanding achievements recorded by Nigerian women.
The 2021 International Women’s Day theme is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in the COVID-19 World”; focusing on celebrating the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping an equal future for themselves.
According to NAWOJ, this year’s theme also aligns with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which emphasises women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The statement added that today, NAWOJ particularly celebrates all Nigerian women who have made a mark in their various fields of endeavour, either as successful traders, top notch businesswomen, chief executives of different agencies, banks and other corporate organizations, or as deputy governors, state chief judges, secretary to state government, head of civil service, commissioners, permanent secretaries, professors, members of the state and national assemblies, heads of media establishments, and others.
It acknowledged that women’s achievements in various fields have served as inspiration to younger women, helping them to overcome seeming challenges they may face.
It observed that exactly 27 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality, as multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture; consequently, women and girls remain undervalued as they work more and earn less, have fewer choices and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces, thus hindering their advancement and gender equality.
NAWOJ therefore called for concerted efforts to eliminate those persistent and pre-existing social barriers to gender equality, more women’s participation in leadership, as well as an end to practices that are inimical to the advancement of women and girls in Nigeria, and all forms of sexual and violence against women and girls, including new barriers that have emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advocating a better deal for women through the removal of all obstacles hindering women’s chances at qualitative education, political inclusion, healthcare, economic empowerment, rights to inheritance, and others, NAWOJ noted that women across the world face increase in domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty.
While congratulating Nigerian women for making irreplaceable contributions to nation-building, NAWOJ also called for equality in political leadership, more women inclusion in governance, corporate boardrooms and factory floors; adding that Government at all levels and organizations should step up efforts at harnessing the strength in Nigeria’s greatest human capital resources (women), by including more women in policy and decision-making processes.
NAWOJ described as unacceptable and retrogressive the recent spate of abduction of students in Schools by criminal elements and appeals to Government at all levels to secure all schools by fencing them and deploying security personnel to safeguard the lives of students and pupils for hitch-free learning.