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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Let’s Collectively #BreakTheBias# As the World Celebrate IWD

By Eniola Mayowa

It is another International Women’s Day (IWD)! A day recognize by the United Nations to celebrate women and their contributions to the world wellness. Every year, March 8 represents the day when global attention is drawn to the plight of women who are daily confronted with so many societal inhibitions.

The theme for this year, #BreakTheBias# is a pointer to the many issues women have to deal or are dealing with in establishing gender parity, equal opportunity and fair treatment in view of their contributions to nation building without which no nation can stand. What does it mean to break the bias?

It means conscious effort by everyone to remove, stop and erase all manners of inclination or prejudice for or against an individual or a group of people, especially in a way considered to be unfair and discriminatory. Tradition, customs, myths and belief are some of the limiting factors to women’s ability to maximize potential. And this must be set aside by all men and women with understanding.

While it can be said that the battle against gender discrimination seems to be winning over the years with the celebration of this day, the reality of situations around us clearly show that the battle is far from being over.

Women are still being discriminated against and being treated less of their status despite their achievements in diverse space in the socio-economic and political space.

In Nigeria, the bias against women came to fore when the National Assembly (NASS), jettisoned the bills aimed at promoting gender equality in the socio-political space of the society. The action of the legislative body was a clear indication that the politicians are not willing to join the rest of the world to #breakthebias#.

This has sparked pocket of protest by different women groups. According to a statement made available in response to the action of the parliament, “The men of the 9th NASS by their actions have taken us backwards.

Their actions undermine the importance and relevance of women’s contributions to the governance of Nigeria including the key role women play to bring victory to political parties in elections at all levels across the country.”

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The discriminatory bills which established political bias against women among others, deny citizenship to a foreign-born husband of a Nigerian women while it allows Nigerian men’s foreign-born wives to be awarded citizenship; deny Nigerian women indigeneity through marriage; deny 35 percent appointed positions for women and settling for 20 percent; deny women affirmative action in party administration and leadership; and deny specific seat for women in the National Assembly.

While making a strong demand for the representation of the gender bills, the women group noted that women in Nigeria will continue to make case for women in leadership and political position in the country.

Women who are eminently qualified abound and the celebration of the international women’s day should be an opportunity for women to support one another while enlisting men for the purpose of fulfilling the mandate of the United Nation’s IWD.

“As a woman, I do not expect to be given some kind of undue treatment but only demands to be treated fairly without any form of discrimination.”If a man can occupy a position, why should a woman occupying the same position requires some kind of appeasement of the menfolks to make it happen?

And we are probably talking about a woman who is more exposed, more educated and more intelligent. The world has shown that many women are breaking new frontiers. What profession exist today that women are not taking their place?

It is the responsibility of everyone who has a daughter, mother, wife, sister, niece, aunty, to consciously promote and support gender equality. Imagine having a daughter, sister or niece you have supported with the best of education and who have demonstrated high level of intelligence only to be told she cannot attain certain positions due to unreal myths that do not exist and bias.

Women have been consistence in their drive, and commitment to leadership across diverse interest including corporate organizations, public service, politics etc. Let’s break the bias in the family, particularly in raising the children.

Let’s break the bias in the community. Let’s break the bias in the workplaces. Let’s break the bias in the society. Let’s break the bias in our schools. Let’s break the bias in our religion environment. Let’s break the bias in the political space.

To lend her voice to the world call for the needful, the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) will join others globally to celebrate women, draw attention of stakeholders to germane issues contending with women taking their rightful place and contesting discrimination wherever it is noticed, against women.

  • Mayowa is the COO of Stepcraft and the Public Relations Officer of NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) Lagos.
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