A conference on issues against women as the world marks International Women’s Day has identified cultural issues impeding women empowerment and suggested ways forward.
The ‘Media for Women Economic Empowerment Roundtable’ which drew officials of government, non-government organisations as well as media practitioners, deliberated on women-specific challenges to development, including cultural inhibitions that set women back.
“A norm widely practised in Nigeria sees women as property of the husbands who bought them, and they are to do as the men please, which impacts crushingly on women,” a panel discussion segment of the conference noted.
The Media for Women Roundtable which ended in Abuja Tuesday under the auspices of Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Mercy Corps, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) and Save the Children, with support from USAID, noted that women do a whole lot of things for societal development but get abysmally low personal dividends in face of gender bias.
“In many communities, a woman cannot inherit assets such as land, and if such a woman is a farmer, her productivity is hampered,” the panel said.
The panel which comprised state commissioners and directors from relevant ministries as well as women in private enterprises in Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe States, added that women frequently have to work extra hard for their efforts to produce results.
The point was made that “Women are active in various sectors, including agriculture, but are not getting gains that are commensurate with what they put in because they have to contend with beliefs and attitudes that negate them.”
It was said that cattle markets, for instance, are regarded as reserved for men, and women are methodically shut out from such markets even if some women are bigger cattle owners than some of the men who run such markets.
The Chief of Party, Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Margarita Aswani, urged efforts from all concerned towards breaking the socio-economic biases (#BreakTheBias) against women.
Journalists selected from Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe States attended the Media Roundtable.
They committed themselves to writing stories and features to highlight the problems women face in their economic pursuits and research possible solutions to such problems.
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