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Women And Equal Representation In Society

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Women’s full and equal participation in all facets of society is a fundamental human right. Yet, within our communities, states and Nigeria at large and in fact the world over from politics to entertainment to the workplace, women and girls are largely under-represented.
When we take a closer look at this gender sensitivity over time, it clearly shows it has been imbalance.
Perhaps due to culture, norms and traditions, the consequences are far-reaching with detrimental and negative consequences on the personal, economic and future well-being of women and girls, their families and the community at large.
Building a sustainable future for all, means leaving no one behind. Women and girls are critical to finding solutions to the biggest challenges we face today and must be heard, valued and celebrated throughout society to reflect their perspectives and choices for their future and that of their families and society at large.
How many more generations are needed for women and girls to realise their rights? Women must begin to demand equal rights and opportunities for all folks.
Politically, women’s representation globally has doubled in the last 25 years. But, this only amounts to around one in four parliamentary seats held by women today.
Women continue to be significantly under-represented in the highest political positions. In October 2019, there were only 10 women Heads of State and 13 women Heads of Government across 22 countries, compared with four Heads of State and eight Prime Ministers across 12 countries in 1995.
At workplace, about two years ago, out of the 500 chief executives leading the highest-grossing firms, just under 7 per cent are women. Thank goodness, our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation {WTO).
When looking at the workforce as a whole, the gender gap in labour force participation among prime working age adults (25 to 54) has stagnated over the past 20 years. Improved education among women has done little to shift deeply entrenched occupational segregation in developed and developing countries. Women continue to carry out a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work. Women and girls are responsible in 80 per cent of households that do not have access to gender-sensitivity. Women and girls have little time for rest and sleep. If you allow them, they will work for 24 hours non-stop.
Annually, recognition of intellectual achievements and academic, cultural and scientific advances, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to more than 900 individuals in the course of its history from 1901 to 2019. Only 53 of the winners have been women, 19 in the categories of Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine. Marie Curie became the first female laureate in 1903, when she and her husband won a joint Prize for Physics. Eight years later, she was solely awarded the Chemistry Prize, making her the only woman in history to win the Nobel Prize twice. Although women have been behind a number of scientific discoveries throughout history, just 30 per cent of researchers worldwide and 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study are women.
When it comes to equality of men and women in news media, progress has not been encouraging. According to reports,  participation and representation of women in the news media for about two decades in many countries, only 24 per cent of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news are women. A lot of improvement has been recorded for women news reporters in newspaper bylines and newscast reports, with 37 per cent of stories reported by women as of 2015, showing little difference over a decade. Despite the democratising promise of digital media, women’s poor representation in traditional news media is also reflected in digital news, with women making up only 26 per cent of the people in Internet news stories and media news tweets. Only 4 per cent of traditional news and digital news stories clearly challenge gender stereotypes. Among other factors, stereotypes and the significant under-representation of women in the media play a significant role in shaping harmful attitudes of disrespect and violence towards women.
If you talk about entertainment industry, like other forms of media, film and television have a powerful influence in shaping cultural perceptions and attitudes towards gender and are key to shifting the narrative for the gender equality agenda. Yet, an analysis of popular films across 11 countries found, for example, that 31 per cent of all speaking characters were women and that only 23 per cent featured a female protagonist, a number that closely mirrored the percentage of women filmmakers.
The gross under-representation of women in the film industry is also glaringly evident in critically acclaimed film awards: In the 92-year history of the Oscars, only five women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Award category; and one woman, Kathryn Bigelow has ever won.
A lot of women in Nigeria, like Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi, Patience Ozokwo, Joke Silva, Monalisa Chinda, to mention but a few, have done well in the entertainment industry. But we need more women in film, on-screen and off-screen.
In sports, the power to inspire change and break gender stereotypes is possible and women have been doing just that decade after decade, showing that they are just as capable, resilient and strong as men physically.
Today, women are far more visible in sports than ever before: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is projected to have close to equal representation of women and men competing for the first time in its history. For comparison, only 22 women (2.2 per cent) out of a total of 997 athletes competed in the modern Olympics for the first time in 1900. Women and men will compete in almost all sports categories.
Chioma Ajunwo and Mary Onyeali are some of the sportswomen in Nigeria we can talk about when it comes to excellence.
Despite progress, women still continue to be excluded in certain sports in parts of the world and are paid far less than men in wages and prize money globally. Women need to be encouraged more in sports like the men.
Despite women being prescribed stereotypical roles in the kitchen at home, the upper echelons of the restaurant industry have remained relatively closed to female chefs Women must often overcome active discrimination and move away from a culture that both glorifies masculinity and tacitly condones harassment. Paired with long, unpredictable and inflexible working hours, unfriendly family and childcare policies and lower salaries, women face enormous challenges when entering the restaurant business. Women need to be in control of hospitality business as chefs..

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Deborah’s Death, One, Too Many

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Deborah Samuel was a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State of Nigeria. The female Christian faithful, had also tested violence against women. This time, not from a spouse but course mates.
Parents had laboured day and night to ensure that she became a graduate so as to be empowered in the future. To have found herself in a tertiary institution means that the sky might not even be her limit. But what I may call enmity on womanhood had caused her death. It is surprising that it is happening in the four walls of an educational institution.
Lately, violence against women and girls has been on the increase. That of Deborah is one, too many. Since women are the weaker sex, what can they do?
Belonging to the WhatsApp group in a class to share and learn together may not be wrong after all. But the manner in which her course mates who belong to the same group took laws into their hands should be condemned.
Should social media platforms where groups share ideas and jokes become war zone? Should not people do simple arguments that should not lead to unnecessary death.
It was reported that Deborah and her Moslem course mates had a simple argument and before you knew it, it led to her death.
While they were in class, as a result of the argument, they allegedly pulled her out of the class, stoned and burnt her alive. They claimed she was blasphemous to Allah.
It cannot be imagined that even in a school, a student can be set ablaze by her fellow students in a tertiary institution without interference by security guards. Where were the security guards when the ugly incident occurred. Does it mean that they were in support of Deborah’s death.
Although after the incident, the Sokoto State Government ordered the closure of the institution and the release of the students who were arrested for burning the female Christian student to death.
Also, a 24-hour curfew was imposed in Sokoto State by its government over riots due to the killing. Religious tolerance should be the watchword for every Nigerian citizen irrespective of the type of worship.
Let us assume that Deborah made abusive statements against the practice of Islam, she should have been cautioned. I have not seen where Christians reacted so quickly to blasphemy against another faith. Christians are always peaceful in their obedience and practice to their religion.
When a Christian worship centre is burnt, there will not be war, but if otherwise, assume what will happen. The types of religion that are practised in Nigeria should signify peace. Clerics need to continue to teach what peace means properly among the various religions being practised in the country.
Report has it that when the institution’s security got hint of the situation, she was taken to the security post, where they were over-powered by the mob. If the security in that college wanted to save Deborah, why did they not invite security agents who would have come to disperse the crowd and save the girl?
When will people stop taking laws into their hands? If the aggrieved students felt that Deborah was blasphemous, they should have sued her to Sharia Court where she would have defended herself.
Human beings have no right to judge others on blasphemy. Whichever religion one practises, that person’s faith should be personal. If they felt that Deborah had offended the supreme head of their belief, they are not the ones to judge. Whether in Christianity or Islam, nobody has the right to judge. This is because there is judgement day when every man must give account of his or her work on earth.
Now that they have killed Deborah, if proven by the court, are they not guilty? Even before God, Jesus or Mohammed, are they taught to kill a fellow human?
If you think a person has uttered blasphemous words, allow God to judge. We cannot continue to lose young women whose future is bright. We cannot continue to lose nation builders. We are talking about gender sensitivity and women emancipation, some persons are ignorant of the fact that more women need to be empowered.
A lot of persons and groups have condemned the manner in which Deborah was killed. It should not just be condemnation, but action should be taken to ensure that those behind such dastardly act are brought to book. When they are dealt with according to the law, others who may be nursing further bad intentions will learn their lesson. It will also serve as a deterrent to others.
I thought Nigerian Christian and Muslims are brothers and sisters. People of various faith should live in harmony.
Like Sheikh Ahmad Gumi said: “Nigeria is not an Islamic state, Muslims in the country have an agreement with people of other faiths to live together peacefully and anyone who kills them on religious guise has committed a grievous sin”.
Deborah has gone. Sympathy goes to her parents and others left behind. Whether anybody protests or not, what can be done?
Christians who find themselves within the domain especially where the ugly incident occurred must comfort themselves and display a sense of maturity.
People should not be killing in the name of religion and at every little provocation. Those who killed Deborah also disobey and insult Allah.
Like the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama said,: “Religion means to wish others well to show compassion, mutual support and cooperation for what sues for peace, justice and equity”.
He said love is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, rich in mercy and reaches out to all.
To Christians, retaliation may not be the answer but giving peace a chance is better while investigation and action by both government and security agencies continue.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Women

NGO Urges Edo Women To Mitigate GBV

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development Initiative (GWSD) has urged women in leadership positions in Edo State to use their various offices to mitigate Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the society.
Executive Director of GWSD, Mrs Mariam Kadiri-Ezolome, stated this during a capacity building on stimulating women for leadership positions, held in Benin on Monday.
The Tide’s source reports that the training was aimed at mitigating GBV through protection.
Kadiri-Ezolome said GBV would be alleviated in the society, if more women were empowered and speak out against it.
“As women leaders, you should relate more with women at the grassroots; know what they are going through and see that they are empowered to bridge the gender gaps in the society.
“Women leaders should give other women, especially at community level, the voice to speak out against GBV.
“Also, some women don’t know what GBV is and as women in leadership, it is expected that we create awareness about it,” she said.
Speaking on violence against women during elections, the Founder, Echoes of Women in Africa, Mrs Louisa Eikhomun-Agbonkhese, said that electoral violence were mostly targeted at women and girls, thus preventing them from exercising their franchise.
Eikhomun-Agbonkhese added that women were sometimes scared to speak out against GBV in the political space due to fear of the leadership structure.
In her remarks, Executive Director, Women, Youths and Children Advancement Programme, Mrs Agatha Osieke, said women should equip themselves with relevant skills to enable them rise above GBV.
“You should know what you are seeking for: that you want to bring positive change. You need relevant skills, research, negotiation, listening and more.
“Women need to come up with a roadmap to change the narrative that women are not ready to hold political positions,” she said.
The source reports that GWSD is a non-profit organisation dealing with issues concerning women, youths and people in the community.
The group also provides varied services, geared toward improving the quality of life of its beneficiaries for sustainable development.
The source also reports that the capacity building was organised by GWSD and funded by European Union, in partnership with Agent for Citizens Driven Transformation, through the British Council.

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Coping With Pregnancy In Married Young Woman

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After marriage ceremonies, healthy couples pray for babies to come as they are referred to be fruits of marriage. Children also are source of joy to families. Although it is not a war zone when children do not come after marriages.
Young mothers need to adequately understand the various stages in pregnancy and how to go through the stages with minimum anxiety to be able to give birth to healthy babies.
They also need to know how to take proper care of the babies when they are born.
Pregnancy starts when conception occurs. Every pregnancy comes with its peculiarities. When pregnancy occurs, the woman notices many changes in her body.
As a young woman, the monthly period ceases, while breasts become full, firm and nipples become large and darker.
There is a likelihood of experience nausea or morning sickness lie, early discomfort, frequent pouring of saliva and sometimes vomiting. The woman also experiences sleeping excessively in the morning. Loss of appetite sometimes comes up when a woman becomes pregnant.
When a woman becomes pregnant as it is confirmed by a gynecologist, it is necessary that she attends antenatal care in a hospital. It is also known as prenatal care, which is given to the pregnant woman and the unborn child.
Experts say the importance of this is to ensure that the pregnant woman and the unborn child receive proper medical care to prepare them for safe delivery.
During the antenatal care period, the pregnant woman is made to undergo certain tests such as urine and blood, blood pressure and weight check, abdominal examination and pelvic assessment.
The advantages of antenatal care cannot be over emphasized as the mother-to-be is given all necessary medical treatments required for her safety of the unborn baby.
During antenatal care, complications are detected early and remedies are provided.
Maternity personnel like the midwives and staff nurses give adequate training on what to expect during delivery especially by young women who may be new to it.
The kinds of food to be consumed by the expectant mothers are normally identified, even the types of cloths to put on.
The kind of clothes a pregnant woman puts on also matters. \it is good to avoid all those tight jeans trousers around the waist. Maintaining good hygiene becomes necessary so that both the mother and the child will be free from diseases.
When a woman is delivered of a newborn, medical experts advise that she attends postnatal care, that is the care that the mother and her baby attends for medical check-up for six weeks.
Pregnancy is associated with some common problems. Constipation in which defecation is not frequent and sometimes passing of faces is hard. The problem is increased by the pressure on the lower abdominal region caused by enlarged uterus.
Heartburn is another problem associated with pregnancy. It is the passage of small amount of stomach contents into the lower part of the digestive tract. It is caused by enlarging uterus pressing against the stomach.
Some pregnant women experience leg cramps at night. It is experienced more at the late stage of the pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are the commonest which a lot of women suffer during pregnancy.
In some women, it stops after about three months. Weight gain comes up for some. But expert’s advice for regular weight check-up so that it doesn’t become excessive.
Some items needed for the care of new born: toiletries for mother and child, feeding tools if need be, spoons and cups, sanitary towel for mother.
Mother’s brassiere, night wears, bedspread for both mother and child.
The baby needs things such as vest, pars of socks, sweater, cap, napkin and diaper.
During the postnatal care, doctors examine the nursing mother to ensure that she is okay.
Such things as her weight, urine, blood pressure and blood haemegblobin are checked. There have been cases here after delivery, some mothers experience swollen legs. The baby alongside the mother is also examined.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode with agency report

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