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IWD : CAFOD, CWSI, Solicit Empowerment For Women, Girls

todayMarch 8, 2024 129

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The need for the Federal Government to invest in education and economic empowerment of women and girls as a tool to lift many above the poverty line, has been advocated.

This was the position of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development , CAFOD, and the Centre for Women Studies and Intervention, CWSI, at a forum organized to celebrate the International Women’s Day in Abuja.

Discussions around women inclusion, misconceptions, mental health and the need to break all forms of barriers limiting women were extensively deliberated on.

Women were also encouraged to develop themselves to be self reliant and useful where they find themselves.

Programme Development & Funding Officer, CAFOD, Mmachukwu Oyeka-Chinweoke who called for Government intervention in cushioning the economic hardship being faced by women, lamented that 70℅ of women out of 90 million Nigerians were living in extreme poverty.

Borrowing from the words of Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Chinweoke said “by breaking down the barriers that have hindered the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of society, we unleash the untapped potential that can drive progress and prosperity for all.”

Chinweoke therefore appealed to Government at all levels in Nigeria to consider the implementation of the National Women’s Economic Empowerment Policy and Action Plan, nothing that women economic empowerment is a matter of social justice and a key driver of growth and development.

“CAFOD and CWSI call on the Government to throw its weight behind the implementation of this plan in the interest of not only Nigerian women, but also in the interest of national development”.

“Nigerian women make up roughly half the general population, yet they account for 70% of the 90 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty. As a nation, there is no way we can advance with half the population void of the necessary enablers to overcome poverty”.

“The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, CAFOD and the Centre for Women Studies and Intervention, CWSI, stand on this sustainable development goal to jointly call on the Government of Nigeria at all levels to demonstrate its commitment to invest in and empower the great women of our great nation, Nigeria”.

Chinweoke also emphasized that, “Gender equality is not just a goal within the 2030 Agenda, it is the very foundation of a fair society, and a goal upon which all other goals must stand”.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Centre for Women Studies, and Intervention, Rev. Sister Ngozi Frances Uti, advised women to cultivate the habit of celebrating themselves and learn to transform challenges into opportunities.

Rev. Sister Uti also advised students at the forum to study hard and make the best of their lives, even as she urged women to be supportive of other women in any way possible towards ensuring that no one is left behind.

In a remark, a notable Nigerian Activist, and one of the recipients of an award on the occasion, Madam Ene Obi, cautioned against domestic and Gender Based Violence, and urged anyone in such situation to speak out for help, before the matter gets worse.

Obi also urged Politicians to prioritize national interest above personal gains, desist from looting funds meant to cater for the people and invest more in the empowerment of women for national development.

One of the Panelists,
Mr. Kelechi Emeh, emphasized the need for parents and guardians to give equal opportunities to their children irrespective of gender.

Other Panelists in their contributions, urged women and girls not to allow the challenges of rejection, stereotypes, misconception about women, and stigma cause them to loose their self esteem.

25 notable Nigerian women were honoured for being a source of inspiration to other women in their endeavors.

Some of them are: Prof. Grace Alele- Williams, First Female Vice Chancellor and pioneer female Mathematician, Ene Obi Philantropist / Activist, Ngozi Okonjo- Iwella, first African female DG of the World Trade Organization, Prof. Dora Akunyili of blessed memory among others.

The theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day is ‘Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment” while the sub-theme is “Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress”.

Remi Johnson, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Kevin Nwabueze

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