With Thrive Law Changer and founder of Her Dream Initiative, Heritage Sanmi-Lawal
Nigeria has closed 62.7 percent of its overall gender gap and currently ranks 139 out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index.
The Nigerian Constitution does provide for gender equality and nondiscrimination to some extent. 75 percent of legal frameworks that promote, enforce and monitor gender equality under the SDG indicator are in place. The Federal Government adopted the National Gender Policy in 2006 as a commitment to addressing the key issues pertaining to women and mainstreaming these issues in the formation and implementation of policies and programmes. However, there is still progress to be made. On International Women’s Day this year, women in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, took to the streets to march in protest of federal lawmakers’ recent decision to reject five gender equality bills that would help to foster women’s equality and political participation. The proposed amendments that were rejected included granting citizenship to foreign husbands of Nigerian women, a right currently granted to Nigeria men with foreign wives, as well as affirmative actions to ensure more women can participate in politics and government leadership. Currently, just 5.8 percent of parliamentarians and 10.3 percent of ministers are women.
The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2018 revealed that approximately 31 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 had experienced some form of physical violence since age 15, and 14 percent had experienced physical violence in the 12 months preceding the study. In a 2017 report, Nigeria’s Gender Based Violence Sub-Sector Working Group indicates that one in four ever-married women reported experiencing at least one type of domestic violence by their husband or partner. In June 2020, Nigerians started the #WeAreTired campaign after two young women, Vera Uwaila Omosuwa and Barakat Bello were raped and killed five days apart. Following the online campaign and nationwide protests by women’s rights activists, all 36 Nigerian governors agreed to declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence against women and children. Closing gender gaps in work opportunities, pay, gender-based violence and healthcare are essential for achieving gender-related SDG commitments in Nigeria.
Find out more about Heritage and Her Dream initiative:
Heritage Sanmi-Lawal offers regional insights on gender equality and updates on the work being done at Her Dream Initiative to improve the wellbeing and opportunities available to women in Nigeria and across the world. The research team at Her Dream Initiative have recently conducted reports on topics such as the prevalence and impact of Female Genital Mutilation, and the effect of malaria on pregnant women, introducing steps to improve antenatal care and treatment for women who get malaria during the course of their pregnancy. They have also launched a podcast which shares the stories of women thriving in their field to encourage and inspire other women and girls. In the future, they plan to speak to girls and women in schools and universities about period health, sexual abuse and harassment, and how to identify and report abuse. They are also building a directory that holds information for each country around the world with a list of organisations that offer support services to women who have been abused and/or harassed. To find out more about the work of Her Dream Initiative, visit: https://msha.ke/herdream.initiative/#her-dream-initiative