A professor of Law at the University of Benin, Edo State, Prof. Nkolika Aniekwu, has called on the federal and state governments to carry out advanced reviews of relevant laws on gender equality in order to provide adequate protection for the rights of women and the girl-child. Aniekwu, who teaches research and reproductive health law in the Department of Public Law, made the call during a lecture on “Advancing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women”, organised by the Lift Above Poverty Organisation, LAPO, to mark the 2016 International Women’s Day celebration in Benin, the state capital.
The lecturer said while it was commendable that some states had adopted the Child Rights Act, it was important for relevant stakeholders to identify factors that may hinder its implementation. She explained that in reality, many women and girls are still uneducated, uninformed and unequal in many respects, adding that the female gender was still under-represented in business and politics. She said: “Many national laws are still ‘maled’ and patriarchal and not adequately considerate of female issues. Affirmative action is still lacking in employment, education and policy making. Gender violence and reproductive ill health, in all its ugly forms, is on the increase.
“Legal reform has never been easy in any territory or jurisdiction. It takes concerted efforts and people who are committed to achieving change. We just keep on working from talking to acting, from theorising to action.” Also, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Prof. Agatha Eguavuoen, who condemned the prevalence of violence against the girl-child, lamented that many women had been left unrecognised, in spite of their laudable achievements. Eguavuoen, therefore, called for the declaration of the Doctrine of Necessity, as part of efforts to adthe poor representation of women in the country.
Earlier, Chairman, LAPO Board of Directors, Prof. Christiana Okojie, noted that government support, through adequate financial allocation, would promote women development with substantive progress by the year 2020. In her remarks, Edo State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Aanena Fulani-Ojo, assured that the state government would continue to promote the rights of women to enable them excel in their chosen areas of human endeavour. She, however, urged women to re-dedicate themselves to the struggle for the elimination of all forms of economic, political and socio-cultural biases against the women folks in order to increase their participation in the development process of the society.
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