..advocates more gender friendly policies for women
The First Lady of Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has berated the Nigeria unfavourable socio-political system to the welfare and protection of women and girls.
According to her, the above assertion was evident in the numerous bad effects of COVID-19 on Nigerian women and girls, which included increased cases of sexual and gender based violence, severe increase in maternal mental health issues, lack of access to reproductive health services, and loss of means of livelihood.
The wife of Ondo state governor said this in her remarks at an international conference on ‘Gender Equality and Sustainable Development in Africa under COVID-19 Era’, organised by Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, virtually.
Her words: “The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond the health crisis. The entire global environment has responded to the pandemic in one way or the other.
“However, COVID-19 has shown that it is gender sensitive and remains an arrested
development to humanity. The impact of crisis has always been heavy on women
and girls and COVID-19 was no exception. While more men died from COVID-
19, a lot more women were forced into socio-economic disasters.
“This crisis also increased discouragement among girls and young women, clouded
their hopes of success with heightened pressure from their parents to drop out of
school, enter the labor market or get married.
“With these ugly impacts of the pandemic on women and girls, I expect that more
gender friendly policies and programmes will be put in place to help alleviate the
struggles of the women in Nigeria as well as measure towards gender mainstreaming and equality”.
Mrs Akeredolu informed the conference of her gender friendly initiatives in Ondo state through which she reached out to women and cushioned the effects of COVID-19 on them.
Some of these empowerment programmes include, distribution of palliatives under Ondo Widow’s Care initiative where over 23,000 women benefited; establishment of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Centre with toll free numbers.
Also, to protect girls against sexual harrassment and molestation, the Ondo First Lady launched the SGBV Yellow Card initiative and commenced training of school Counsellors across the state on how to respond to such cases.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to death, rape, sexual exploitation and turned some
Nigerian women into widows. It has also weakened the economic power of women
and has further proven that the Nigeria socio-political system is unfavourable to
the welfare and protection of women and girls.
“Critically, the insecurity of women as found by several studies reveals that there
are numerous cases of human rights violation, loss of livelihood, jobs, murder,
humiliation and gender disparities are recurrent threat to women under the
COVID-19 era in Nigeria.
Special Assistant, Media.