By Justina Auta
HEIR Women Hub, an NGO, has engaged 40 young FCT women on leadership and civic knowledge enhancement to tackle gender gaps in governance.
Aniebo Ola-Olaniyi, Executive Director, HEIR Women Hub, made this known in a virtual conference on Saturday.
Ola-Olaniyi emphasised the need for young women to have vast knowledge in every sphere to enable them take leadership roles in the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is “Advancing Leadership Capacity of Young Women: A cross-generational strategy to tackling Gender Gaps in Governance”.
She stressed the need for young women to do more and thrive amidst societal norms, while expressing hope for positive impact on the project and expectations afterward.
Ola-Olaniyi revealed that global percentage of women’s participation in leadership was at 22.5 per cent and that of the African region recorded around 23.4 per cent.
She added that the national average of women’s participation in governance in Nigeria was 6.7 per cent
She said this in spite of women accounting for 49.4 per cent of the total population with the mean age of women involved in political processes set at 55years.
According to her, only 381 out of the 4,259 contestants for the presidential and the national assembly seat in the 2023 elections were women.
She blamed the wide gender gap on female participation in leadership on lack of support based on cultural expectations of young women.
“Others are sexual harassment, gender discrimination, lack of support for female leader, traditional perceived gender roles among others and the lack of economic resources.
“The report from the world gender gap report 2022 places Nigeria at 123rd with a score of 0.639 out of a total of 146 countries with a gender gap of 63.9 per cent.
“Statistics from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) revealed that only 30 per cent of companies in Nigeria have attained gender balance in the workforce and women account for 33 per cent of the workforce.
“Nigeria has less than 65 per cent wealth equality , ranked 50th in economic participation and opportunity, 134th in educational attainment, 97th in health and survival, and 141st in political empowerment,” she said.
According to the executive director, the involvement of women in nation-building is an inalienable right, as well as an inescapable reality for holistic and comprehensive political, economic, and social advancement.
“When young women are included in leadership across different levels, it will promote productivity and progress for both the women and the country.
“There will be a decline in the cases of gender-based violence confronting young women as more responsive policies will be promoted and this will encourage the growth of GDP of the country,” she said.
According to her, it does not end with training young women to take on more leadership positions in society.
“HEIR Women Hub went a step further by engaging young women and the general public first on their civic rights and also on the benefit of having young women in leadership.
“About 50 per cent of the young ladies who were at the leadership training came out for this purpose and it was an experience indeed.
“A lot of feedback has been drawn from this engagement and we believe that henceforth, it will go beyond taking as we shall begin to see results.
“It is cheering things to see young women from different climes unite for a common goal, “she said.
Ms Juliet Isi-Ikhayere, Principal Partner at MAKHOMS-J Attorneys, said that there were numerous challenges faced by young women in politics and encouraged the participants on how to thrive in political space.
Also, Sylvia Sarki, National Youth Coordinator, National Council for Women Societies, encouraged women to engage in politics and not bow to pressure or give up on their ambition irrespective of the challenges they face. (NAN)