Stakeholders calls for Equal Opportunities for Women
Gender mainstreaming is a process that ensures that women and men have equal access to opportunities, rewards, and society’s valued resources. Nigeria signed and ratified, without reservations, practically all international and regional instruments designed to guarantee the human rights of every citizen.
To this end, Defence Headquarters Gender Mainstreaming Conference 2023 was organised with the theme: “Building Capacity through Gender Mainstreaming to meet Security Challenges.”
Speaking at the occasion, the wife of the President Sen. Oluremi Tinubu ably represented by Hajia Hanna Shetima, the wife of the Vice President, expressed appreciation for the organisers of the event while commending the arm forces for accept gender mainstreaming.
Adding that the conference is the first of it kind and gender mainstreaming is crucial in our nation building especially in addressing security challenges.
Speaking on the Occasion, the Guest Lecture, Prof. Julie Sanda, Fellow, Centre for Strategic Studies and Gender, National Defence College, Abuja, said various bodies have come together to eliminate gender based discrimination in the society. Gender evolves socially constructed norms in relation to roles and responsibilities for males and females in the society.
According to her, gender equality is the absence of discrimination on the basis of sex in the allocation of resources, benefits or access to services.
Equality gives each person or group of people the same resources and opportunities.
Earlier in his presentation, Major General Emmanuel Ndagi, DRDB, Defence Headquarters Abuja, said, “Gender mainstreaming has become an increasingly important strategy for achieving gender equality in the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Initially, women participation in the military was limited to the medicals, administration, education and catering responsibilities. Gradually, this expanded to other areas except professional combat roles. Over time, some of these women have risen to the peak rank in their Services such as the first 2 Star General in the Nigerian Army; Maj Gen Aderonke Kale(rtd), a medical doctor who commanded the Nigerian Army Medical Corps (NAMC). Similarly, the Nigerian Navy had the first female Admiral, Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu (rtd), a highly renowned architect. However, in the Nigerian Air Force, the ceiling so far attained is the one-star rank with the first officer being Air Cdre Habiba Garba(rtd) an educationist and the first Commandant of the Air Force Girls Military School, Jos.”
“It was in 2011, with the admission of female cadets of 63rd Regular Combatant Course into the Nigerian Defence Academy that really indicated a paradigm shift in the roles of women in the Services and modest steps to attaining gender equality in the Armed Forces. On commissioning in 2016, most of these female regular officers were posted to various corps and staff branches in the Armed Forces that were hitherto restricted to male officers. Apparently, quite a number of these corps and staff branches are technologically driven. For instance, in the Nigerian Army quite a number of female officers were posted to the signals – communications, intelligence and engineer corps among others. Also, the Nigerian Navy had female officers posted as sea women, engineers and pilots. Equally, the Nigerian Air Force had female officers posted to train as combat pilots, communicators and engineers. The introduction of female cadets into the Nigeria Defence Academy no doubt created the enabling platform to fulfil the GPAFN as well as other regional and global resolutions for gender mainstreaming”. Ndagi said.
In his contribution, Prof. Tyoor Terhemba calls for sensitization and advocacy. According to him, “it has been an age long problem. we need a lots of sensitization and advocacy. The creation of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as a national machinery for mainstreaming gender Nigeria’s sustainable development agenda is a right step in the right direction. However, this should not be used as a token for the settlement of the female gender. It is important for all stakeholders to understand that gender mainstreaming cuts across all sectors of the economy.”
“I am therefore, looking forward to a day when Nigeria will produce a female Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria among the eminently qualified women in this country. I also look forward to a day when among our brilliant female lawyers, we shall have a female Attorney General of the Federation. I am also looking forward to a time when in view of the importance of gender mainstreaming in Nigeria’ s sustainable development, we shall have a Gender and Social Equities Commission with the powers to prosecute those who offend the national statutes, regional and international commitments on Gender Mainstreaming. I equally look forward to a time when in view of the robust mandate of the Women Affairs Ministry, it could be renamed the Federal Ministry of Gender and Social Development to clearly portray its mandate, and obliterate the notion of using the Women Affaits Ministry as a token for the female gender.
Prof. Tyoor also stressed that in line with the pillars of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 , particularly those of protection and participation, women need to be given ample opportunities to participate in every aspect of our governance process. Adding that there would be need to urgently increase the budgetary allocation of the Federal Ministry of Gender affairs to enable it cope with its enormous mandates. As the mothers of the nation, women need a pride of place in Nigeria. Also, the Ministry should be strengthened and empowered with inter- ministerial and inter- agency collaboration all matters affecting sustainable human development in Nigeria.” Prof. Tyoor said.
Highlights of the occasion includes award presentation to the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and other guests by General CG Musa OFR, Chief of Defence Staff, and Chief Host.