By Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu
The recent development in the polity regarding the controversy on the role of Nigerian women in leadership has generated various interests and thoughts to explore measures towards women emancipation. These concerns are borne out of necessity to facilitate an environment to breed transformational generation of women for a better Nigeria. The rationale behind the incorporation of women into the system is due to the fact that women constitute about 54% of the population of about 188,375,518 million people of Nigeria and their under utilization represents a functional challenge in modern leadership.
It is appalling that despite the immense contribution of the few privileged Nigerian women in economic growth and sustainable development, there still exist major prohibiting pressures limiting positive actions and total commitment from the women folk. Factors such as gender disparities, discrimination against women and girls, gender based violence and stereotypes in education and career are fundamental challenges militating against the course of women development. Elimination of some of these pervasive barriers is vital to enable women and girls realize their full potentials to actively engage in leadership.
Although government has instituted some ministries and agencies to address these constraints and many more, the predominant dysfunctional system suppresses effective management of the nation to accomplish this task. Powerful change therefore is required through a powerful movement. No wonder, women are more committed now to taking concrete actions both nationally and internationally as appropriate to eliminate every discrimination against them and accord a proper space to themselves in the society.
There are various relevant concepts aimed at offering constructive strategies towards unlocking the potentials of Nigeria women for proper integration into the process of national building. Training is an essential component in this regard for a quantum leap to enhance women capabilities to actively engage in the society and take control of their destiny.
Capacity building for women and girls through training and non-formal education is advocated to improve their opportunities to benefit from inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth and quality of life at home and in all spheres of the society. It is an applicable concept that has been considered to deliver a frame work to equip women with transformational competence including knowledge, skills, expertise and personality values. It is a critical component for women’s commitment and essentially advances and strengthens women reputation. Women capacity development enables full and effective participation in all aspects of peace building continuum from conflict prevention to resolution and ultimately reconciliation with a view to contributing to the implementation of Agenda 2030 and all its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Exploring the potentials and the role of women in today’s socio-political context and their vulnerability to dangers is a recurring phenomenon. It is significant to note that women are among the worst hit by conflicts. About 80%of the civilian casualties, refugees and internally displaced persons globally are women and children. It is therefore empirical to incorporate women as mediators in conflict management to introduce alternative perspective to conflict prevention. It also reinforces their positive contribution in post conflict reconstruction and peace consolidation as women are natural peace makers and more pacific than men.
It is time to confront this endemic trait of marginalization of women in Nigeria which is perpetuating poverty and preventing the fulfillment of Africa’s potential as a whole. Supportive initiatives should be encouraged to boost campaigns for social, economical and political rights. Efforts should be made towards promoting public services that respond to women’s need, ensure women’s access to economic opportunities and build women’s engagement in decision-making process. These are essentials if we are determined to achieve global economic growth and sustainable development most especially in Nigeria.