Thursday, March 24, 2016

#Op-Ed: Why the Fuss about Gender Equality? by Laz Ude Eze (@donlaz4u)

Seven years ago while on call duty at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, I had a female patient

referred from a general hospital on account of poor progress of labour. The labour had lasted for more

than 12 hours and we observed signs of obstruction on examination. The woman was weak and the

baby was in distress; a decision of assisted delivery through caesarian section was reached. After

counselling, the woman verbally agreed but the written consent was to be given by the husband. Yes,

you read me right – the husband. The man had a different opinion, his pastor had “prophesied that his

wife would deliver like a Hebrew woman”; so he declined consent. He later bowed to pressure after

hours of marathon counselling and signed the consent form. The operation was successful, but the baby

had signs of brain damage. During post natal care, the woman had started leaking urine from her vagina

(known as vesico-vaginal fistula – VVF). She would have to go through another surgery to repair her

leaking bladder. The baby was at risk of having cerebral palsy which is usually associated with

suboptimal motor function and low intellectual capacity. This pathetic incident can only occur in a

society like ours where women are denied the right to make informed decisions on matters concerning

their body and their health. 

It is no longer news that a week after the celebration of International Women’s Day, the Nigerian Senate

rejected a proposed legislation that seeks to promote equal rights and opportunities for women. The

official title of the bill was “A bill for an Act to Incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United

Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the

Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa, and

other matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB. 116)”. This decision of the Senate has received knocks

from well-meaning and informed Nigerians. Is it not ironic and hypocritical that the senate refused to

approve a bill drawn from international conventions which the country had signed and agreed to? Is it

not vexatious and insensitive that this happened while Nigerian women are discussing how to guarantee

rights and welfare of women globally at the ongoing meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of

Women in New York? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The 2016 International Women's Day by @MrSholler #IWD2016

The country today joins the rest of the world in observing the 2016 International Women's Day, but observers say much remains to be done to ensure women are finally playing on a level playing field with their male compatriots.

This year’s theme, ‘Pledge for Parity’ is a call to action for accelerating gender parity because the World Economic Forum predicted in 2015 that the gender gap would not close entirely until 2133, for instance, about 117 years from now.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women is gaining grounds worldwide. There are more women Heads of State or Government than ever, and the highest proportion of women serving as Government ministers and top positions. Women are exercising even greater influence in business. More girls are being enrolled to schools and are growing up equipped with accurate information about their sexual reproductive health and rights, making informed choices and better equipped (with opportunities) to realize their potentials.

Despite this momentum, there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that is their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being. Violence against women and girls persists. Why are we still tolerating a world where the gap is not only one of gender but one of leadership when it comes to women’s rights.
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