In celebrating the International Women’s Day, the President of Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative, Mrs. Otunba Osibogun, has said Nigerian women still have a battle ahead in challenging societal norms.
Osibogun disclosed this in a statement entitled ‘Challenging the Gender-Gap for Greater Socio-Economic Equality’ made available to Financial Street on Monday.
“Compared to some of its African counterparts such as Ghana, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, which all received a rating of 4, it is evident that the Nigerian woman still has a battle ahead in challenging societal norms to increase opportunities for all women across the nation,” she said.
Osibogun noted some of the reasons for gender gap in Nigeria to include traditional patriarchal beliefs, poor access to education and lack of supportive legislature.
“As a result, women face considerable barriers to achieving equal status with men in terms of property ownership, gainful employment, political power, health, financial services and credit.
“Also, Nigerian law has gaps that make it difficult for women to fully participate in the labour force. For example, the law does not prohibit discrimination in employment based on gender nor promote equal remuneration for work of equal value,” she maintained.
The remedy to close the gender gap is having more women at the top, the CAFEi president asserted.
Regardless of these barriers, she still sees hope, as Nigerian women continue to advance on the world and local stages.
“Trailblazers such as Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first African and female Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited; and Mrs. Chinyere Kalu, the first woman to fly an aircraft in Nigeria, have set the pace for other women to follow in achieving greatness,” she noted.
While legislative and political powers are required to put actions and other policies in place to help eradicate gender bias, she stressed, “The bulk of the work rests on the shoulders of every female and male who believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
“Gender equality is a human right and must start from childhood. It is important for all to know this and challenge anything in the opposite,” Osibogun added.