by Onilemarun Kareem
Nigerian women have proved to be more than mere bench-warming spectator even in the midst – of the male-dominated professional congregation.
Women are at the heart of development as they control most of the non monetary economy (subsistence, agriculture, bearing children, domestic labour etc.) and play an important role in the monetary economy (trading, wage labour, employment, etc (Yawa, 1995). Everywhere in the world, women work both around the home and outside the home. The most topical issue in international developmental programme is women. The report of the Secretary-General on the review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, submitted to the 49th session of the Commission in 2005, noted that the status and role of women has undergone a significant change over the past ten years, although not at an equal pace in all regions.
Achievements noted included increased awareness, policy reforms, improved legislative frameworks, and institutional development at the national level in many countries. Positive developments include the establishment of national policies and strategies for gender equality; adherence to international and regional instruments for the protection of the human rights of women; increased diversity in the mechanisms promoting and monitoring attention to gender equality; attention to resource allocations through gender-sensitive budgeting; the recognition of the critical role played by NGOs in awareness-raising, advocacy, monitoring and programme delivery; and efforts to engage men and boys more actively in the promotion of gender equity. This strong waves has passed down to Nigeria.
On national ground, Nigerian women have proved to be more than mere bench-warming spectator even in the midst – of the male-dominated professional congregation. If given the chance, women can effectively participate in policy making and governance, they can hold their own in very difficult and stressful situations and can do as well, if not better, than men. This same ‘chance’is a rare but crucial opportunity which senator Bukola Saraki created for women in Kwara during his terms as governor; assuring them strong, relevant and purposeful attention, having understood their import in developing the society. Interventions that created an enabling atmosphere for women in development at different levels of social heirachy was created with incessant support; this took place during senator Bukola Saraki’s terms as governor through important schemes designed to get women involved in development. importantly, the administration created more opportunities for women to occupy crucial offices in the state such as head of ministries, parastaters and boards, permanent secretary to ministries, special advisers and assistants to the government among many others. With clear evidences, Dr Bukola Saraki’s administration produced 3 female commissioners and 4 female commissioners in 2007 respectively, a female minister from Kwara- Halima Tayo Alao to mention a few. concomitantly, the office of her excellency, Barrister Toyin Saraki as first lady also channeled much effort in ameliorating involvement of women in communal activities through well organized events designed to motivate, orientate and inspire women about their roles and relevance to the society. The administration’s entire policies on industrialization, food and agriculture, education, health, communication, science and technology and social development involved women.
The enabling environment for gender equality and women’s empowerment is a noticeable development during Dr Bukola Saraki as governor- this he extended to Bagega women when he empowered them on coorperative system during his visit to Bagega as chairman of senate on ecology and environment. This milestone has created a grwoing confidence in the minds of the female gender in Kwara, transmutting them from the former which relegated women’s relevance to communal development processes. It is important to note that giant growth requires giant effort, and giant effort comes through collaboration, collaboration from all irrespective of the age, gender, ethnic or religious differences; thus, involving women in social order accelerates development and balance as evident in Kwara, such equality should be embraced by other leadership at all levels in order to create significant balance and experience accelerated growth in a society.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.