Gender equality, a prerequisite for national growth strategy- Permanent Secretary

Hikmat Gbamigboye, Abuja

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Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, has said that promoting gender equality enhances the efficiency of public investments and is equally a prerequisite for national growth and sustainable development.


Mrs Walson-Jack said gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty, improving health and living standards.


She made the statement when she paid a courtesy visit to the Country Representative, UN Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Beatrice Eyong, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.


The visit was to seek the Agency’s collaboration and support to host a 3-day workshop on “The Development of Implementation Guidelines and Action Plan on the Gender Mainstreaming Policy for the Water Sector and its implementation in Nigeria.”


She emphasized that gender inequality significantly contributes to the failure of sustainable management of water resources programmes and projects at all levels and in all sub-sectors in Nigeria.


The Permanent Secretary also said that the Gender Mainstreaming Policy in the Water Sector takes into cognizance the key provisions of the National Gender Policy and seeks to address existing barriers that hinders the equal participation of women and men in accessing clean water, Sanitation and hygiene, as well as climate change management and control.


“The Policy outcome of the workshop would be subject to endorsement by the National Council on Water Resources. This is a pre-requisite for its consideration and subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for implementation in the Water Sector of Nigeria” 


“The overarching objective is to maximize the potential of all the existing policies, programs and projects to drive inclusive growth and sustainable socio-economic development by paying special attention to the needs of women, men, youth, person’s living with disabilities and the elderly in the delivery of Water Sector Services”. 

In her response, the Country representative of the UN Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Beatrice Eyong, said that “water resources management is a very important subject to the UN as the fullness became paramount during the covid-19 pandemic”, she said.


Eyong said that one of the UN’s mandates is ‘Gender Mainstreaming’.


“It is also the mandate if the UN Women as it was created by member states because they wanted this kind of gender mainstreaming, they wanted effective sustainable development and they wanted efficiency on what we do and obviously, all of us have our common 17 goals which are the SDG’s”, she added.


She also explained that the UN Women have been given the mandate to promote gender equality and women empowerment adding that under the Economic Empowerment of Women, statistics have shown that when resources are in the hands of women, there is a change that starts with the woman and trickles down to the community and the society at large and that is why it becomes pertinent that women participate, lead and benefit in public life.


Explaining the need for gender mainstreaming, Eyong said that there is apparently no enterprise that strive without water and a woman’s special need is water and this should be taken into cognizance.


“Water is very important to climate-smart agriculture, especially now that we have to be mitigating the risks of climate change and the need to help our women to be resilient to the effects of climate change”, she explained


Eyong, who confirmed the UN women’s readiness in carrying out the proposed workshop said that the UN’s three mandates are Coordination mandate, Normative mandate and Operational mandate and that the agency is poised towards making empowerment a reality from the Federal level down to the Local government through implementation of programs.

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