UN Women and Partners Collaborate to Address Gender Issues
Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja
The United Nations Women and Nigeria’s Ministry of Women Affairs have launched the Quarterly Zonal Coordination Mechanism Meeting for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for states in Nigeria’s North-Central region.
The meeting aims to bring together principal officers and selected representatives of coordination mechanisms to share, discuss, and drive accountability and investment for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) in Nigeria.
Speaking at the lunch in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, UN Women Representative to Nigeria & ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong said that improving gender mainstreaming should be the priority of everyone.
@BeatriceEyong noted that women should be relentless despite challenges. Quoting Nigeria’s literary legend, Chinua Achebe, she said, ‘If the hunter shoots without ceasing, the bird will fly without perching’.#GenderCoordinationCounts#ZonalCooridnationNg pic.twitter.com/zwXH3ktfim
— UN Women Nigeria (@unwomenNG) September 1, 2023
“We have noticed that while we have made significant progress on the normative and operational mandates, we need to do much more with the coordination mandate, especially with multiple partners at national and subnational levels working with the federal and state ministries and their sister agencies to create dedicated institutional arrangements like this platform to improve gender mainstreaming in program and policies, budgets to ensure that there is coherence in setting priorities and targets, systematically working for results and outcomes and communicated them in a way that helps us see the changes we are making In terms of design and structure, the platform will be used to bring together principal officers of the state ministries of women affairs and women development centre with representatives of coordination mechanisms working on various thematic areas within gender equality and women’s empowerment”. Eyong said
On her part, the Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Mrs Monilola Udoh, commended the UN Women for coming up with such an idea that has the potential to enable Nigeria to achieve the UN Agenda 2030 especially as it relates to gender equality and women empowerment. , emphasized a unified coordinated mechanism that can provide stakeholders with the platform to ensure adequate planning on issues affecting women. “Dear stakeholders, if we are truly committed to the advancement of the course of Nigerian women and girls, without doubt, we should all be excited to work centrally towards achieving that common goal. This is because, having a coordinated mechanism will provide opportunities to learn from one another, harness ideas from a wider range of stakeholders for the implementation of any set project or intervention, ensure easy collation and production of the country’s periodic reports, generate and implement policies”.
Mrs. Udo further highlights some of the efforts made by the Ministry to promote gender quality. “ In an effort to strengthen coordination amongst stakeholders towards promoting gender equality and holistic women empowerment, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has been able to do the following amongst others: Establishment of the zonal women political empowerment offices – designed to assist and guide women within the communities in their political career, the establishment of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund -which serves as a fund basket for assisting female political candidates in their quest for elective positions, Establishment of the hundred women lobby groups – which is an initiative that brings together a group of 100 women each at various locations who lobby for more political opportunities for women, and Reviewed Nigeria’s National Gender Policy (2021 – 2026) which has earmarked 50% affirmative action participation of women in both politics and other spheres, amongst others”. She highlighted
On her part, the Director General of Maryam Babangida Centre for Women Development, Mrs. Asabe Vilita-Bashir, is optimistic that collective efforts being made will foster an environment for women to reach their full potential. “Our collaborative efforts, be it in policy formulation, implementation, or capacity-building programmes, have the power to transform lives. By promoting gender equality, we not only empower women but also create a stronger, more resilient society that benefits everyone. Looking at our ongoing collaboration at the Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development with the UN Women in driving the women’s political participation Resources Centres and others, I am confident that our collective efforts will continue to create meaningful change, fostering an environment where women are empowered to reach their full potential. Together, let us write a story of progress, inclusivity, and hope for the generations to come”. She noted
The quarterly coordination platform which will be convened every quarter across the six geopolitical zones will provide opportunities to review Zonal GEWE priorities, programmes, coordination, investments, concerns and challenges, build the capacity of participants on relevant global and national standards, and relevant thematic areas including gender budgeting, statistics and undertake advocacy on common GEWE issues.
The meeting drew women across the six geopolitical zones to Nigeria’s capital city Abuja