CSO Demands Passage of Gender Bill

CSO Demands Passage of Gender Bill

…Lauds Women’s Role in Management of COVID-19 …AfDB Gives $3 Million Grant to Women SMEs A civil society organization, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has demanded passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, in order to eradicate all forms of discriminations against women in the country. This is coming amidst the encomiums showered

…Lauds Women’s Role in Management of COVID-19

…AfDB Gives $3 Million Grant to Women SMEs

A civil society organization, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has demanded passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, in order to eradicate all forms of discriminations against women in the country. This is coming amidst the encomiums showered on women leadership by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), which says they have played a pivotal role in the management of COVID-19

CTA Executive Director, Ms Faith Nwadishi who stated this at an event on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the passage of the bill into law by the National Assembly was important to give women equal opportunities to actively participate in politics.

“We strongly call on the National Assembly to expeditiously pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill into law.

“This is long overdue. In passing this law, the National Assembly should not see it as a token to women and girls but should ensure that the basic rights of women and girls are protected,“ she said.

Nwadishi also called for the full implementation of the Nigerian Gender Policy and the 35 percent affirmation.

“Again, this is not a favour to women but a right that is sacrosanct and the right thing to do.

“The lopsided policies trample upon the opportunities to rise to the apex of their professions.

“No woman has ever been appointed a Service Chief or the Inspector-General of Police, or to head the DSS and other paramilitary agencies.

“The extractive industry is another sector where women are so marginalized and, therefore, make less impact as they are systematically shut out of the extractive resources,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) said that notwithstanding the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, women have remained resilient as they continue to play pivotal roles in societies.

It notes that in terms of leadership, evidence abounds that even in the context of COVID-19, countries led by women were able to put forward strategies to limit the pandemic’s devastating impacts.

The CDD pointed out that women have continued to demonstrate their capacities in various sectors such as education, health, business and technological innovation.

Executive Director of CDD, Ms Idayat Hassan, in a statement in Abuja, said the centre “uses this moment to celebrate great women achievers who shattered glass ceilings and made history.

“Worthy of note is the beautiful story of Kamala Harris, who defied the odds last November to emerge as the first female Vice President of the United States.

“Another instructive story would be found in the emergence of our own Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It is an important lesson of inclusion that while Harris is also the first Asian and African to be Vice President in the United States, Okonjo Iweala is the first African to lead the WTO.”

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s celebration: “Women in leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World,” as well as the achievements by some women in their chosen areas of endeavour, Hassan said, “We have, therefore, deemed it important to focus on encouraging women and girls around the globe to collectively organize to bring about the change they want to see”.

Furthermore, the CDD said it would use this year’s commemoration of the International Women’s Day to encourage women and girls in Nigeria and West Africa to #ChooseToChallenge and make a positive impact in every aspect of their lives and that of others.

So, to address the challenges, that hold women back and limit their potentials, CDD calls on stakeholders to work in concert to address gender inequalities by deepening women’s participation in politics, economy, education, health and other critical sectors in society.

“With the #ChooseToChallenge mantra, CDD would strengthen its interventions to promote and protect the rights of women and girls.

“We must #ChooseToChallenge barriers in governance, political and economic systems, which prevent women from achieving their true potentials”. She said.

The CDD said it is convinced that these amazing stories point to the possibilities of an inclusive future anchored on gender parity and women’s participation in decision-making in the local, national and international arena.

It said despite the myriads of challenges ranging from entrenched patriarchal systems, marginalization in decision making, the pandemic of rape and gender violence, women can still defy the odds to shine alongside the other gender.

But the centre argues that nevertheless, that societies would derive more benefits from opening up political and economic spaces for women to play their roles in the quest for a better world beyond the inspiring stories of a few women who overcome many challenges to get to the peak.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, and to mark the rollout of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Guarantee for Growth program, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Guarantee Fund are showcasing the first beneficiaries of the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program, an innovation aiming to unlock up to $3 billion in loans to women-led small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

The beneficiaries took part in an online panel event, co-organized by AFAWA and the African Guarantee Fund on Monday 8 March, 2021. Under the theme, “Women Entrepreneurs: Key Drivers of Economic Growth,” the virtual session centers on how the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program works with financial institutions to address the financial and non-financial needs of African women entrepreneurs, by offering access to finance, providing technical assistance and create an enabling environment to promote policy changes and regulatory reforms.

“The African Development Bank has mobilized its resources, and the support of its global partners, in what is to date, our most ambitious effort ever to change the landscape on access to finance for African women entrepreneurs,” said Vanessa Moungar, the Bank’s Director for Women, Gender and Civil Society.

The first participants in the program include; Catherine Mumbua Wanjoya, the founder of a company manufacturing biodegradable and affordable sanitary towels, and waste incinerators; Terry Mungai, the CEO of a beauty and hair care franchise institution; Mbuaya Kalenga Mdhy, who heads a semi-industrial sewing company; and hotelier Bijour Esther Monga Ilunga Kazadi.

The AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program targets financial institutions to increase their appetite to lend to women who are known to be better payers, and who reinvest up to 90% of their income in the education, health and nutrition of their family and community.

The program de-risks women entrepreneurs and enhances financial institutions’ appetite in lending to SMEs. Supported by the Group of Seven (G7) countries as well as the Netherlands and Sweden, the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program is implemented in collaboration with the African Guarantee Fund, which works to facilitate access to finance for SMEs in Africa.

“We have realized when talking to financial institutions that they don’t see AFAWA as a favour that we are doing to women. It is a huge business opportunity to tap into a customer segment that has not been explored before,” said Jules Ngankam, chief executive officer of the African Guarantee Fund.

Ms Esther Dassanou, manager of AFAWA said financial institutions in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are signing on to the program, which could be a game changer across the continent.

“The AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program is different and innovative from what is on the market, in the sense that it tackles all the major challenges that women entrepreneurs face in accessing financing and growing their business at the same time,” Dassanou said.



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