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Why Nigeria, Africa need to empower women – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said Africa in general and Nigeria specifically needs to empower women because it is an existential issue.

He also said holding women down means holding down the African continent.

Osinbajo was quoted to have said this in a keynote address at a webinar organized by Women In Africa in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day, on Monday.

This was contained in a statement titled, “Empowering Women is existential for Nigeria, Africa-Africa-Osinbajo,” signed by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Laolu Akande, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The statement said, the Vice President who anchored his contributions on the theme of the 2021 celebrations ‘Choose to challenge’, the Vice President noted that “a child of a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to live past the age of 5. Each additional school year increases a woman’s earnings by 20 per cent, 2/3 less maternal deaths if mothers finish primary school.

“If we hold down half of the productive segment of our nation on account of culture or other frankly outdated considerations, we are much poorer and much more deprived as a whole. We do ourselves a favour by ensuring social and legal equality of women,” he added.

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Speaking on correcting stereotypes against women in Africa and other developing societies, the Vice President said, “for many generations, women have fought these manifestations of gender inequality. Over time the struggle has been refined to the level of a right to gender equality”.

Explaining further, he said that “the notion that women and men should have the same legal, social and political rights is the public law basis for Feminism. But something has changed in the past few years.” Highlighting the gains of improving women participation in governance and other aspects of society, the Vice President said “women are now saying that the fight for gender equality is not for women and girls alone, it is also a fight for all fair-minded and just men who believe that men and women must have equal rights.”

Describing the reinvigorated campaign for gender equality as the greatest leap of development in contemporary history, Osinbajo said, “the campaign is much more important in shaping the future. Men are now being challenged to stand shoulder to shoulder with women in the struggle for gender equality.

“They are learning that insisting on equal rights for women is an imperative of justice and fairness, an entitlement, a debt owed to women and girls, not a gift.”

The Vice President also advocated a change not just in the laws but in mindsets and conventions in order for the continent to achieve a more gender-inclusive world

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