By Chioma Obinna
As the world commemorates the 2020 International Youth Day, IYD, with the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, the Mothers and Marginalised Advocacy Centre, MAMA Centre, has stressed the importance of inclusive participation for young women in political and socio-economic realms.
MAMA Centre, commending the recent development encouraging youth political participation in Nigeria, expressed concern over the lingering policies and socio-cultural norms militating against adequate and equal participation of women in both public and private spheres in Nigeria.
In a statement to mark the day, the Executive Director, MAMA Centre, Ola Onyegbula, said they were worried over the existing gender gaps in political structures and processes, including low numbers of young women in political party decision-making structures including their involvement in household, community and political spheres.
The statement noted that “this includes the established disparity in employment generation and small scale business schemes and other empowerment supports, which remain unfavourable and inaccessible to young women in Nigeria.
“We are disturbed that despite all efforts to secure equal opportunity and development advancement for all Nigerian citizens, irrespective of gender through the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, the legislative framework has continued to witness deliberate setback in the National Assembly.
“This hampers the nation’s progress in safeguarding girls’ access to education, freedom for women to participate in any economic activity and their right to freedom from violence.
“We are not unaware of the emerging challenges brewed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has rendered many young women financially incapacitated, as necessitated actions of some businesses that massively sacked, demoted and even extorted personnel, mostly women, of employment benefits in guise of unfair measures to ease financial impacts of Covid-19 in businesses.
“This is in addition to occasional abuses and harassments reportedly imposed by the pandemic on young women across the county.”
Onyegbula reiterated the need for prompt presidential assent into and full implementation of Sexual Harassment Bill to safeguard women and girls from years of traumatic and injury-inflicted.
She also applauded the ongoing development in some state Houses of Assembly for the adoption and passage of Violence Against Person Prohibition Bill and other introduced piece of legislation aimed at combating abuses and harassment of women across the states.