*Stand for loyalty, honesty and integrity – Ramatu Aliyu
Mr Kurt Cornelis, Head of Development Cooperation, European Union (EU) Development in Nigeria, said on that the organisation had helped 300,000 girls to get secondary education in the last 10 years.
Cornelis disclosed this at the seminar organised for head teachers by the Female Advocacy Mentoring Empowerment (FAME) Foundation, on the occasion to mark the International Women’s day in Abuja.
According to him, the gesture is aimed at helping the girls become active and engaged citizens later in life so as to expand their choices and reduce the possibility of early marriage.
“When 10 per cent more girls go to a school, the country increases its GDP by three per cent; girls invest 90 per cent of their income back into their families compared with 30-40 per cent by men.
“Numbers speak loud on the positive impact of educating girls anywhere in the world. We also support UN women in a programme “promoting women’s engagement in peace and security in Northern Nigeria because we believe that women’s role is key in solving conflict in making peace last and maintain security.
“We know that when women are included in peace processes there is a 35 per cent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years,’’ he said.
Cornelis said there was need to make sure that more women actively participate in peace processes and that women’s right and specifications were taken into account in transitioning from conflict toward peace and stability.
The EU, he also said contributed to the promotion of the convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in Nigeria, especially the provisions relating to gender-based violence and discriminatory practices.
According to him the EU hoped to see the Gender Equality Bill discussed and approved in 2017 and promised to become bolder in actions supporting gender equality.
He said the 2016-2020 EU Gender plans, focused on assisting women and girls across the world, who were excluded from education, health and political life among others while facing discriminatory roles.
In fulfilling this objective in Nigeria, the EU, he said would undertake a Gender Analysis that would assess the cause for gender inequalities in Nigeria and its general implications on human rights.
He added that the EU would also involve gender-sensitive development response strategies so that it could incorporate those as zero objectives in themselves as well as through all EU’s interventions in other sectors.
Empowerment of women was not only a legal necessity but also key to development; thus to achieve gender equality in Nigeria, the Federal Government’s work alone would not suffice.
He said everyone had a role to play, adding that EU stood ready to play its role hoping to see many Nigerians partnering for more equal world.
Dr Ramatu Aliyu, National Women Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC) said that the female head teachers had a great role to play in educating female students to stand bold and strong in the society.
According to Aliyu, the World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2086 which are too long to wait.
She said by 2016, fewer than half of the countries in the world had achieved the goal of gender parity in both primary and secondary education.
Aliyu advised women to be bold and not allow the ‘Pull her Down Syndrome’ to take away what belongs to them; they should stand for loyalty, honesty and integrity.
Mrs Aderonke Bello, Founder FAME Foundation, said the event was aimed at recognizing the sacrifices of teachers and empowering to take their place in nation building.
Bello said the seminar would equip and release women into the society to be better persons and ask for their rights in politics among other spheres.