The First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has urged the National Body of the International Inner Wheel club in Nigeria to do more in the area of protecting the rights of women and the girl child in the country.
Mrs. Fayemi, who noted that the organisation has been trying its best on gender issues, however, said the situation of women in terms of empowerment and enjoying other rights as men in the country is still discouraging. She therefore urged the Inner Wheel and other stakeholders to do more on gender issues.
She made these remarks on Friday while being presented an award in recognition of her role in advancing the rights of women and girls all over the world , by the Inner Wheel Nigeria led by the National Secretary Mrs. Olawumi Oladimeji in her office in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
She said: ” Great Inner Wheel members, we need to Level Up, we need to move to the next level. You have been doing the same thing for the past thirty something years. You have increased the levels at which you are working, the intensity and your reach. That you have done, but the issues still remain the same.
“Poverty, discrimination, exclusion, lack of voice for women, and a lot of the interventions you are making are addressing the symptoms of those issues, not the root causes. That is why 30 years from now all women’s organizations we are still going to be working on the same issues.”
” The charge I am giving Inner Wheel Nigeria as an organization is that you should now focus on the structures and processes that make it possible for women to continue to experience discrimination. For us to continue to be working on the same issues 30 years after the fact,” said Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
Speaking further, Erelu Fayemi said the Club should also help in pressurising the government to enact laws to protect women from violence.
She explained that apart from Ekiti State there is no other State in the South-West that has domesticated the National Gender Policy.
She said: “Nigeria has had a National Gender Policy since 2005, it was revised in 2015, and the idea is that all the states in the Federation are supposed to domesticate the National Gender Policy. The Gender National Policy is what provides the governments, Federal and States the direction in how to invest in economic empowerment for women, in agriculture, in micro enterprise development, addressing issues around personal safety, violence, and women’s political participation, to mention a few.”
“I will like you to do is to ensure that all the States in the South West domesticate the National Gender Policy. There are many women’s rights organizations and consultants who can work with you in your different States to make sure that it is done.” She gave this as her primary charge to the Inner Wheel members.
“We need to press our government and insist that they provide an enabling environment for women to grow and develop. And that enabling environment includes providing laws, ensuring there are policies in place, ensuring that there are institutions or structures in place,” she said in closing her remarks.