By Uche Bibilari
The Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mr Abayomi Sheba says gender inequality among others, remains key policy problem in accessing socio-economic and political opportunities in the country.
Sheba, who was represented by Mr Mohammed Tukur, Secretary to the Commission, stated this at a two-day workshop on “Gender Mainstreaming and National Gender Policy” on Wednesday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the workshop is: “Attaining Gender Inclusion in FCC and Other MDA’s.”
Sheba said that efforts at addressing the gender issues prompted the development of the National Gender Policy (NGP).
“The National Gender Policy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was developed at a watershed moment where government is recommitting itself to the implementation of national/international conventions and laws in support of gender equality, empowerment of women and women’s rights.
”The long-term goal of the NGP is to reduce inequities in the opportunities and outcome of socio-economic, political, cultural and legal developments for both men and women,” he said.
Sheba said the commission is one of the key institutions of government charged with the responsibility of mainstreaming gender with its principles aimed at ensuring fairness and equity.
He said the commission had been very proactive in terms of gender inclusion in the area of appointments.
He said the workshop was timely as the present administration was doing so much to ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of socio-economic amenities and infrastructural facilities, reducing fear of deprivation and marginalisation in the country.
Sheba urged participants to deliberate extensively and develop a set of guidelines that would integrate affirmative action on women’s representation within the Federal, States, Civil Service, Armed Forces, Police, other security agencies and all political appointment at national and state levels.
The Director, Socio-Economic and Infrastructural Department, FCC, Mr Dipo Akinsola said that the objective of the workshop was to strengthen management and leadership skills in creating gender policies.
He said the workshop would identify challenges as it relates to gender in recruitment and placement in various MDAs.
The facilitator of the workshop, a Development Professional, Ms Safiya Adamu said that gender is a socially acquired attribute resulting from cultural orientation, society and community laws.
She said gender was not about feminism but about being that individual, whether male or female that you choose to be.
She described gender mainstreaming as a specific strategy and steps taken to ensure gender equality and equity in the society.
According to her, it is an approach to policy making that takes into account interest and concerns of both sexes.
“Gender mainstreaming gives you a right to choose and a right frame of mind to make a choice.
“It is not about seeking equality; it is a long time developmental goal that seeks to make everyone reputable in the society.
“If you have 60 children that are of school age it does not matter, every one of these child should be in school.
“Gender mainstreaming seeks to say no one decides what a child wants to study: the child should have a full right of choice; the right to choose is very significant in gender equality and gender inequality is more pronounced in the education sector and it starts from the home,” she said.