As criticisms trail the recent controversial rejection of the five gender bills by the National Assembly members, women have been encouraged “not to relent and agonize but organize and intensify” the struggle for inclusion in national development.
The Director General Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies ( MINILS ) Comrade Issa Aremu made this observation during the 2022 International Women Day ( IWD ) activities, at the Institute in Ilorin on Wednesday. 2022 International Women Day ( IWD) was the first of such manifestation at the Institute jointly organized development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), based in Abuja.
The Director General commended both the Federal and Kwara states government for the various empowerment programmes but added that “there is still a long road to women inclusion in Nigeria” citing the rejected five gender bills during the Constitution amendment “ as an avoidable set- back.”
While commending the House of Representatives for the promise to relook at the rejected gender bills in the interest of nation- building, Comrade Aremu observed that “women issues are human and National development issues” that must be of concerns to all stakeholders.
“ Women issues are human, developmental issues. Inclusion of women in nation building means harnessing the abundant energies of the other half, (100 million women in Nigeria for development) . It means getting a new perspective to the war against corruption, for Diversification of the economy, job creations and poverty eradication” he said.
According to him, Nigeria and Nigerians are the beneficiaries of women inclusion in governance adding that the gender narrative must be in the direction of solidarity and partnership as envisaged by 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations to which Nigeria is signatory. “ What is at stake is not men against women in the race for sharing the spoils of offices. On the contrary. It’s should be an alliance and partnership between genders, between young and old, between political parties for repositioning Nigeria”.
The Director General who also disclosed an inauguration of a new Women in MINILS (WIM) committee said the platform would drive the agenda of women inclusion in all statutory activities of Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) for effective service delivery. He also announced the establishment of crèches and day care for working parents at the Institute.
Earlier in her speech at the occasion, the Kwara State Commissioner for Business, Innovation, and Technology, Hajiya Arinola Lawal disclosed that in Kwara state, is the only state with 50% representation in governance. The commissioner assured that the journey will continue to get better for women in the state. The global theme for this year’s International women’s day celebration is BREAKING THE BIAS. However both MINILS and Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) adopted a working theme of Formalizing and Enhancing Women Support Services in Informal tailoring, bag making and General trading Sectors. While taking a historical perspective on informal sector and the position of women, Professor Abikoye Christiana of the University of Ilorin said that women in the informal sector continues to contribute significantly to national development as they constitute over 50% of national businesses in all sectors of the economy but have lower access to financial support that would improve their contribution to the nation’s economy. Some of the recommendations at the celebration include simplified registration process for women Informal Sector Workers, credit facilities for small businesses, Tax incentives and social insurance/ protection coverage
to women in informal sectors.