#IWD: Why It is Time To Make It Happen For Women (Articles)

Today marks the celebration of Women’s Day globally.

To celebrate this year’s International women Day, Rural Reporters shares some of its top picks must-read in-depth articles to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

Here are the top 10 articles to read:

 

From Rural Reporters

 

LACK OF FUNDS, NOT SKILLS, HINDER WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN RURAL AFRICA

 Rural reporters caught up her and asked her on her work on women empowerment in rural communities and here is what she has to say:

From your experience (s) what are some of the challenges faced by these women and how can these problems be addressed?

Tosin: Our work with vulnerable women began some 2 years ago when we realised the need to empower women, especially mothers of sponsored children. At our resource centre, we organise skill acquisition training program for women, thus far we have trained about 60 women in soap making skills, art of machine knitting, bead making, interior decorations and computer skills. From my experience, I realised that the major challenge faced by these women in rural area is not lack of skills nor ability, but poor access to funding. Government truly need to come up with loan schemes for women in under developed communities. It would help build a stronger family, a stronger nation. It would foster business growth and development because when you invest in a woman, she feeds herself, her family, her community and her nation. Women need every support and it would not be a bad idea if every local government area operates loan scheme for entrepreneur women.

Winfred Osimbo Lichuma Speaks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Kenya 

‘Despite Kenya having a clear framework set within Sexual Offences Act of 2006, it has not yielded in many prosecutions for a number of reasons. Firstly, the poor state of knowledge of the law thus ignorance has contributed a lot to non-reporting. The police in some cases have intimated victims when they report. The gender desks that had been set up at police stations are not fully managed by competent trained female officers as had been anticipated. Police have failed to quickly respond to the reports compromising the preservation of the evidence. Police in short are slow in responding to reported cases of abuse. At times criminals buy their way out because of corruption. However in some cases family reconciliations compromise prosecutions since the matters are withdrawn on compromise of using cultural structures that at headed by male community leaders and are compromised. Cases of child survivors are highly compromised by parents, guardians or communities.’

We Want to Be Empowered –Bagega Women

Bagega is the largest village in Anka LGA of Zamfara state. Located in northwest Nigeria with a population of about 3,000 people, who are mainly Hausas by tribe, their major occupations are farming and mining.

Hassana Bawa, a dark skinned woman, cladded in a white-handles shirt with a wrapper tied to her chest welcomed me along with Hauwa Lawali, an old woman who directed me to the compound to meet with the other Bagega women. Hassana Bawa offered me a local seat made from wood, with a wrapper laid on it to serve as cushion, so I could feel comfortable. She smiled to my greeting in Hausa and responded warmly. I asked her, “Ma’nene damuwar ku?” This means what are your problems? And Hassana Bawa replied saying “damuwar mu tana da yawa,domin akuwai abubuwa da yawa da muka rasa” meaning, our problems are many as there are a lot of things we lack.

 

 

From The Web

South Africa Women Have a Good Story to Tell

Since 1994, South Africa has seen a number of women taking up leadership positions in areas previously dominated by men. And as Gabi Khumalo observes, one of the success stories of our democracy is the representation of women in political decision-making positions.

It’s a fascinating progress. Very few countries can claim to have done better than what democratic South Africa has done to empower its women. In 1994, women constituted a mere 27.8% of the 400 seats in the South African parliament. That figure had increased to 44% in 2009. Similarly, the representation of women in provincial legislatures increased from 25.4% to 42.4% respectively. The Speaker of parliament and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces are women. Women CEOs are heading many of the state entities and top blue chip companies in the private sector.

This progress will be on the spotlight when Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women Susan Shabangu tables South Africa’s country report at the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) to be held in New York next week.

 

Talking Openly About Women and Gender

Gender is a complex issue to navigate. Simply put, women and men should neither be limited nor defined by gender.

Next week, at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), the world will gather to review the progress made since 189 countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Platform for Action 20 years ago – widely regarded as a defining moment for gender equality. The Beijing+20 gathering will commence in New York a day after International Women’s Day.

We are not all on the same page — and this only serves to reinforce the need for open conversations about women, gender and equality in the workplace and in societies. For many parts of the world, getting there is a long road and will take changes in policies, laws and systems that reinforce entrenched inequalities.

Read More on SciDeV 

 

 

Negotiating Family Planning During The Teenage Years

Asina was still in high school when she fell pregnant with her first child in Kibera, a slum settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. She dropped out of school and ran away from home due to the shame she felt around the pregnancy. After coming to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic for antenatal care and to deliver her baby, she finally received some crucial information about family planning.

“I listened carefully and I am now on a three-month contraception method in injection form. It is important to plan myself as the cost of living is high. I cannot afford to raise many children,” says Asina, now 19.

Asina’s story is typical of many adolescent girls in Kibera, and indeed around the world, who miss out on the family planning information they need to plan their pregnancies, and the rest of their lives. In a number of countries the unmet need for contraception is higher among young women aged 15–19 compared to 15–49, so there remain gaps in reaching girls.

Read More on MSF

 

Five African Cities and Destinations Named after Women

Primarily set to celebrate women’s achievement in social, political and economic, observance of the International Women’s Day originated from the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. This was a call for respect, recognition and appreciation of women. Its observance has since evolved to a globally acclaimed day set aside to celebrate as well as put into perspective challenges faced by women in different sectors. This year’s theme for IWD is – Make it Happen: a call to see to the advancement of women. Here is a list by  Jovago, constituting African destinations named after historic women who have largely and in unique ways contributed to the recognition or advancement of the same.

Cleopatra’s Beach – Egypt

Victoria Falls City – Zimbabwe

Zaria –Kaduna State, Nigeria

Lady Grey – Free State, South Africa

Queen Elizabeth Park – Uganda

Walking the Talk – Mainstreaming Gender Into the Bank’s Operations

 

As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8,2015, the issue of mainstreaming gender within the African Development Bank’s operations is in sharp focus. Simon Mizrahi, Director of the Quality Assurance and Results Department, emphasised that the Bank is keen to include gender mainstreaming in all its affairs as stipulated in the Gender Strategy.

“This is fundamental since it has to do with the credibility of the Bank in addressing gender equality. The Bank is walking the gender talk. We have to do this in order for the Bank to authoritatively talk about gender,” he said.

A Plan of Action for Operationalising Gender Mainstreaming at the African Development Bank Group lays a foundation of how to entrench gender within the Bank’s systems and process. “Mainstreaming gender equality is not an option; it is an integral part of the Bank’s development mandate,” the document states.

Source: African Development Bank (Abidjan) 

 

International Women’s Day: Delivering comprehensive obstetric care for young mothers in Nigeria

In northern Nigeria, marriage and pregnancy during the teenage years are the norm rather than the exception. Most girls are married by the age of 19, partly as an attempt to prevent pre-marital sexual activity. Yet in or out of wedlock, early age pregnancies are often linked to serious risks for both mother and baby.

“Adolescent marriage and child-bearing are very common practices in Jahun and they contribute significantly to the high maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in this region,” says Dr Amadou, activity manager for MSF’s project.

 

Let’s Have Gender Justice Now

 

T he United Nations Theme for this year International Women’s Day is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.”  The focus of this year’s celebration is on improving the citizenship and status of women globally through greater equality in the area of political rights. The struggle for the domestication of the protocol on the African Charter on the right of women, which provide extensively for the rights of women, puts Nigeria on the right course in the celebration of this year’s event.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides in section 42(1) that no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion. As regards sex the provision is also in compliance with international conventions especially the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Section 42(1) specifically protects the right of women against discrimination based on sex. So also Section 15 (2) of the same Constitution. The combined effect of the provisions of the two sections is that women are not in any way inferior to men, as far as the law is concerned.

 

 

Follow the conversation on this year’s celebration with the hashtag #IWD #MakeItHappen

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde