The drive for Gender Equality is primarily focused on demonstrating the undeniable fact that all of the components that make up humanity are required to promote sustainable growth throughout the world, regardless of race, gender, or national origin.
The continuing discrepancies in access and control of resources between men and women, as well as the subjugation of women’s potential and capacity throughout history, are now considered impediments to the attainment of both national and international development agendas.
Gender equality is clearly a critical step in achieving sustainable development goals such as good governance, human rights, environmental sustainability, and poverty reduction.
As a result, engendering national development and its processes ensures that both men and women are free to achieve their full potentials and have the ability to make decisions free of gender stereotypes.
As a result, if a nation is to achieve sustainable development, women’s and men’s needs and interests must be acknowledged and protected equally.
The National Assembly’s rejection of “a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Special Seats for Women in the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for Related Matters” is a setback to the nation’s development drive, as more than half of the population, women, have been denied democratic rights to contribute to developmental policies, laws, and programmes.
Countries with large gender disparities have been found to have negative growth indicators such as malnutrition, high maternal and newborn mortality rates, poverty, a short life expectancy, a low level of education, and a high incidence of HIV/AIDS.
To a large extent, this is how things are in Nigeria right now due to the low position of gender equality across all development indices, particularly in politics.
As the ‘gender variable’ enters the development equation, more emphasis is being placed on gaining a deeper understanding of gender dynamics, notably the unequal power distribution between men and women.
Gender equality does not overlook the biological distinctions between men and women, especially when it comes to reproductive duties. Instead, it helps to appreciate the uniqueness of each gender group and the significance of including the various needs and goals of both women and men in development plans.
This helps to focus on gender differences in social arrangements, gender equity and social justice, which are the building blocks of sustainable development.
The theme of the 2022 International Women’s Day, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” recognizes the leadership roles of women and girls in development strides, particularly in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response in order to construct a sustainable future.
According to UN Women, one of the most significant global problems of the 21st century is improving gender equality in the context of the climate change crisis and disaster risk reduction.
Women are increasingly being recognized as being more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men, owing to the fact that they make up the majority of the world’s poor and are more reliant on the natural resources that climate change threatens the most.
Opportunities to empower women and girls
As a result, it is critical to continue identifying the challenges and opportunities to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal actors in climate change decision-making as crucial for sustainable development.
The participation of women as well as men in governance processes at all levels, and the recognition by institutions of women’s rights and needs, are central to good governance and poverty reduction.
A major concern in many African countries is the continued exclusion of women at all levels, especially at the grassroots level, from important political and economic negotiations. This is shown in women’s token representation without the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the government.
Women and men’s voices must be heard in the drafting of strategies and programmes for sustainable development.
If governance is to be equitable, sustainable, and effective, it must be gender-sensitive.
Writing bu Azizatu Sani of our Current Affairs Unit; Editing by Saadatu Albashir