ActionAid Nigeria, a social justice non-governmental organization working to promote women’s rights, combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria has called upon the Nigerian government and all government agencies to prioritize the incorporation of “Care” at the center of re-organizing the economy and society.
Speaking in Abuja, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi says “The commemoration of the 2021 International Women’s Day is a strong reminder of the unanticipated struggles of Nigerian women who were the hardest hit by social and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the year 2020.
Many lost their paid jobs and women became saddled with the unpaid responsibility of caring for sick family members and providing their needs often in vulnerable, low paid roles with little protection. Reports of domestic violence doubled amidst an almost paralyzed support system for survivors of violence due to the lockdowns.
Currently, insecurity has further plunged the country into multiple and intersecting crises with women as primary targets and easy preys. As the country re-strategizes to rise above this current situation, we call for the adoption of a care-centered approach which recognizes that care and well-being are critical to sustaining societies, economies, and the environment. A care-centered approach also entails investing in gender-based violence prevention and response in all public and private spaces. Care needs to be valued, redistributed and should be integral to humanitarian preparedness and response policies.”
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is apt “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Today, we recommit to challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality. We join the world to amplify #ChooseToChallenge and call on all Nigerians to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive Nigeria where the empowerment and fulfilment of the rights of women and girls is normalized.
As the world beams a spotlight on women, we call on the Nigerian government to reflect and move from policy to action. Governments at all levels should classify and prioritize all GBV services as essential services and ensure that they are publicly funded, universal and gender responsive including services for excluded populations without discrimination.
ActionAid Nigeria also calls for a scale up of investments in public services, including public healthcare services in order to reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care and domestic work; and ensure women public sector workers who are at the frontline have decent work and a guarantee of international labour standards.