Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, has advised African women to rise to the challenge of rebuilding their countries’ economies, values and future.
The minister who spoke virtually at the on-going African Women Conference holding in Kigali, Rwanda, noted that women are mostly affected at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Ramatu Aliyu said that women are born managers of resources, and that they are bestowed with the core responsibility of ensuring the wellbeing of members of their homes and communities.
She however decried the continuous under-representation of women in the public space, in both elective and political appointments.
The minister stressed that the under-representation constituted the single most-important factor hampering the availability of economic opportunities.
“In this conference, we must work to ensure women are at the forefront of leading the economic growth that Africa desires, be part of policy making and implementation.
“Women should work towards the agenda of gender and social inclusion policy to protect women and female children in our various countries.
“The development and growth of a nation would only be achievable when women are equal partners in growth with men.
“The current reality is that in most African countries, women have relatively weak socioeconomic status and their successful empowerment must necessarily connect and feed their labour into the flow of economic development.
“Besides the negative impact on their economic status, women also have had to grapple with all forms of gender-based violence.
“For illustration, increased domestic abuse, sexual harassment, rape, amongst others, were reported during the lockdown.”
The minister argued that women had the population and innate potentials to contribute to the political and socio-economic development of any country.
Aliyu said it behoved the state to map out workable strategies that would ensure the effective empowerment of women at all levels.
She said that doing so would enable womenfolk to maximise their potentialities and further help to consolidate the gains that contemporary democratic opening provided, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.
This year’s conference has “Women’s participation in building an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID-19 economy’’ as its theme.