OBSERVANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2013 – 08 MARCH 2013

United Nations Information Centre Lagos Nigeria, in collaboration with an NGO – Treasureland Health Builders Initiative organized a symposium on Friday 8 March 2013 to mark International Women’s Day.

The event which was held at Christ 1st Entertainment Centre on Ikorodu Road in Lagos was attended by over one hundred (100) participants including students and their teachers from five (5) secondary schools, National Youth Service Corp members, Youth NGOs, Local Government officials, the Local Chief of the area and representatives from State Police Command and the media. UNIC Lagos Officer-in-Charge - Ms. Olajumoke Araba reading the Secretary-General's message

The Project Director of Treasureland Health Builders Initiative – Mrs. Ifesinachi Sam-Emuwa gave the welcome address while the Secretary-General’s message was read by the Officer in Charge of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos, Ms. Olajumoke Araba.

The video of “One Woman” song was screened followed by that of the Secretary-General’s campaign – “A promise is a promise”.
A representative of an NGO – ‘Legal Research’ gave a brief speech on how women and girls could avoid violence against them and the action to be taken if they become victims.
The Representative of the Nigerian Police Force Area ‘N’ Ikorodu also gave a speech on the rights of women and girls and actions that the Police Force takes when cases of violence against women and girls are reported.

There was a playlet by a school directed by a Youth Corp member and a song by a female Youth Corp member all on the theme of the international Day.

The highlight of the observance was a discussion session by six youths (three males and three females). The discussants, their views and resolution are enumerated as follows:

The discussants believe that the safety of women and girls is the safety of the general populace. While living safe and free from violence is everyone’s right, reducing violence becomes the responsibility of every one.

Summary of issues dealt with during the discussion
– Physical Violence (Wife battering, rape, sexual assault etc.)
– Women are forced to accept their husband’s religious beliefs
– Some women violate their fellow women and girls
– Lack of empowerment for women and girls
– Regarding women as second class citizens
– Sexual assault from male teachers and lecturers against women and girls in schools
– Some fathers rape their female children

RESOLUTION
– There is need for public enlightenment on issues of eliminating violence against women and girls.
– There must be police protection for the informant that reports those violating the rights of women and girls.
– The media should promote educative programmes rather than programmes that depict violence.
– All individuals should act as watchdog to their neighbours
– Women and girls should seek information through reading
– Men should support women rather than abuse them.
– Parents should be friends to their children especially the girl child, so that she will be free to relate issues.
– Girls need to be smart
– There should be instant judgment for violators of women’s right

Way forward.
 Information dissemination.
 Public enlightenment.
 Education
 Empowerment

United Nations publications were distributed to the participants.