In 1985, Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Optional Protocol in 2004. In 2005, the country ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. In September 2015, Nigeria was also one of the 193 countries that signed off to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These give an indication of commitment of the government of Nigeria to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
However, despite the above acceptance of the conventions and protocols, gender equality is still a major issue in Nigeria today. Cases of gender discrimination are still abound in the country. The United Nations, therefore sees the entrenchment of gender equality in the SDGs as a call to duty by all. Occupying Goal 5 among the 17 goals of the SDGs, gender equality as a sustainable development goal, seeks to put an end to all forms of discrimination against women and ensure that women as well as men are given full and equal rights as to how they live. The goal notes that “all humans are equals and therefore should and must be treated as such.” It also calls for reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.
Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, particularly seeks to enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women; as well as to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.
The SDG 5, is not just about empowerment of women, it also targets “Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life; as well as “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.”
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 has therefore provided an opportunity for everyone to put an end to every form of gender discrimination so the country as well as the world can be a much better place to live. Do not be left behind in this race towards achieving gender equality by 2030!
Written by Ezinne Eke (An intern). Graphics by Daniel Olufemi Macaulay (An intern)