A recent report by Thomson Reuters Foundation has listed Nigeria as the ninth most dangerous country in the world for women.
In the report, Nigeria had unimpressive ratings in sexual violence, cultural practices, and human trafficking. On the top of the list are India, DR Congo, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and USA, who settled for the last spot on the list.
In a survey carried out by the foundation between March 26 and May 4, 2018, five hundred and forty-eight (548) experts on women related matters were accessed on the following standards: health care, cultural practices, discrimination, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
The experts surveyed were taken from workers in several fields, including health, policy making, academia and NGOs.
Nigeria is ranked ninth overall in the final top 10 list of most dangerous countries for women to live with human rights groups accusing the country’s military of torture, rape and killing civilians during its nine-year fight against Islamist insurgency by terrorist group, Boko Haram. The terrorist group is responsible for the death of over 30,000 people and the displacement of millions, resulting in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
According to the poll, Nigeria ranks as the fourth most dangerous country for women when it comes to human trafficking which includes domestic servitude, forced labour, bonded labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery. The poll also notes that tens of thousands of Nigerian women are trafficked into Europe for sexual exploitation.
The country also ranks sixth worst for women regarding customary practice (culture and religion) including acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage, forced marriage, punishment/retribution through stoning or physical abuse or mutilation and female infanticide/foeticide.
The country is also ranked in 10th position in regards to sexual violence on women including rape as a weapon of war, domestic rape, rape by a stranger, the lack of access to justice in rape cases, sexual harassment and coercion into sex as a form of corruption.
Surprisingly, the country is not ranked among the top 10 countries that discriminate against women in regards to job discrimination, inability to make a livelihood, discriminatory land, property or inheritance rights, lack of access to education and lack of access to adequate nutrition; and is also not in the top 10 list of countries that inflict non-sexual violence on women including conflict-related violence and forms of domestic physical and mental abuse.
Surprisingly, Nigeria also does not rank among the top 10 most dangerous countries for women regarding healthcare in terms of maternal mortality, lack of access to healthcare, lack of control over reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.
Modern organizations have come a long way in closing the once-glaring gender gap. However, true gender equality in the workplace doesn’t just mean hiring more women or offering equal pay: It means embracing the voices and ideas of all staff members, regardless of gender, and incorporating those perspectives into the fabric of your company.
Correcting any diversity problem — including a gender imbalance — begins with an active commitment from leadership to be more inclusive. According to Forbes Communications Council members, here are a few things you can do to promote gender inclusivity on your marketing/communications teams and can be up scaled to any work space.
- Involve your users.
Promoting gender inclusivity in your marketing and messaging doesn’t just have to be about hiring. When you launch a new campaign, organize a few tests with users and get feedback from a variety of people so that your sample size is much larger. This is particularly important for small companies. You may not be able to hire more people, but you can always add more voices to the mix. – Mandy Menaker, Shapr
- Make time for tough conversations about inclusivity and diversity.
We communicate for a living, but sometimes we forget the importance of deeper communication within our own teams. Having different forums to discuss important issues like gender inclusivity or diversity empowers our teams to bring up topics that may be uncomfortable to discuss in normal day-to-day settings. Make time for these conversations. It will open your eyes to what is important. – Charlie Terenzio, revcontent.com
- Give every person a seat and a voice.
Inclusivity is about more than race and gender. It’s about valuing diverse experiences and leveraging that for a stronger business. It’s critical that we go beyond diversity to inclusivity, which means everyone not only has a seat but also has a voice. It’s important to post jobs widely to reach a broad audience, beyond hiring friends, and provide a flexible work environment for all to flourish. – Amanda Ponzar, Community Health Charities
- Focus on the innovation that comes from inclusivity.
Adopt a mindset that demonstrates that innovation can only happen in an inclusive and diverse environment. Show the strong impact of people with diverse backgrounds coming together. Work closely with HR to reinforce inclusion policies, frequently and consistently communicate the importance of inclusivity and don’t forget to reference practical results in the industry and your company. – Alex Goryachev, Cisco
- Take a good, hard look at your team’s gender diversity.
Look at your team. Is there a gender imbalance, either in total or in certain situations or projects? Diverse perspectives are the benefit of a diverse team and are essential for the best results, so take the time to examine the makeup of your group and make changes as necessary. This goes beyond a policy or hiring intention, and ensures that you are being inclusive in all ways. – Alina Morkin, Voices.com
- Put a gender-inclusive, two-person team in charge of a task force.
When creating a task force to tackle a marketing or sales challenge, make sure you create a gender inclusive team and that everyone has a voice during the process. Why not have two people — a man and a woman — lead the task force, instead of just one person? This will also allow them to work together and show that you value inclusive collaboration. – Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC.
- Call out common trends or behaviors that hurt gender inclusivity.
Get to know everyone on your team personally, ask them how you can best support them and pay special attention to unconscious bias. If you see common trends in yourself or others, like women being talked over in meetings or asked to take notes, be proactive and call them out in a productive way. This sets an example for your team and brings to light biases that others may not realize they have. – Danielle Edberg, Procore Technologies, Inc.
- Build your hiring process for inclusivity.
Inclusivity starts at the beginning of the hiring process. Word job descriptions thoughtfully, without listing more requirements than necessary. Don’t begin the interview process until you have at least as many women in the pool as men. Don’t base salary around what people received previously. Clarify on your website and to interviewees that inclusivity is a central part of your company culture. – Holly Chessman, Holly Chessman Marketing
- Understand your bias.
Gender inclusivity starts with understanding your bias, and I find this to be true for both men and women. It is an excellent way to level the ground and engage in this important dialogue. As a manager, I proactively seek open and honest discussions around diversity, whether it’s gender, culture or race. Long-term diversity and inclusion must live in every layer of the organization. – Hagar Spits, Philips
- Encourage ideas from all sources, and then act on them.
Start by recognizing that diversity of all types yields richer discussions, better product/service design, higher engagement and increased profitability. It’s not enough for all genders to be included. Leaders must actively solicit, thoughtfully consider and, in a timely manner, act on the observations and ideas offered. Doing so reflects an authentic respect for everyone’s unique contributions. – Adrienne Alesandro, Palo Alto Networks
Source(s) – Forbes
Social norms is the biggest barrier to achieving Gender Equality. It is astonishing that in ‘developed’ climes, where it is perceived that the rights of women are not just recognized but embraced, it is still a struggle.
One of Japan’s most prestigious medical schools has admitted deliberately altering entrance exam scores for more than a decade to restrict the number of female students and ensure more men became doctors.
Tokyo Medical University manipulated all entrance exam results starting in 2006 or even earlier, according to findings released by lawyers involved in the investigation, confirming recent reports in Japanese media.
The institution, which initially denied knowledge of the test score manipulations, said it should not have occurred and vowed to prevent it from happening again. It said it would consider retroactively admitting those who otherwise would have passed the exams, although it did not explain how it would do so.
The institution through its Managing Director, Tetsuo Yukioka released an official apology statement to the public; “We sincerely apologize for the serious wrongdoing involving entrance exams that has caused concern and trouble for many people and betrayed the public’s trust,” He denied any previous knowledge of the score manipulation and said he was never involved. He went on to say; “I suspect that there was a lack of sensitivity to the rules of modern society, in which women should not be treated differently because of their gender”.
The manipulation was revealed during an investigation into the alleged “backdoor entry” of an education ministry bureaucrat’s son in exchange for favourable treatment for the school in obtaining research funds. The bureaucrat and the former head of the school have been charged with bribery.
The investigation found that in this year’s entrance exams the school reduced all applicants’ first-stage test scores by 20% and then added at least 20 points for male applicants, except those who had previously failed the test at least four times. It said similar manipulations had occurred for years because the school wanted fewer female doctors, since it anticipated they would shorten or halt their careers after having children.
It is not clear how many women have been affected, but the practice started in 2006, according to Japanese media, potentially affecting a large number of candidates. The education ministry official’s son, who had failed the exam three times, was given a total of 20 additional points, which eventually elevated him to just above the cutoff line.
The report said the manipulation was “profound sexism”, according to lawyer Kenji Nakai.
He said the investigation also suggested that the school’s former director took money from some parents who sought preferential treatment for their sons and that the manipulation was part of a deep-rooted culture that lacked fairness and transparency. Nakai said the report only covered the latest exam results because of time constraints, and that further investigation was needed.
A research into the the Japanese labour sector shows that nearly 50% of Japanese women are college educated — one of the world’s highest levels — but they often face discrimination in the workforce. Women also are considered responsible for homemaking, childrearing and caring for elderly relatives, while men are expected to work long hours. Outside care services are limited.
Studies show the share of female doctors who have passed the national medical exam has plateaued at around 30% for more than 20 years, leading some experts to suspect that other medical schools also discriminate against women.
The revelations have added weight to claims of institutional sexism in the Japanese workplace and education, frustrating efforts by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to create a society “in which women can shine”.
While women’s representation in the workplace is rising, Japan compares poorly with other countries in promoting women to senior positions. Many female employees find it difficult to return to work after giving birth.
The education minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, said exam discrimination against women was “absolutely unacceptable,” adding that the ministry planned to examine admission procedures at all of the country’s medical schools.
The gender equality minister, Seiko Noda, told public broadcaster NHK: “It’s extremely disturbing if the university didn’t let women pass the exams because they think it’s difficult to work with female doctors.”
The revelations also sparked fury on social media. “I’m 29 and will probably never get married,” said one poster. “Women are pitied if they don’t, but Japanese women who are married and working and have kids end up sleeping less than anybody in the world. To now hear that even our skills are suppressed makes me shake with rage.”
Another said: “I ignored my parents, who said women don’t belong in academia, and got into the best university in Japan. But in job interviews I’m told ‘If you were a man, we’d hire you right away.’ My enemy wasn’t my parents, but all society itself.”
The lawyers also said that the university’s former chairman and president had received money from the parents of applicants whose entrance exam scores were padded, according to Kyodo.
They allegedly raised the exam results of the children of former graduates in the hope that the parents would make donations to the school, the news agency said.
With this revelation, it is clear that even with the successes in the advocacy and fight for Gender Equality, a lot still has to be done, not just in developing countries but also in developed countries.
Source(s): The guardian
Kofi Atta Annan, popularly known as Kofi Annan (8 April 1938 – 18 August 2018) was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Born in Kumasi, in then British Gold Coast, Annan went on to study economics at Macalester College, international relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and management at MIT. Annan joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization‘s Geneva office. He went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996. He was appointed as the Secretary-General on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council, and later confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself, the second African office holder after Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the seventh ever UN Secretary General. He was re-elected for a second term in 2001, and was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2007. As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy; worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa and launched the UN Global Compact. Annan was very fluent in English, French, Akan, and some Kru languages as well as other African languages which was a major advantage to his diplomatic cause.
On the 18th of August 2018, this great icon, African, world champion, patriarch and humanitarian, Kofi Annan, passed away to the utmost feeling of loss and sadness by the entire world.
During Annan’s time on earth, he initiated interventions in conflict resolution around the world, which he will be remembered and commemorated for, for years to come, as well as his remarkable role in ensuring stability of democratic governments in Africa. The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) especially commemorates him for his selfless service and success in the fight for Gender Equality, and poverty eradication. WRAPA regards Kofi Atta Annan as Africa’s gift to the world and a wonderful servant to the international community. The death of former Secretary-General of UN, Kofi Annan, is a loss to Africa and the entire world because of all that he represented.
Kofi Annan distinguished himself as an international statesman, global icon, finest diplomat and tireless champion of human rights for all. His time at the UN was also remarkable for his role in ensuring stability of democratic governments in Africa and intervention in conflict resolution around the world aimed at achieving world peace. His diplomatic achievements, both before or after becoming the UN Secretary-General, are legion. Kofi Annan spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Specifically, he will be remembered for his important contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kofi Annan will be remembered for his commitment to defending vulnerable populations the world over, demonstrated by his key role in the development of the UN’s epoch-making Responsibility to Protect doctrine. He provided leadership in developing the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which as a result, made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative. He lived true to his reputation and recognition as Noble Peace Prize Laureate because he was an advocate of world peace and development throughout.
Kofi’s work tenacity and unending humanitarian engagements never caught him short of his responsibilities as a husband and father. Kofi held the family values in high regards and was considered a loving husband and a doting father, as his family clearly stated to the world “even with the world demands Kofi Annan has, we don’t feel like we share him, his presence is always felt”.
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), considers this a sad loss to the world, most especially, a loss to the women’s rights advocacy cause. The loss of a man who stood shoulder high for the ‘Gender Agenda’. Kofi’s two (2) most popular quotes on women’s inclusivity reads “When women thrive, all of society benefits and succeeding generations are given a better start in life” and “There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players”. Kofi’s struggle for poverty eradication was also felt around the world, most especially, Africa and other third world countries. His most popular sayings on the global happening were
“Hunger and poverty are ugly siblings. You cannot get rid of either unless you tackle the other as well… Hunger, after all, is both a source and a consequence of extreme poverty. A hungry man cannot think beyond his next meal… This has devastating consequences for the economic and social development of society as a whole,” and
“The world has the resources and the know-how to make hunger history. What we need is political will and resolve. Let us renew our pledge to work together towards the day when no man, woman or child goes to sleep hungry. Let us resolve to win the fight against hunger once and for all. And I think that, with determination, resolve and will, it can be done.”
Kofi Annan recorded so many landmark achievements during his time of service to humanity including his high level advocacy for women’s rights and inclusivity and closure in gender gap in many countries and building effective relations with key member countries of the UN, a major boost for world peace. The UN had a sound fiscal position and both he and the organization won the Nobel Peace Prize for this reason. In addition, his championing of the launch of some important new initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) contributed to significant gains in health, education and human welfare in many countries around the world. The initiative was so successful that it was succeeded by the even more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. Also, under his watch, the international community established the International Criminal Court and had begun prosecuting war criminals for their deeds in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; a major boost for world peace. Kofi also initiated the process of getting corporations to recognize and accept their responsibility for the environmental, social and human rights consequences of their activities. This process moved slowly. But his efforts ultimately led to the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011. These have now been incorporated into the human rights policies of many companies and have led to a number of countries adopting national action plans on the human rights responsibilities of business and have brought about massive development around the world.
After Kofi left the UN, Annan continued to do good work with both the Elders, a group of global leaders working for peace and human rights, and his own foundation, the Kofi Annan Foundation. In these capacities he also recorded some notable achievements which includes helping resolve the post-election violence in Kenya, helping ensure peaceful elections in Nigeria and a number of other countries, and helping promote more productive and sustainable agriculture and good governance across Africa.
It is very clear that Kofi Annan is gone, but it is even clearer that his legacies of peace and harmony lives on. He will be sorely missed, not only by his close family and friends but by all Africans at home, in the Diaspora and the rest of the world.
Kofi Annan is truly a modern statesman and an exemplar for all Africans who adhere to the principles of democracy, rule of law, equality and justice for all.
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), mourns and commemorates with the rest of the world on the passing of this great icon, African, world champion, patriarch and humanitarian. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Adieu!
We would now leave you with some of Kofi Annan’s most inspiring quotes:
- Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.
- It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.
- To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.
- Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.
- More countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development.
- Business, labor and civil society organizations have skills and resources that are vital in helping to build a more robust global community.
- The Lord had the wonderful advantage of being able to work alone.
- We need to keep hope alive and strive to do better.
- If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are conditions for development.
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) with support from TrustAfrica, conducted a scoping project aimed at data and documentation to provide a more comprehensive review of the nature and prevalence of SGBV incidents within the context of the insurgency. The Research Project has mapped existing interventions and their effectiveness in providing documented evidence derived directly from SGBV survivors in camps and host communities in Borno State. The findings will support the advocacy for accountability of actors in the conflict and related circumstances. The Research will also provide programming content towards design of support interventions for Sexual and Gender Based Violence Survivors.
WRAPA/TrustAfrica Project Team is indebted to the SGBV Research Respondents, without whom, the Project would not have been able to meet its objectives. Therefore, and in appreciation of their cooperation with us and willingness to share their stories/experiences, WRAPA extended support materials to assist them and their families. The items cover individual and communal materials. To this end, all gifted trade machines are for general use in the Safe Space Centers within the IDP Camps and were handed over to Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development as custodians and managers of the Safe Space Centers for installation and supervision of use.
This intervention impacted the lives of a total number of one hundred and sixty-five (165) women and cut across eight (8) IDP camps in Borno State, North-East Nigeria namely; Dalori IDP camp (11), Farm Centre IDP camp (10), Kusheri IDP camp (12), Teachers Village IDP camp (20), Gubio Road IDP camp (22), Madinatu IDP camp (35), Bakassi IDP camp (43) and Galtimari IDP camp (12). Out of the total number of women empowered, forty-five (45) women had infants and as such, WRAPA provided support materials for their children as well.
Each woman received six (6) yards of fabric, eights (8) bars of soap, a bucket and nine (9) infant clothes (in the case of a mother with infant(s)). Furthermore, to improve the economic situations of this women, they were also provided with trade materials such as sewing machines and sewing accessories, pasta making machine and ingredients for making pasta, materials for knitting, amongst others. The women were shared into clusters for the proper utilization of the trade materials.
All representatives of the empowered women at the different IDP camps expressed with joy, profound gratitude to WRAPA and TrustAfrica for this intervention and promised to make good use of the materials gifted them.
WRAPA recognizes that financial and economic challenges are one of the major causes of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), hence the reason for this intervention.