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HomeNewsInternational Women’s Day is, “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress”

International Women’s Day is, “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress”

Save the Children calls upon the government to prioritize investments in women, protection of young girls, and advocates for their active participation in decision-making processes, as essential for fostering inclusive governance and sustainable development.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is, “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress”.

As the world grapples with multifaceted challenges such as violent conflicts, escalating poverty, the impacts of climate change, and the persistent dynamics of gender inequality, the plight of women, particularly in Nigeria, demands a strategic and concerted response along with substantial investment. Recent reports indicate that over 43.7 million women in Nigeria are living below the poverty line of $1.90 USD per day, Furthermore, the UN Women projects that over 340 million women and girls will continue to endure extreme poverty by 2030, depriving them of their potential and perpetuating gender disparities within society.

One of the primary obstacles hindering women’s empowerment and access to social protection is early child marriage. This harmful practice robs countless young girls of the opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty to achieve holistic well-being. It is imperative to recognize that every woman was once a girl, underscoring the critical importance of safeguarding and investing in the girl child today to secure the empowerment and financial independence of women tomorrow.

Save the Children Girl Champion, Rita Doose said “Investing in a woman is a priority and a task that we must undertake. If we help her, we would be setting up a stage for a leader, protecting the future of every girl child, and that accelerates the progress of the society, placing women on the pedestal for greatness and addressing the issues of gender inequality.”

Social protection interventions can serve as a means to empower women and girls, reducing inequities and ensuring access to opportunities that will transform their present and future. Investing in women and girls through social assistance programs will provide access to food, healthcare, clothing and shelter; social insurance programs will enable women to have access to healthcare during and after pregnancy. For girls, improving access to social protection interventions that enable enrolment and retention in schools also reduce the risks of abuse, child labor and early marriage as an easy means of overcoming poverty.

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, advancing gender equality could potentially inject $316 billion into Nigeria’s GDP by 2025, fundamentally altering the narrative on gender parity. The imperative to invest in women is not just a moral obligation but also an economic necessity. By prioritizing women’s empowerment, advancing gender equality, and ensuring access to essential services and opportunities, Nigeria can unlock the full potential of its women, leading to a more prosperous, inclusive, economy, and equitable society for all.

Duncan Harvey, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, said “Save the Children is committed to supporting women and girls across Nigeria. In the last two years, Save the Children has provided empowerment initiatives, grants, social security, nutrition, and education to over four million women, directly or indirectly. These efforts have bridged the gender inequality gap and fostered sustainable inclusion within the society. The urgent need for comprehensive implementation of social protection programs cannot be overstated, requiring a multifaceted approach that elevates the living standards and inclusion of women and girls.”

Save the Children calls up on the government to prioritize investments in women and advocate for their active participation in decision-making processes, essential for fostering inclusive governance and sustainable development. Additionally, ensuring unlimited access to quality healthcare, including maternal healthcare, family planning, and nutrition programs, is paramount in safeguarding women’s health and advancing gender equality. Education stands as a fundamental catalyst for women’s empowerment, with investments in girls’ education not only benefiting individuals but also contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable development. Every stakeholder must commit to gender-responsive budgeting, strategies, and implementation, ensuring equitable resource allocation that promotes justice and care for the women populace. There must be updated reviews and reforms of policies on child marriage. Increased, consistent and targeted budgeting to end child marriage and a solidified efforts to develop a costing framework for African Union (AU) States implementing the Campaign to End Child Marriage in line with all AU member State’s commitment to work together towards achieving it.

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