NIGERIA: Violence Against Women Undermines Their Capacity

The violence suffered by most women in the home and work place undermines their capacity to effectively participate in private and public life, as they are allegedly treated and perceived as second class beings by their male counterparts.

The assertion was made by the Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)in its recent town hall meeting with women and male family heads in Kuje Area Council of Abuja, with a theme 'Raising Her Voice' Project (RHV).

The organisation described violence against women as sexual assault, battery, female genital mutilation, marital rape, child marriage, women trafficking, male child preference, withdrawal of the girl child from school, limitations on their ability to participate in politics, and also curtailing their capacity in the power relations between men and women.

"The lives of poor and marginalised women in Nigeria are characterised by susurration, which aggravates inequality and poverty of women, including failure in responsiveness of governance to citizens", the forum noted.

To the participants, the situation of majority of Nigerian women is worsened by cultural norms and gender roles that keep them in subservient position that hinders their participation in public life.

The 'Raising Her Voice' project is a portfolio of projects in 17 countries across the world, Nigeria inclusive, which focuses on improving governance and transparency by recognising and increasing the significant contribution of poor women in promoting their rights.

The project, which is supported by Oxfam GB, is implemented with the goal of strengthening national legislation, adequate budgeting and implementation of the African Union (AU) protocol on the Rights of Women through community popularisation and advocacy activities; ultimately to enable the domestication of the AU Protocol in Nigeria by 2012.

The AU Protocol on the Rights of Women offers a comprehensive picture of issues confronting women in Africa with mechanism to address such issues.

The town hall meeting afforded women at the grassroots and institutions at the local level to bare their minds on issues they feel contribute to violence against women and the best possible ways to tackle them, to promote participation of poor and marginalised women in decision making processes on issues that affect them.

While responding to questions from the press, an official of WRAPA, Oviawe Edosa, said that violence against women is beyond the level known to the public, adding that interactions with these poor women reveals new dimensions of violence them.

Oviawe also added that the ultimate goal of the project is to compel the legislative agency to domesticate the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Nigeria by 2012.

SOURCE: allAfrica

AUTHOR: Chineme Okafor

URL: Click here

DATE: 16/10/2009

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