The Development Research and Projects Centre (DRPC) has said that Nigeria’s development plans since 1999 have not addressed women economic empowerment needs.
The was disclosed by the Executive Director, DRPC, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, at a Capacity building workshop on Women Economic Empowerment in Lagos. The group is under the Partnership For Advancing Women Economic Development (PAWED) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
Some of the plans that have not addressed women empowerment needs, according to DRPC, are the National Economic Directions, the National Economic and Development Strategy, Vision 20:2020, Seven Points Agenda, Transformation Agenda, Economic Recovery Growth Plan, and the Economic Sustainability plan.
The group provided stakeholders working in the area of women economic empowerment with information to strengthen women advocacy and communications skills and enable them to demand for transformative inclusive policies.
The policies are expected to scale up their limited power in the economy and afford them the necessary skills, resources, and opportunities needed to access and compete equitably in markets and benefit from economic gains in Nigeria.
According to Judith-Ann Walker, who was represented by the Director of Projects, Dr Stanley Ukpai, innovation is necessary because of the crucial role that women play in the nation’s economy.
She said, “Although Nigerian women account for 41% ownership of micro-businesses in Nigeria with over 23 million female entrepreneurs, making Nigeria among the highest entrepreneurs globally, there is insufficient real economic empowerment and inclusion for women across the real economic sectors.
There is increasing global awareness that empowering women yields a high return on investment; this is because women are integral part of the nation’s workforce and are present at all along any upstream economic chain either formally or informally.”
She disclosed that the training was organised and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide skills on techniques and strategies needed to advocate for improved inclusion of women in real economic opportunities.
‘’This capacity building, we believe, will help women groups in Nigeria to work together as coalitions with role differentiations to empower them to demand for their rights in the economic space through participation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of economic policies in Nigeria,” she added.
What LCCI is saying about women empowerment
The Chairman, Export Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Bosun Solarin, charged the government at all levels on the closure of gender gaps for women’s access to property, finance and decent work which are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She emphasized the need for the government to explore available initiatives and deploy needed resources towards the cause of women and children in Nigeria.
She said, “Women should be offered equal opportunities with their male counterparts in top government positions and boards of public and private sector institutions. The inhibiting components in land use laws need to be repealed and re-enacted with a view to allow for more women access to land and property for business ventures.
I commend the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Industries and other MDAs working hard to include women in the economic support, assuring that women will continue to explore available opportunities challenging the Federal government to consider a special space for women if its 100 million out of poverty initiative is to succeed.”
There are concerns over the failure of governments at all levels to consider women’s economic requirements in policy design and implementation so as to strengthen their capacity to contribute to national development. The capacity-building workshop is, therefore, expected to place women groups in Nigeria in a strategic position to advocate and ensure their voices are heard and their roles are recognized as one of the strongest components for economic development in the nation.