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Most Nigerian women still suffer exclusion – WRAPA

Most Nigerian women still suffer exclusion – WRAPA

By Prosper Okoye

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) has stated that a significant number of Nigerian women are still excluded from socio-economic and political activities in the country.

WRAPA’s Communications Officer, Habiba Ahmed, made this known on Friday during an outreach in the Karonmajigi community, Abuja, to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day.

“We are gathered here today to talk to men and boys about inclusion in line with this year’s theme, ‘inspire inclusion’,” she told the newsmen.

Ms Ahmed said WRAPA saw the need to involve men and boys in the struggle of advocating for an inclusive community.

“Advocacy for inclusion does not have to be limited to the higher level, where we discuss gender-based policies. It needs to extend to the community level to help them grasp inclusion within the family structure, inclusion within the market and other public spaces, and also address inclusion as leaders of faith and culture within the community,” she explained.

Ms. Ahmed asserted that WRAPA’s goal is to eradicate gender-based violence and other barriers to women’s inclusion through its community engagements.

“We are focusing on social inclusion, where women will be involved in decision-making at the palace, at the local government level, and even in family affairs. We are challenging the traditional notion that the father is the final decision-maker; we want to change this narrative.”

However, achieving an inclusive Nigerian society may be a challenging task, as there appears to be an underlying fear of female domination among male individuals.

“Men are the problem! Men are the problem!” laments Amina Musa, leader of the Resilient Women group.

“Women are facing challenges inside the home. In some cases, women engage themselves economically, but their husbands do not allow them to work.

Men do this because they fear the women will become wealthier than they are. They resort to beating the women when they refuse to stop working, and if it’s a business, they disrupt it. Our culture also prohibits young girls from attending English schools. Only Islamic schools are permitted, making it difficult for girls to access higher education.

“If a girl reaches 15 years, the man insists that she gets married. When a woman persists in advocating for the girl to receive an education, the man would abandon her, leaving the woman alone to provide for her,” she added.

Albeit, a community religious leader, Imam Umar Khidir, claimed that women are not truthful and are not marginalized in any form.

“We, in Islam, the Mosque accommodates both men and women, but the men must stay in front and the women at the back. When the preacher preaches, the women also hear despite the sitting arrangement. This arrangement began with the old prophets.

“Most men do not have the financial resources to provide higher education for their female children.
“Also, in Islam, we don’t leave a girl who has matured to leave her father’s house to a far distance without a husband or a suitor. This is why we find it difficult to let our girls go far away for any reason,” he explained.”

Imam Khidir argued that some husbands intentionally do not let their wives thrive more than them because of their past negative experiences.

“The men do not give their wives power because they are afraid of being dominated. After giving her power, you will hear her say, ‘my house,’ instead of saying, ‘my husband’s house.’ This is not good because the wife is supposed to be under the husband, not the other way around.
She is meant to do all things under the husband’s authority, not hers.
We had a case of a husband who came back home to see that his wife has brought someone else he doesn’t know without telling him. If he talks, he is challenged, which leads to domestic violence,” he added.

Speaking, the Karubiyi’s Village Head, Dauda Dogo, expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by WRAPA in raising awareness about the issues facing women.

“Before WRAPA intervened, we faced numerous challenges, but their collaboration with the Ford Foundation has significantly reduced these issues.

“In terms of addressing violence against our girl children and ensuring their access to education, as community leaders, we’ve made efforts. We convened leaders from various sectors—faith, youth, and women—and tasked them with disseminating knowledge to help bring an end to these challenges.

“Many cases brought to the palace involve conflicts between husbands and wives, where men resort to physical violence, deny food, and assert dominance as the head of the family.

“While acknowledging that men are the heads of the family, it’s important to emphasize that men and women are meant to live together harmoniously as one family,” Chief Dogo said.

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