The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) have approved a new Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF) aimed at pushing forward gender equality and women’s empowerment across the continent.
Funded by donors, the GETF will support the delivery and scale-up of the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme and promote gender transformative lending and non-lending operations. It is the first thematic fund on gender in the Bank Group’s history. The Fund will be established for an initial period of 10 years.
AFAWA is the Bank’s flagship pan-African initiative which aims to bridge the $42 billion financing gap facing women in Africa. Through AFAWA, the Bank is spearheading a major push to unlock women’s entrepreneurial capacity and economic participation for maximum development impact.
Also on Tuesday 31 March, the Board of Directors of the Bank approved a Risk-Sharing Mechanism – an innovative financial instrument to de-risk women-empowered businesses, enhance their profile with banks and support them to grow and thrive as entrepreneurs.
Anchor investors in the GETF are the governments of France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“It’s a great day for us as a Bank. It is a great day for the continent and the women of Africa as this facility provides innovative ways to tackle the access to finance challenges for African women business owners,” said African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
The Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF) has been chosen as the first implementing partner to facilitate access to finance for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). AGF is a pan-African entity that provides financial institutions with guarantees and other financial products to support SMEs in Africa. AGF has a network spread out over 42 African countries and 150-plus financial institutions, which AFAWA will leverage. This first transaction is expected to unlock up to $2 billion in credit for women-empowered businesses across the continent.
Vanessa Moungar, Bank Director, Gender, Women and Civil Society, described the approval as “the largest effort ever to bridge the gap in access to finance for women in Africa’s history” and said the Fund’s resources and the Risk-Sharing Mechanism would prioritize women’s economic empowerment and high-impact women’s initiatives.
Moungar said the partnership with AGF is a starting point for mobilizing other financial institutions and increasing access to finance for women entrepreneurs on the continent.
Apart from the G7 donors and the Netherlands, other countries are showing strong interest in contributing to the initiative, including Rwanda and Sweden. The Bank Group will continue to mobilize resources in order to unlock $5 billion worth of financing for women-empowered businesses in Africa. AFAWA is also an implementing partner of the Women Entrepreneurship Finance (We-Fi) Initiative.
NNN: The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has called on African women to unite in the fight against gender inequality and marginalisation.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Mr Austine Elemue, in a statement on Sunday, said Aliyu made the call in a paper presentation at the 3rd Edition of Africa Women Conference (AWC) in Marakesh, Morocco.
She, however, expressed delight that in spite of the challenges, many women holding key offices in Africa have excelled in positions of authority.
The minister, who is also the President, Council of African Political Parties, noted the importance of women inclusion in governance and proposed means through which more women could be supported to take up political leadership.
Aliyu observed that certain steps should be taken to address issues affecting women in the continent.
“Aside the Affirmative Action principle, processes should be explored making it constitutionally mandatory on governments of African countries to set aside certain percentage of the membership of their cabinets for women.
“This could be for a specific period of time to enable the gender balance philosophy become internalised in the body politic of African nations.
“The constitutions of political parties in African countries should enforce the principle of Affirmative Action by putting in place institutional mechanisms at various levels of its organs that will set aside a percentage of elective positions for women.
“This would ensure that women have favourable access to nomination processes that will enable them contest elections into all elective offices.
“Reduction in the cost of nomination forms as a measure to encourage greater women involvement.”
She called on Electoral Authorities in African nations to enact stringent guidelines that would sanction political parties that failed to meet their party guidelines on access of women to elective offices.
According to her, education of the girl child should be pursued with greater vigour and cultural barriers and stereotypes which hinder the girl child access to functional education should be tackled.
“Knowledge is key to effective women participation in the political process, especially in a post-colonial Africa whose economy is becoming increasingly knowledge driven.
”Women must show compelling intellectual capacity to provide visionary leadership that will help African nations defeat poverty, create wealth, create jobs and enhance prosperity.”
The conference was organised by an Abuja based women group, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, in collaboration with other women groups to provide a platform for African women from the formal and non-formal sectors of the economy.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recruited and trained 125 youths from the 26 council areas of Niger State to propagate education of the girl child and gender equality in the state
Speaking at the training on Saturday in Minna, a Consultant with UNICEF, Mrs Marian Usman, said the training was to equip the participants with skills to sensitise their various communities on importance of educating the girl child, gender equality and their rights.
She said that though the Sustainable Development Goals had 17 goals, but UNICEF had chosen to prioritise the fourth and fifth goals which focuses on education and gender equality.
“Here in the North, some people do not believe in the girl child education hence this training to get more girls back to school.
“We have begun intervention in six local government areas in Agaie, Mashegu, Mariga, Rafi, Munya and Gbako.
” Under my output we have intervention called G for G that is girls for girls intervention, youth advocates and high level women advocates” she said.
Usman said that G for G has intervened in 200 school in six LGAs where UNICEF has trained 400 girls in leadership and skills acquisition.
The UNICEF consultant said that the advocacy training would assist the participants when they get back to their respective communities to propagate the girl child education and gender equality.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni
The changes he said would enhance women participation in the electoral process as equal partners.
Osaze-Uzzi said that the implementation of the INEC Gender policy (IGP) since 2014 had continuously impacted positively and enhanced the gender responsiveness of the Nigeria’s electoral process.
The director said that the commission had indeed recorded some progress in increasing and enhancing an all-inclusive participation and representation of women in the electoral process.
He added that this is through its sensitisation programme at the local, states and national level.
Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC National Commissioner, urged the participants to share their experiences on the 2019 general election to enable the commission learn from them.
Ogunmola, who is also the Chairman, INEC Outreach and Partnership Committee, said that the activities of the gender desk officers during the general election needed to be assessed to ascertain their relevance in the states.
He said it is expected of them to submit their reports and work plan implementation to the relevant department for documentation and further action.
“The idea of the commission organising reviews is to get a detailed comprehensive assessment based on personal views and experiences.’’
Stating the objectives of the programme, Mrs Blessing Obidegwu, Deputy Director (Gender), stressed the need to map out plans for women effective participation in politics not only as voters and candidates, but in the entire electoral process.
Obidegwu said that the 2019 general election recorded the lowest number of women elected to public offices in spite of all the interventions by INEC and stakeholders.
“To strengthen women’s political participation in the electoral process which will enhance the pursuit for democracy, good governance and development, we must change the narratives,’’ she said.
ECES Senior Project Officer, Sylvestre Somo, said that effective and proportionate participation of women in the electoral process constitute a cardinal principle of a virile and inclusive democracy.
Somo said that it is not just enough for women to be able to vote but must also be able to contest for elections in an electoral environment devoid of violence, unfair practices and negative prejudices.
“The ECES is proud to support this meeting, which seeks to among other objectives to interrogate the decline of elected women in the 2019 general elections and exchange ideas on how to improve their participation in future electoral processes.’’
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ali Baba-Inuwa
The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, has reaffirmed its commitment to working with relevant stakeholders achieve gender equality.
The ministry also assured women that it would implement the full declaration of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) both at he national and international levels.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu made the commitment at the Beijing +25 Inter-Generational Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.
The Beijing +25 Inter-Generational Dialogue, which is part of the activities leading to the 25th Anniversary of the BPFA, is organised by UN Women and Norwegian Embassy.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (Beijing Declaration) was adopted in 1995 with commitments to taking strategic and bold actions in 12 critical areas of concern.
The 12 critical areas include poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision making.
Others are institutional mechanisms, human rights, media, environment and the girl child.
According to her, the 1995 Beijing declaration and platform for action marked a global watershed in the course of gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.
“It affirms that equality between women and men is a matter of human rights and condition for social justice.
“It is also a necessary and fundmental prerequisite for equality, development and sustainable peace.
“The BPFA remains the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls; it set out on how to remove systematic barriers that hold women back from equality in both private and public spheres,” she said.
She stated that there had been tremendous progress toward achieving gender equality and the realisation of the rights of women and girls.
Anagbogu said that Nigeria had recorded major achievements in the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women since the adoption of the BPFA.
Some of the achievements include institutional arrangements, participation of women in public and political life.
Others integration of gender and social inclusion targets in economic policies, budgets and development frameworks, initiatives to partner with men and boys in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
She said that in spite of the achievements and progress made there were still challenges affecting the realisation of BPFA in Nigeria.
Anagbolu said some of the challenges were gender stereotypes, social norms, cultural barriers and insufficient up-to-date gender disaggregated data.
Othes are finding limitations, insecurity and non implementation and passage of some laws and policies, among others.
Ms Ingrid Skjølaas, Deputy Head of Mission, Norwegian Embassy said that achieving gender equality has many challenges globally, adding that Nigeria progress has been slow and uneven.
She said that there was still work to be done to ensure equal opportunity for girls, boys, men and women.
“Closing the gender gap is a key priority for Norway. It is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
“The main reason why Norway has one of the strongest economics in the world today is not because we found oil, it is because women are part of the workforce.
“Nigeria must invest in its women. We are happy to see women here uniting across generations to continue the struggle for the full participation of women and fulfilment of our rights.
“Countries that include women do better with regard to peace, economic growth and development”, she said.
“We are here to mentor the younger ones, women must get involve in politics. Women must have the courage to do things,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Highpoint of the event was a question and answer session between 25 young women and 25 older women who where at the Beijing conference in 1995.
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo
Australian sports sign up to gender pay equality scheme
Melbourne, Feb. 18, 2019 (Reuters/NNN) Australia’s top sports federations have pledged to achieve gender equality in pay for athletes and administrators as part of a blueprint issued by a local advocacy group.
The CEOs of Cricket Australia, the National Rugby League and Football Federation Australia, have signed up to the “Pathway to Pay Equality” report by the Male Champions of Change Institute (MCC), which details a milestone-based approach to achieving pay equity between male and female athletes.
Other signatories include Golf Australia, Swimming Australia and Tennis Australia, which organises the Australian Open Grand Slam.
“Many of our elite women athletes are among the most successful on the world stage,” Kate Palmer, CEO of the federal government’s sports funding agency Sport Australia, said in a media release from the MCC on Monday.
“We are a sports-loving nation, we are championing a system-wide reset in the way we support, pay and reward our female athletes. The benefits to our economy, our community and our athletes will be exponential.”
Having largely neglected women’s sport for decades, a number of Australia’s major federations have made significant investments in recent years, establishing professional leagues in cricket, soccer and Australian Rules football.
The initiatives have opened up pathways to more full-time careers in women’s sport, while hiking salaries from a low base.
But most female athletes still earn a fraction of their male counterparts.
Cricket Australia gave contracted women the same base hourly pay rate as men in the five-year collective bargaining agreement struck in 2017, but women play far less cricket.
The governing body estimated that contracted female cricketers would earn a minimum annual retainer of A$87,609 ($62,600) during the final year of the pay deal in 2021/22, while men would earn over A$313,000.
Minimum annual player contracts in the W-League, Australia’s top women’s soccer competition, were A$12,287, less than a fifth of the minimum salaries enjoyed by players in the men’s A-League (A$64,113).
Tennis Australia offers equal prize-money at the Australian Open in keeping with the other three Grand Slams.
The MCC said it had identified a 27 per cent overall gender pay gap in corporate and administration roles in Australian sport, which was based on data provided to the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
That compared to the national average gender pay gap of 21.3 per cent across all industries. (Reuters/NNN)
Edited by Silas Nwoha
By Chinyere Bassey
Lagos, Feb. 6, 2019 (NNN) Mr Abakpa Anthony, president, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), on Wednesday warned against discrimination at workplaces, saying that it wastes human talent and reduces hard work.
Anthony told the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) in Lagos that discrimination at work places raises social tension and promotes disharmony.
According to him, a situation where a bank sacks about 300 workers, pays a few and refuses to pay others their entitlements, is a high level of discrimination.
He said that some of the workers had served the bank for between 16 to 22 years, without being paid their severance benefits.
Anthony said that the union would continue to fight for the rights and welfare of the workers until they were fully paid.
Mr Guy Ryder, Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO), in its newsletter, cautioned member-countries against discrimination at workplaces because it stifles opportunities for individual growth and retards economic progress.
Ryder said that combating discrimination was an essential part of the ILO’s decent work agenda as it effects would reflect in offices, homes and various areas of life.
“Promoting equality and combating discrimination in the workplace is vital for decent work. Discrimination can be based on different grounds.
“There is discrimination in race, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, disability, age and political affiliation,’’ he said.
The ILO director added that discrimination was also linked to violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work. (NNN)
(Edited by Bola Akingbehin/Idonije Obakhedo)
700 delegates storm Abuja for NLC’s National Conference
By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja, Feb. 5, 2019(NNN) More than 700 statutory delegates and observers are expected to take part in the two-day National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, General Secretary of NLC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on Tuesday in Abuja, that the conference would deliberate on national issues and unity in the labour movement.
The theme of the conference is, ‘`Towards a Decade of Activism for the Promotion of Labour Unity and National Rebirth and Development.’
Ozo-Eson said that the constitution provided how delegates would be selected.
“We are expecting 700 delegates for today’s (Feb.5) programme from industrial unions in the country.
“The constitution provides how delegates are allocated. Three delegates are allocated to each industrial union on the basis of equality and one additional delegate is then allocated to every N5 million check-off dues.
“Based on that contribution, we have just about 700 delegates. But beyond the delegates, unions are also free to bring in observers. Because this is a key event and most unions want to have many of their members to be part of it.
“In addition, we have guests that are invited from within and outside the country. About 1,500 people will be present at the opening ceremony,’’ he said.
Ozo-Eson was optimistic that after the conference the NLC and the labour movement would be able to play active roles in promoting the ideals and goals specified in the theme of the conference.
NNN also reports that the tenure of the current leadership led by Mr Ayuba Wabba, elected in 2015, expires this month.
The two-day conference, according to an inside source, is expected to affirm the current leadership of the union led by Wabba for a second term.(NNN)
Edited by Obike Ukoh
By Christian Ogbonna
Yenagoa, Jan. 23, 2019 (NNN) The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa has assured women in the state of adequate protection before, during and after the elections.
The commission said it was partnering the police and other stakeholders in Bayelsa to achieve violence-free polls.
Dr Cyril Omoregbe, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, made the promise on Wednesday in Yenogoa at a one-day seminar on “Mitigation of Electoral Violence Against Women.”
He said that the commission remained committed to political gender equality.
Omoregbe, represented by INEC Administrative Secretary, Mr Leberi Sampson, said that the programme was to sensitise women on steps and ways to curtail violence against them and their activities during the elections.
“The programme will be a guide to the women when they are out during the elections; they will know what to do and how to do it and what not to do during the period.
“The women should go out to vote; they should not be afraid because INEC is committed to violence-free polls, committed to free and fair elections and are gender friendly.
Mr Amimu Pai, the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, warned perpetrators of such electoral violence to steer clear in the interest of free and fair elections.
Pai, represented by Dr Rita Abbey, DPO, Ekeki Division, assured women of maximum security before, during and after elections.
“Police will not tolerate any form of violence and I must assure the women that the police are ready to protect lives and property in Bayelsa because that is our major duty.
“Officers and men will be posted to every nook and cranny of Baylesa during the elections,” the CP said.
Dise Ogbise, the Representative of Bayelsa Chapter of Women in Peace and Security Network, commended INEC for putting up the programme.
“Yes, it will help the women to exercise their rights in the elections. The women should be bold and they must collect their PVCs in order to cast their votes,” she advised. (NNN)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Tajudeen Atitebi
Lawmaker calls for enligthenment against violence during elections at the grassroot
By Chinenye Offor
Abuja, Jan. 30, 2019 (NNN) Sen. Abiodun Olujumi, Deputy Minority Whip, at the Senate, has called for grassroot education against violence during elections.
Olujumi made the call during the forum of Women Leaders Platform for Peaceful Elections organised by UN Women Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja .
According to her, education at the grassroot is key to combating election violence, which affects women and youths more.
Olujumi noted that the time to speak to political parties was now, and encouraged that a Memorandum of Understanding should signed with political parties , to help address the issues of women’s participation in politics.
she also stated that feminism must come to play, saying that gender equality must be at the fore front of women’s agenda, to enable them achieve their quota in political arena.
The lawmaker also said that it was imperative for women to be empowered, saying that poverty was one of the factors that put women behind.
she also called for activism in women immediately after the general elections, to begin to pursue their mandate and take their part in politics before the next elections in 2023.
she, therefore, enjoined women to create the space if space was not given to them as well as demand for good governance.
Also speaking, prof. Fummi Para -Mallam, called for implementation of the rights of women in political participation and leadership roles.
she stated that the electoral law was not favourable to women and advocated for mainstreaming women into political structure.
Para-Mallam also said that gender solidarity, long vision, professional capacity and formation of alliance across class irrespective of political party or religion, would help address issues of violence against women in politics.
she further said that women needed to rise up to promote peace, stop structural, religious and cultural biases, which affect women’s participation in politics.
she then demanded for data as well as media engagement for effective electoral processes. (NNN)
Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole