From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Federal Government has expressed the its willingness to build a country that will provide equal opportunity for men and women in the political, social and economic space.
The government through the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, spoke at a capacity building on the implementation of NGP 2016-2021organised by the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Accountability Lab Nigeria, and supported by the Macarthur Foundation, for traditional rulers, yesterday in Abuja.
Represented by the Principal Community Development Officer, Gender Affairs Department, Edo Ekata, she said: “Government of Nigeria is committed to building a nation devoid of gender discrimination, guaranteeing equal access to political, social and economic wealth creation opportunities for women and men; and developing a culture that places premium on the protection of all including children.”
Also, Olabisi Aina, who is a Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, advocated full implementation of the National Gender Policy with the expectation that it will reduce what she called ‘toxic masculinity’ affecting men.
Aina also argued that NGP, if given the teeth to function, would strengthen the electoral system in favour of men and women.
She added that the society must change its mindset on the agitation for gender equality, stressing that it is not aimed at diminishing the men.
“I will say that we are on track, you know, because it will take time to have full plan implementation. And I think what is being done is to advocate to let people know, to have a knowledge about the policies.
“I will say that the difference between the old or the new is that, because of time, we are also having more knowledge, more knowledge of the problem, more knowledge of the issues, and more knowledge about the solution and you know that when you work with women and you want to bring them to the fore, experience has taught us that you cannot work with them alone.
“Men and women make the full system. They run the system, and so you cannot change the life of the woman without a touch on men.
“And a particular way you look at a woman, you will look at how within a web of relationship, relationship with a husband, with a father, with brothers and sisters and friends. So changing her means you are changing all of that web.
“Gender policy is not just about bringing about change in women, it is also bringing about change in men.
“Because if women are changing, and men do not change then you will not really have equality change.
“So when you talk about the impact of gender as a social description or construction, even in the life of men, we find out that gender has also had its own negative impacts on the man what some will refer to as toxic masculinity.
“Sometimes masculinity also becomes very toxic and it does not help a nation in growing.
“This policy goes beyond the only issue of the woman’s question, it is opening our eyes to also let us appreciate and see more people like persons with disability, like the aged, you know, like the elderly, so those who need protection,” she said.