The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), has launched the global Women and Girls strategy which would set out how the UK would work to tackle global gender inequality at every opportunity.
According to a statement from British High Commission, this would include combatting attempts to roll back women’s rights, and work with partners from around the world to do the same.
The statement added: “For the first time, this strategy commits the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to ensuring that at least 80 per cent of its bilateral aid programmes include a focus on gender equality by 2030.
“Progress towards gender equality is increasingly under threat. Issue like climate change and humanitarian crises continue to disproportionately affect women and girls. Attempts to row back on women’s rights, increasing incidents of sexual violence in conflicts in Nigeria, Ukraine and elsewhere, and the growth of violence against women online are compounding the problem.”
The statement recalled that at the launch of the event in Sierra Leone on March 8, the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly had said: “Advancing gender equality and challenging discrimination is obviously the right thing to do, but it also brings freedom, boosts prosperity and trade, and strengthens security – it is the fundamental building block of all healthy democracies.
“Our investment to date has improved lives around the world, with more girls in school, fewer forced into early marriage and more women in top political and leadership roles.
“But these hard-won gains are now under increasing threat. We’re ramping up our work to tackle the inequalities which remain, at every opportunity.”
According to the statement, the new strategy puts a continued focus on educating girls, empowering women and girls, championing their health and rights and ending gender-based violence – the challenges the UK believes are most acute.
Speaking on the development, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing said: “Nigerian women lead on the global stage and across different sectors, however many women and girls continue to experience high levels of exclusion and marginalisation.
“It’s important that every girl and woman has the opportunity to reach her potential, live in freedom, and exercise her rights.
“That is why the UK is investing in areas that we know are fundamental in transforming the lives of girls and women in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Nigeria has recognised some Nigerian women and Indian women resident in the country for their amazing contribution in various fields.
Among those who were honored in commemoration of the IWD included the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and Pioneer Chairman/ CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC),
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye and Director Overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, Amb. Janet Olisa.
Others included Director and Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Maimuna Abdullahi Habib, Ms Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, Principal of the prestigious Indian Language School Lagos, Ms Sonali Gupta, Managing Director Greenville Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd, Ms. Ritu Sahajwalla,
Dabiri-Erewa was honoured for her contribution in Diplomacy, Adeyeye (Health), Habib (Veterinary Medicine), Ahuja (Culture), Gupta (Education) and Sahajwalla (Business).
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Shri Balasubramanian, speaking on the award said the women were selected for their contribution in their various fields.
He noted that women have become engineer of development, contributing in their various field and to the growth and development of their nation and in whatever capacity that they are found.
He said as the world celebrated the contributions of women worldwide, the Indian Commission felt it was proper to acknowledge Nigerian and Indian women contribution towards the uplifting of Nigerians.
In a related development, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has hailed women for the significant role they play in societal development, lauding their concerted drive for success and impactful service while managing the multifaceted demands and expectations of contemporary society.
The governor said this in commemoration of the IWD. In a statement, Obaseki said women have proven to be excellent managers of men and resources over time, pulling their weight across various spheres of responsibilities, whether at the home front, in the larger society, or in building business conglomerates.
The governor noted that the theme for this year’s celebration, ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,’ was apt, as it captured the state’s drive to promote the adoption of technology across the state with the government’s digital infrastructure project, which links the 18 local councils in the state with fibre-optic internet connectivity.
According to him, “As we mark International Women’s Day (IWD) today, we celebrate the impact that women have made across various areas of our national life as well as their unyielding drive to engender sustainable development despite the obstacles they are made to confront along the way.
“In Edo State, we have witnessed how women have played critical roles across different sectors of the state where they have been given the opportunity to serve the people. We have created access for women to prove themselves and they have proven us right time and again.”