The wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on Thursday expressed worry over the huge number of girls without access to formal education in the country.
Delivering a lecture entitled: “Clapping With One Hand: ‘Female Education, Leadership and the Quest for National Development” at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Ondo State, Mrs Fayemi regretted that according to statistics, girls make up 60 per cent of the 10.5 million out-of-school children in the country.
She also lamented the poor representtion of women in the country’s leadership structure, especially at the National Assembly.
According to her, the level of insecurity in the Northeast region of the country as well as the incessant kidnapping of children and young girls, had affected education of many children a development which she says has sire consequences on the country’s future.
She also stated that it is undortunate that despite their successes and achievements, millions of women and girls still suffer from feminization of poverty, lack of access to basic resources, diseases, violent conflict and the complex use of culture, religion and tradition to silence the female gender in the society .
She said: “The activities of the Boko Haram has had a devastating effect on millions of citizens, especially women and children. Their education had been affected so badly that the effect will be felt for many years to come.
“Nigeria currently had one of the highest rates of out of school children which statistics pegged at 10.5 m with female accounted for 60 percent .
“There are also 1.9m millions of Nigerians living in Internally Displaced Camps around the country and over one million of them are women ad girls , with the attendant risks this poses”.
On the waning number of women in political leadership, the First lady said: “If you look at the configuration of the national assembly since 2011, women representation has always been very bad and this has not given women to participate in setting legal framework that regulates governance .
“It was better better in 2011, dropped in 2015 , but became worse in 2019. These shouldn’t discourage us from continually demand for our right”.
She regretted that women have been at the receiving end of government’s inept disposition and lack of political will to implement laws like gender based violence prohibition law, equal opportunities law, girls child law among others to put female gender in a safety net.
“Crimes against women are on the increase. gender violence, rape, trafficking, sexual exploitation , discrimination and kidnapping, among others. All these make the atmosphere very unsafe for women,” she said.
“Religious and cultural conservatism, inaccessible political machineries and godfather’s syndrome , lack of financial investment required for political office , violence and intimidation , are also factors that are limiting women and reducing their capacities to rise to the top”, she said.
Mrs Fayemi called for holistic implementation and enforcement of relevant laws that tend to tame gender inequality and promote women’s interest to enhance their relevance in all sectors.
She advised women “to seek conceptual clarity on gender and feminism, research use of legislative and policy framework, build a platform to make political demands, encourage inter generational organising , engage in resource mobilisation , make educational institution safe for female gender , prepare for leadership and build a legacy that can attract public respect”.