Full of determination to promote gender equality, Men Engage Nigeria, MEN, has tasked men to end patriarchal spirits, in order to create an environment free of discrimination between boys/men and girls/women.
This appeal was made recently in Lagos, at a Capacity Building Workshop for SouthWest Member Organizations of MEN.
Speaking to newsmen, a Gender Equality Advocate and National Coordinator, MEN, Paul Osayande, expressed optimism that full involvement and support of men will significantly impact achieving gender equality in the society.
Osayande, who describe Nigeria as a patriarchal society that sees the man as a dominant factor and having control over everything, stressed the need for men to do everything within their power to change the narratives.
He went further to shed more light on the activities of Men Engage Global, Africa and Nigeria, aimed at engaging boys and men in ensuring gender justice.
“The patriarchy setting has made many women to experience different forms of violence in marriage, workplace and in society at large. In some part of the country, women are denied right to own land.” Osayande added.
Speaking on dangers of FGM, he stated that it causes hemorrhage, genital tissue swelling, infection, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), urination problem due to swelling, long term pain, sexual problems, child birth complications, prone to mental health issues as a result of post traumatic stress disorder among others.
“While child marriage is a human right abuse largely practiced due to prevailing poverty, it ends a girl’s childhood, curtails her education, minimizes her economic opportunities, puts her at risk of domestic violence and risk of early pregnancy. They are more likely to die during childbirth and can’t negotiate safer sexual practices and always prone to Visicovaginal fistula VVF majorly caused by obstructed labour.”
Osayande encouraged member organisations to always make use of evidence-based data or scientific proof to promote their positions against societal norms and prevailing practices discovered harmful and/or unjust to victims.
“Evidence based approach is not an assumption or just a personal opinion. Evidence based approach enhances believability and spur action.”
He said that the group is working seriously on tackling these social norms and prevailing practices that are unjust to people irrespective of their gender.
Osayande urged everyone to be quick to help if they notice any sign of violence around by calling the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) on *6820# or text “Abuse” to same code, as this could help curtail the menace.
While delivering her paper, the founder of Titanium and an advocate for gender equality, Omowunmi Oladipupo, stated that the importance the society placed on men limits the social, political, educational and economic attainment of many women.
She said that ensuring gender justice is a job for everyone. “Gender equality awareness creation and empowering our young ones would improve the situation. Girls and women often face greater barriers due to cultural gender norms such as economic dependence, child marriage, rape among others.”
She went further to say that girls/women have greater share and burden of domestic roles and responsibilities, and often have limited influence over resources within the household and in society, while having greater needs for services, such as reproductive healthcare and childcare.
Also speaking at the training, Mr Dennis Onwuegbu of Men’s Fellowship updated participants on recent activities of Men Engage Global, Africa and Nigeria. He advised member organisations to always buttress their advocacy with recent data through research.
In her on contribution, Hajia Sekinah Lawal urged member organisations to double up their efforts aimed at creating the needed awareness on women empowerment, positive masculinity, end to FGM and all forms of violence while admonishing members to avail themselves of the optimal use of various social media handles to publicize their activities.
Participants at the two-day training commended the organisers of the training and called for more detailed training workshops to adequately equip members with all the needed tools for effective advocacy works.