Politics, Religion, and Feminine Economic Empowerment in Africa 4 (Final)

Feminine Economic Empowerment:

Women empowerment continues to be a topical issue at the center of most discussion and dialogue sessions at various levels and organs of governance. The issue has become even more crucial in the face of rising poverty, maternal mortality, epidemics, and general fall in the standard of living across the developing economies of sub-Saharan Africa and other third-world economies. Affirmative action is usually a measure intended to supplement non-discrimination; it broadly encompasses a host of policies that seek to support vulnerable groups in society. They include policies where deliberate action is used to Stop Discrimination.

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In 1979, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the ‘Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – (CEDAW). Since its adoption, it has become a reference point for the women’s movement in demand for gender equality. African women are clamoring for 35% affirmative action. It is not the use of ‘Affirmative Action’ that seems to be the problem but the practical effects and its linkage to fundamental ideas of fairness and justice. The stronger argument for gender-based affirmative action is just a token for equal representation in a country where women have been continuously sidelined in public life to the extent that they have never held more than 15% of both appointive and elective offices.

Unlike the constitutions of some African Countries, i.e., South Africa and Uganda, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria takes no cognizance of the disadvantaged position of women and has no provision for gender equality. Apart from the general reference to non-discrimination based on sex, there is nothing in the constitution aimed at addressing the disparities that exist along gender lines in Nigeria.

Women are tailor-made as a true helpmeet for men and are well endowed with native intelligence and resources to change any nation effectively. They are vessels of transformation and a source of inspiration to men. In political-historical experience, women have rendered valuable contributions to the struggle for liberation and national development. They constitute a reservoir of energy and dynamism for any national struggle; if they are mobilized and fully integrated into the nation’s social fabric. Women constitute a militant force in any political system, so nurturing African women for specific roles is very important. Women must help in modeling and re-modeling social-political decisions and policies because they are stakeholders in the smooth running of society.

Challenges Facing Women in Africa:

  1. Virility Deficiency,
  2. Economic Disadvantage,
  3. Discriminatory Customs and Laws,
  4. Lack of Adequate Education, and
  5. Lack of Affirmative Action Quota (ACQ)

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