THE violation of women’s rights both at the national and domestic strata have become burning and vexatious issues. What we find happening this country as regards the denial to women of certain privileges and rights, much more pervades other nations of the world to some varying degree and extent. In some countries women are never heard but they are only seen and are not offered opportunities to make their contributions to national growth and development.
THE refrain has always been that we are in a male dominated society and as such the dominance is carried over to other sectors of life, where it becomes very obvious that the male—folks are always in the position to wield power and control. However, the tendency to keep women at the background in most societies is derived from the tradition and custom of old in predominantly medieval communities where women are consigned to basic task of up-keeping of the home and the rearing and hearing of children.
AGAIN, there is the perceived social and environmental factors that women are not endowed with equal natural abilities seen against the superiority and innate physical attributes of man, which makes him the stronger sex while she women are regarded as the weaker sex.
WHILE it is still in contention that women are spiritually more gifted than the men, there are however, certain, religions practices in traditional, religion, Christianity and Islam, and many other faith-exercising beliefs where women are barred from priestly role for reasons peculiar to those faith.
OVER the years, however, women have risen to these challenges to combat and eliminate these practices and to elevate womanhood to the pedestal of dignity and to take their pride of place in society.
THESE situations have also given rise to such concepts as women liberation and women empowerment to such extent it appears that there has been an attempt to rewrite the English language to make it reflect the sense of womanhood where such words as “Chairman” and “mankind” are facing the challenges of some etymologists and lexical experts to make them lose their male connotations.
WHILE the war to institute the female privilege and the sense of womanhood in the language sector is a continuing one, there are still other areas of human endeavour where our womenfolk are carrying on the battle. It is a matter of fact, that women more often than not now concern themselves with issues such as the problem of development, female health reproductive issues, prostitution, trafficking in women, wife-battering and the political participation of women in the affairs of state.
FOR instance, a study by the population reference bureau, “conveying concerns: women write on Reproductive Health,” indicate that the global community is beginning to recognize crucial, yet long overlooked piece of development puzzle. The study states that the ideas and participation of women are essential for planning appropriate, comprehensive and effective development programs.
A DEVELOPMENT effort of particular significance to women, it says is the design of reproductive health policies and programmes to meet the needs of all women, at different stages In their reproductive lives, Irons different socio economic setting, of different religious and cultural backgrounds.
IT also noted that efforts in the past to provide women, reproductive health services seemed to have been implanted without fully understanding the needs and sensitivities of the women they were to serve, following ‘which many women and women’s group because disillusioned with the development process.
HOWEVER, “the increasing problem that women face in our world is that of discrimination which is occasioned by traditional practices in all ramifications, even discrimination in office places and in appointments. In effect, no matter how highly placed a woman might be in respect of achievements and in office; her status is still low because of male chauvinism and its dominating characteristics not to regard a woman’s profile as worth anything not even by even who may have achieved less.
WOMEN’s standing has risen dramatically in recent times due mainly to their efforts and that of the international community and many non governmental organizations who insist on use rights and privileges which not only they should take Irons society between the constitutions and codes of human freedom had also conferred on them.
IN this regard a number of international decisions which have helped to legitimize the rights and privileges of women include the 1952 convention on the political rights of women, the 1979 convention on the political rights of women, the 1979 convention on the elimination of Discrimination ‘Against Women and the 1995 Beijing Conference, Chin sponsored by she Untied Nations. It was the fourth world conference on women with 189 governments and 2,600 non-governmental groups in attendance. RESOLUTIONS at the conference agreed to a set of strategic objectives and action including efforts to advance the role of women in politics and environment stewardship.
BESIDES, the Commonwealth has also been committed to the problem of gender inequality and presented plan of action at the Beijing Conference as well as an-update to it in 4997. AT this point, we urge women groups yearning for improvements in women conditions nationally and globally to pursue the course relentlessly and not give up. Further, we implore the Nigerian government and other nations globally to address the socio-cultural factors that hinder women from the realization of their full potentials.