ABUJA – Mr. Patrick Perez, the Director, French Institute  in Abuja has urged government at all levels to make policies on discrimination against women a priority.
Perez made the call at the 2015 edition of All Women Visual Art exhibition on the theme: Shades of Unity, Women Make It Happen”.
“We must rally in support of this cause, in spite of all the extraordinary progress made globally on the right of women.
“No country can pretend to have eradicated discrimination against women.
“We must carry on all fronts, judicial rights of women, personal rights of women, access to education, integration to public life and all level of political and business life.
“This is why the defence of women right, promotion of equality between women and men and the struggle against violence based on gender must be key priorities in government policies at all levels,’’ he said.
Perez said that the institute in collaboration with the Female Artists Association of Nigeria (FEAAN), decided to mark the International Women Day by sharing in the exhibition of works of 40 women artists.
Mrs. Dayo Keshi, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) said that women’s role in development had received global attention in the last two decades.
Keshi, who declared the exhibition open said that the fourth world conference on women held in 1995 endorsed gender mainstreaming and other yardsticks enunciated in Beijing platform.
She said that the platforms were critical for achieving gender equality.
Keshi said that Nigeria had taken giant strides in implementing the recommendation of these global platforms for improving the condition and situation of women.
She said that these actions led to the 33 per cent women participation of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Keshi commended the association for its contribution to national development through the talent and creativity of their works to induce positive changes in Nigeria and promote women’s rights.
The President of FEAAN, Mrs. Ngozi Akande said that the theme of the exhibition was dear to her heart because where there is unity, peace strives but in times of conflict, women bore the brunt.
“Women are abused, abandoned to care for their children, they suffer violence from militants, they are hungry and malnourished, they are displaced and they suffer psychologically.
“Disunity brings hatred and strife. We the women of Nigeria through our creativity and ingenuity present works of art with different shades of unity in painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles pottery and designs.
“This exhibition is to touch on issues that concern women and their needs.
“The visual expression and their themes speak to the conscience of the society and expect that the voices of female art professionals are heard.”
Akande said that this was the association’s contribution to the promotion of the Nigerian project, dignity of women and encouraging the women to come out and speak through art works.
The week long exhibition will showcase 40 works of female artists speaking against violence against women calling for peace.
Some of the women are Prof. Anita Nwanze, a contemporary painter and an art historian, Anita Onkala, a painter, Anita Asachaya, a sculpture, Fatima Silas, specialises in graphic arts and ceramics, and Dogun Onajite, a painter.