Benin City – The Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Gender Issues, Hon. Andrew Adaze Ewanta, Esq said Women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion have been recognized as key to achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Hon. Ewanta said this in a workshop on drafting and developing a legislative bill titled: ‘A Bill for Urban Poor and Rural Women in Edo State’, in Benin City.

According to him, “Women’s Economic Justice is defined as the fulfillment of women’s fundamental human right to economic resources and the power to make decisions that affect their lives. This requires women to have equitable access to, and control over, economic resources, including by having the time and opportunity to engage in economic activities.

“It also requires changes to discriminatory social norms and economic structures, laws, policies and practices that marginalize women.

“The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. The Convention defines discrimination against women as ‘…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.’ The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life, including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health and employment. States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“The disadvantages and discrimination faced by women and girls severely limits their ability to lift themselves out of poverty. As a result, women are more likely to work in informal, low-income jobs with exploitative and unequal working conditions, and have restricted access to affordable, quality financial products and services, like a savings account or small loan.

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a path for poverty reduction and for advanced gender equality. Women need to be empowered to build better livelihoods, earn more income, and create businesses that provide jobs and boost local economies.

“As a result, any collaborative effort amongst stakeholders that focuses on supporting women to access financial services, participate dignified work, to thrive as entrepreneurs and small-scale producers; changing the discriminatory social norms and economic structures, laws, policies, and practices that marginalize women should be encouraged and given utmost support,” he said.