The NGO, Connecting Gender for Development, (COGEN), has said it is training women in four states of the north-west region of Nigeria; Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara states on entrepreneurship.
The Executive Director of COGEN, Ms Ngukwase Surma, disclosed on Wednesday at a virtual team meeting to launch the project; Urgent Action Fund – Africa and, also inaugurate the Network of Women’s Group’s for Economic Justice, (NWGE) in the region.
She informed participants that the project, funded by Urgent Action Fund – Africa will empower women regardless of status in all the four states to access economic justice through sustainable livelihoods; and also create networks to enable beneficiaries access government economic opportunities.
The ED further said the project will work with women and girls, including women with disability and internally displaced women between ages 12 to 60 y.o drawn mostly from rural and peri-urban settings.
“This project will enhanced capacity of women and girls to increase incomes and improved livelihoods and better positioned them to access government economic support.
“Increased awareness of government MDAs that employ graduates of STEM subjects to mainstream gender in employment. NWGE members will monitor for long term impact post project.
“Increased grantee capacity and ability to reach new communities and attract funding in the area of economic justice for women,” she added.
In his presentation titled: “Economic Justice and Empowerment for Women in North-West Nigeria”, a lecturer with the Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse, Jamal Ali Ahmed, said boosting women’s economic empowerment is a key to achieving gender equality, but pervasive social norms and discrimination has continued to keep them from thriving in the workforce.
He also said economic empowerment of women is a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs).
The don who defined economic Justice as “a set of moral principles for building economic institutions, the ultimate goal of which is to create an opportunity for each person to create a sufficient material foundation upon which to have a dignified, productive, and creative life beyond economics,” said gender equality and empowered women are catalysts for multiplying development efforts.
He outlined five ways to promote women’s economic empowerment to include; ensure women are equipped to participate in the economy fully; enforcement of policies and social protection systems for women;
Others are; recognize unpaid labour as work; invest in women’s organizations and businesses; and creation of decent work for women.
According to him, the challenge is huge and so are the positive impacts this would have on poverty alleviation and the global economy.
“As part of this global effort small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can play a key and leading role creating new opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.
“Data and research show that increased gender equality does not only help the wider economy but also has tangible benefits for the individual enterprise making this a win-win case for impact driven investors,” he posited.