Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Mother’s Day 2020: Rights-Holder Appraise Women, Seeks Policy To Empower Them

To mark Mother’s Day 2020, a not-for-profit organization, Rights-holders of Ngwo community, Enugu state under the aegis of The Voice Nigeria project implemented by Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre, MAMA Centre, has celebrated  the  role of Nigerian women, especially the Rights-holder, describing them as life givers and hope to the younger generations.




Speaking to journalists, the Leader and Champion, Rights-holder Ngwo Community, Mrs. Grace Oriaku said, "We celebrate women as life givers and hope to the younger generations despite the ongoing moment of socio-economic tension and uncertainty filled with greater discomfort at all levels."




Oriaku said the Group, Rights-holder appreciate both hidden and open sacrifices endured by women while nourishing socially-imposed burdens of motherhood and beyond.




According to the Leader and Champion, Rights-holder, "While we acknowledge the greater responsibilities of the rightholders with spirited independency in significant contribution to the upbringing of a healthy generation and building solid society, we maintain our position that women at all spheres possess their own rights with potential, wisdom, talents and skill that they can contribute to develop the country. Hence, enabling policy environment for gender equality is an imperative for progress on social and economic emancipation and development."




Applauding Nigerian women for their immeasurable contributions particularly the rightholders who work tirelessly, Oriaku said, despite the litte incomes received by women, they go to great lengths in making sure that their children get an education, as it’s key to ending the existing cycle of poverty and opening up equal opportunities for girls and boys. 




She commended the role of mothers across cultures, and rightholders in particular who in moment of economic downturn serve as the gatekeepers of food and nutritional security in their households and communities, while ensuring the availability, accessibility, management and utilization of food supplies.




The Rights-holders leader and champion added that there is need to celebrate mothers who constantly uphold strong position in support of gender justice, rights and freedoms for women in all spheres of life.




"More girls go to school today than ever before, and more women are working, thanks to the mothers and sisters who marched on the streets, lobbied governments and drafted laws, citing that, New Zealand was the first self-governing country to grant national voting rights to women in 1893, and that stemmed from the activism of another mother, and its most celebrated suffragist, Kate Sheppard.




"We are not unaware of the related but under-reported dangers mothers undergo on daily basis both in pregnancy and child birth in Nigeria, where every 10 minutes one woman dies from conditions associated with childbirth with only 39 percent births take place with assistance of medically trained personnel, in addition to scarcity of skilled attendants, absence of personnel among other factors impeding effective maternal health care services."




Rights-holders are worried by the persistent discrimination mothers face at workplace during pregnancy with resultant undervalue, dismissal or demotion when they rejoin the workforce after giving birth and caring for their children, adding that this intrinsic challenge continues to widen a lifetime of income inequality between men and women in all spheres.






Other members of the Rights-holders Group; Mrs. Ozorgwu Chinyere, Okwor Chinwedu, Mrs. Caroline Ume-Ani and Mrs. Mercy Anyi along with Oriaku jointly, demanded for stronger policies to secure rights, equality and dignity of mothers in all spheres through sincere political commitment. This includes promoting representation, passage and assent into the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill; with targeted political will for the adoption and full implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act at all levels.




The rest are increasing maternal health budgetary allocation, timely release, judicious utilisation and cash-backing to restore mothers’ dignity and rights as well as massive recruitment of additional skilled health care workers to efficiently administer maternal health care services at facility levels.




Rights-holders also called for more proactive policy actions for women empowerment to encourage self-reliance and socio-economic self-sustainability of women including rightholders. 




According  to them the policies should include a holistically instituted reporting system, mechanism to ease and encourage complaints process and efficiently address reported cases of violence against women at all levels.








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