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Groups task govts on women’s access to education, health

Women advocacy groups on Saturday urged governments at all levels to create an enabling environment to protect the rights of women to have access to health, education and economic growth.

They made the appeal in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, to mark the 2014 International Women’s Day on every March 8.

NAN reports that International Women’s Day is to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world’s attention on areas requiring further action.

The theme for 2014 is entitled: “Inspiring Change” which calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

Dr Akudo Anyanwu-Ikemba, the Founder, Friends Africa Initiative, said that every woman has a right to dream and enjoy the benefit of a high quality and long life.

Anyanwu-Ikemba said that many Nigerian women had continued to suffer stigma and discrimination due to their HIV status.

She added that most Nigerian women were subjected to violence, increased maternal and infant mortality, lack of access to education and clean drinking water.

According to her, these have contributed to increased poverty in the country.

“Access to education will help women to claim their rights and realise their potential in the economic, political and social arenas.

“If we increase our commitment to domestic financing for health, these women will one day be assured of the right and opportunity to lead healthier and more connected lives,” she said.

In her remark, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, the President of Women Arise, an NGO, called for active participation of women in the nation’s polity.

Okei-Odumakin also urged the Federal Government to domesticate the international treaties on women into the nation’s constitution to enable more women to take active part in politics.

She regretted that non domestication of such treaties had kept a lot of women from active participation in politics.

“Women can contribute positively in the home, community and the society at large, if given the opportunity.

“Women must be allowed to contribute their quotas in every sphere to find lasting solutions to the problems of Nigeria,” Okei-Odumakin said.

Also, Mrs Jessica Ndupu, the Executive Director of the Society for Support and Welfare of under Privileged, urged governments to invest in women empowerment programmes.

Ndupu said that training and equipping women in acquiring knowledge would go a long way in reducing poverty and corruption in the society.

“If a woman is self-reliant, a great burden will be removed from her husband and the society as well as she will be able to contribute meaningfully to the national development,” she said.

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