As Nigeria commemorates the International Day of the Girl-Child on Oct. 11, the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria has reinforced Sweden’s commitment to supporting the actualisation of the rights of girls.
The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday when Plan International , an NGO, through its Girl Takeover Campaign, paid a courtesy visit on the ambassador.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2011, Plan International’s advocacy efforts at the UN resulted in International Day of the Girl being declared for the first time as an annual day of remembrance every Oct. 11.
Since then, the organisation has been organising ‘#GirlsTakeOver’ annually during which girls assume leadership roles in corporate and government institutions.
The International Day of the Girl is celebrated annually to promote the rights of girls by raising awareness on gender equality and inclusion, providing opportunities for girls to participate in influential roles, likewise, addressing the challenges faced by girls in general.
According to Hahn-Englund, gender equality is a priority for Sweden when it comes to cooperation with Nigeria, saying that such cooperation will further be strengthened to achieve the necessary goals.
“Gender equality is one of the milestones of the countries. There is need for concerted efforts to ensure same rights among genders to form the society and sector.
“Our goal for gender policy is to ensure that men and women have same power to form society, same possibility when it comes to work and economy and same possibility when it comes to education and personal development.
“There should be equal division when it comes to unpaid work at home, equality in terms of health and both men and women should have same possibility when it comes to integrity of the body,” she said.
Meanwhile, a Swedish Ambassador for a Day, stressed the need for girls to be acquainted with their human rights so as not to fall prey to early pregnancy.
She canvassed for education at primary level saying this would give the girl-child the motivation to defend their rights.
She also emphasised on the need to remove barriers on men’s job, thereby preventing the girl-child in choosing career of their choice.
“In 2012, a study conducted at the University of Abuja recorded that in the faculty of Civil Engineering, out of the 100 students in the faculty, only three were female.
“It has been observed that the girl-child has the capacity to excel in the ‘men’s jobs as it were, but are not given the opportunity.
“So, we are saying that give the girl-child the opportunity to do what they desire and remove the barrier of gender inequality,” she said.
Also, the immediate past Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, said that gender power would not be given except the agency of women were built.
She said that Nigeria lacked women representatives not because of scarcity of women but because women were not given the opportunity to showcase what they were made up of.
She said that a gender bill was introduced to address the issues of gender equality but was thrown out, stressing the need to form formidable force to ensure women representation and promotion in every aspect.
NAN also reports that the Girl Takeover Campaign by Plan International is an activity that provides an opportunity for young girls around the world to take over influencing roles and positions of power to support the global movement on gender equality and inclusion. (NAN)