Women need the support of men of goodwill – CDD Nigeria
Madam Idayat Hassan, the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Nigeria, says women need the support of “men of goodwill,” who, already occupying positions of power, are willing to keep the doors open for them.
She commended the initiatives like “HeForShe”, because it correctly identified that women needed solidarity partners in men for gender equality to thrive.
“We must find ways to entrench that thinking at the community level, where long standing societal norms have shaped the one-dimensional views of women in most of our communities,” Madam Hassan stated in her virtual presentation at the Regional Conference on Women, Peace and Security in Accra.
The Conference on the theme, “Our Stories, Lessons and Marching Forward”, was organised by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Partnership for Peace (P4P) Project and the G5 Sahel Secretariat.
It seeks to create a platform to exchange and share knowledge on progress made in the implementation of the WPS Agenda within the West African region.
Madam Hassan noted that another challenge was the ongoing conflict in the form of insurgency in West Africa; adding that women and girls often paid the highest price of insurgency as they were not only victims of extremists but militias and government forces.
Regarding exclusion of women in peacebuilding efforts, she said: “In the G5 (Sahel) countries, the focus has long been in securing women and children as victims of conflicts, rather than including women in the security and protective services.”
“However, the exclusion of women denies security and peacekeeping processes of the unique perspective and experiences women bring.”
She said that had dire implications not just on women, who often suffered a disproportionate share of the harm when peace failed, but also entire communities displaced by conflicts.
Madam Hassan said, however, that available data showed that women in peacebuilding represented about six per cent of police personnel, and a shocking zero per cent in the Armed Forces; declaring that “this is unacceptable”.
She said enhancing equal opportunities for men and women was, therefore, a key requirement for peace and development.
“Absolute consideration of a gender perspective in conflict prevention and resolution in the Sahel region has become necessary, as women and children are often the main victims of the ongoing conflicts.”
She said the challenges facing the Sahel region, especially that of security, had necessitated the engagement of different categories of the population of the Sahel to play a role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
On the way forward, Madam Hassan said across the region, there had been remarkable efforts going on which should be scaled up, replicated and publicised across the region.
Major General Francis Ofori, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, said women continued to demonstrate their capacity to support in the quest for peace and security.
However, it was important to underscore the shift in conflict from the inter-state through intra-state to non-state actors.
The Commandant said recognising the important role women played in the peace and security architecture and the absence of a mechanism to support the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda on the continent, the KAIPTC in 2010 established its Women Peace and Security Institute (WPSI).