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Less than 10% women are in policy, decision-making positions – C’River Commissioner

By Chris Njoku

Mrs Edema Irom, Cross River’s Commissioner for Women Affairs says that only less than 10 per cent of women in the state were involved in the state’s policy and decision-making process.

Irom made the disclosure on Monday in Calabar during a press conference in commemoration of International Women’s Day, (IWD) with the theme “Inspire Inclusion” while the United Nations theme is Count her in: “Invest in women, accelerate progress.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IWD is commemorated annually on March 8 to celebrate women who have created an impact in society and to look at the challenges women go through in order to address them.

The commissioner said the percentage of women who benefit from agricultural grants and inputs in the state was not more than 29 per cent and many of them did not have access to land for agricultural purposes.

“Not more than 31 per cent of women are in charge of large-scale business because they lack access to land for collateral purposes.

“The percentage of women in information and Communication Technology in the state is very insignificant in comparison to their male counterparts, while the prevalence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) has been on the increase.

“Also, other vices such as transactional sex and other negative coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, human trafficking, rape, physical and emotional violence, Female Genital Mutilation, forced child marriage among others have also increased in the last three years,” she said.

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She maintained that the challenges were aggravated as a result of COVID-19, climate change, removal of fuel subsidy and other harsh economic policies.

She noted that as part of its responsibilities, the government of Cross River ought to provide support through cooperatives to facilitate access to soft loans for women and enable them to resuscitate and sustain their means of livelihood.

According to her, many women in the state were heads of households due to abandonment by their husbands, while some have lost their husbands to death and were being subjected to harmful traditional practices such as widowhood rites.

“As the government of Gov. Bassey Otu is committed to fighting for the rights of women and girls, all these challenges would be addressed.

“The state government has keyed into the Nigerian for Women Project and in the coming days, about 5000 women and girls in Cross River shall be beneficiaries,” she maintained. (NAN)

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