[By Aniekan Aniekan Calabar]
The Commissioner for Women Affairs in Cross River State, Rita Agim said the Covid-19 pandemic is adversely affecting women including limiting their participation in leadership.
She made the claim on Monday in Calabar during the celebration of the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
This celebration is themed Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 world.
She said, “in addition to persistent pre-existing social and systematic barriers to women’s participation and leadership, new barriers have emerged with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, women are facing increased domestic violence, unemployment, poverty and disproportionate representation in national and global Covid-19 policy spheres.
“To uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women leadership, the perspectives of women and girls in all their diversity must be integrated in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in all stages of the pandemic response and recovery.”
She commended the State governor, Ben Ayade for ensuring gender parity by appointing over 200 women in his administration.
She called on the Federal Government to demonstrate the political will and ensure that more women are properly integrated.
An executive director with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Natalia Kanem urged women to take up leadership positions because it is their right.
She identified lack of bodily autonomy as a challenge affecting women from attaining leadership positions and stressed that they should excercise the right to make basic decisions about their bodies.
The president of the Cross River Women Emancipation Initiative, Etieka Lawrencia Ita (JP) called for an end to women exclusion in national policies.
She called on women to key into the initiatives already established by the state government.