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Achieving Gender Equality through the NGP 

The National Gender Policy (NGP) represents a set of minimum standards expected of the Nigerian Government to meet its mandate for gender equality, good governance, accountability, and being socially responsive to the needs of its vulnerable groups. Equity remains the foundation of the core principle of Agenda 2030 - ‘leave no one behind’. By implication, achieving this core principle demands that ‘gendered power relations’ which serve as triggers of social, political, cultural, and economic exclusion are dealt with, while the benefits of sustainable development are extended to groups that are routinely and structurally excluded, that is, women, girls, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and the poor among others. The policy (NGP) is also in consonant with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the supreme law of the land, which includes specific provisions protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Notably, progress and development in human societies require the participation of both men and women. However, it is a truism that women have been historically marginalised in all spheres of life including social, economic, and political spheres. This anomaly has been recognised globally and it has become accepted that issues of women’s human rights are important for any meaningful development to take place. Apart from social justice, which demands equal opportunity for all citizens, it is smart economics to plan with both halves of one’s population because it benefits society as a whole. Investing in women and girls does not only create a positive development cycle, the opposite is also adjudged to be true, that is, a country that fails to empower half of its population will suffer from lower productivity, slower economic growth, and weaker development outcomes.

Women make up about 50% of Nigeria’s population (UN Women, 2019). Considering both the intrinsic and extrinsic values of gender equality, women and girls are now seen as very central to Nigeria’s transformative agenda, without which it will be difficult to achieve any sustainable development and growth. Families are healthier, safer, and better nourished when the women raising them are more knowledgeable and capable of meeting their needs. Development standpoints on women’s needs and welfare are also helping to refocus attention on the situation of girls across nations. If resources reach women and girls early, transformative change can happen quickly, while poverty can be stopped before it starts. The invincibility of this standpoint was aptly noted in the UNDP perspective on the gender debate, that ‘a development that is not engendered is endangered’ (Human Development Report, 1995). Simply, to achieve sustainable development, countries must plan with their men and women, and focus on their unique needs and preferences.

Download the full Policy here.

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