Nobody would ever deny that the African woman is the background of the community and society. Yes, it is equally undeniable that gender parity is a long way away in Africa. In fact, according to women’s rights champions such as Senator Nenadi Usman, the battle has only just started.
Senator Nenadi Usman Fights for Women’s Equality
The oppression of women and the need to empower women across the African continent is something that has long been discussed. However, the Senator has decided that rather than simply placing it on the agenda, women’s empowerment needs to be the agenda. She acknowledges that considerable gains have been made for the place of the African woman in the social, economic, and political development of Africa. At the same time, women are still socially excluded, and marginalized when applying for jobs, struggle to be accepted in positions of power, often cannot own land, face educational and healthcare disparity, and may not be able to inherit property.
A lot of African women are also stopped from progressing because of gender based violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and often face the risk of child marriage. Governments all state they recognize this issue and that women should be given equal access to services and opportunities. Unfortunately, most only pay lip service to what is now known as the Maputo Protocol. For Senator Nenadi Usman, making the Maputo Protocol a reality in her country of Nigeria is a main goal.
Indeed, the Senator has been incredibly vocal about how vital is that women become empowered across the continent and not just Nigeria. She feels women should be better represented in government, in private and public institutions, and in the judiciary. More than anything, women should be present at the various peace negotiations that take place across the continents. She also cites the Millennium Development Goals, which have been adopted globally and look specifically at issues that have an impact on both women and children.
Some of the African countries, including Nigeria, are the fastest growing economies in the world. It is vital therefore, that women are given the opportunity to play a role in this growth. They should be an integral part of the overall development strategies of the Continent. Women and girls should no longer be seen as merely a statistic. They should be empowered and the current status quo should learn to act after they have met with women, engaged in dialogue, and actually listen to what has been said.
For many years it has been said that Africa is bleeding. Over the last few years however, it has been said that Africa is rising. The Senator believes, however, that Africa will not ever be able to rise to its full potential so long as it’s women continue to bleed. She will fight tooth and nail to insure women have access to education, to health care, to human rights, and two opportunities. That is how the African woman will truly be able to become empowered.