GENDER discrimination and domestic violence against women are common in Nigeria. The National Health Family Survey report revealed that close to 47% of men believed a husband was justified in hitting his wife. It also states that one in every three women in Nigeria has experienced emotional, physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
The problem of domestic violence intensified further during the extended periods of Covid-19-induced lockdowns. Being confined together in small spaces led to higher instances of interpersonal abuse and violence. Staying at home also added to the hardships already faced by women. Women have a disproportionate burden to care for the house and family and living with an abusive partner makes their situation more complex, putting their mental and physical health at risk.
Covid-19 left many people without jobs and there was uncertainty over salaries, which led to stressful situations in families, resulting in increased domestic violence, and women bore the brunt. The National Commission for Women has recorded an over two-fold rise in gender-based violence during the period. Our plan is to build a shelter and care for the people in need.
Girls and boys see gender inequality in their homes and communities every day – in textbooks, in the media and among the adults who care for them.
Parents may assume unequal responsibility for household work, with mothers bearing the brunt of caregiving and chores. The majority of low-skilled and underpaid community health workers who attend to children are also women, with limited opportunity for professional growth.
And in schools, many girls receive less support than boys to pursue the studies they choose. This happens for a variety of reasons: The safety, hygiene and sanitation needs of girls may be neglected, barring them from regularly attending class. Discriminatory teaching practices and education materials also produce gender gaps in learning and skills development. As a result, nearly 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are neither employed nor in education or training – compared to 1 in 10 boys.
In its most insidious form, gender inequality turns violent. Some 1 in 20 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 – around 13 million – have experienced forced sex. In times of both peace and conflict, adolescent girls face the highest risk of gender-based violence. Hundreds of millions of girls worldwide are still subjected to child marriage and female genital mutilation – even though both have been internationally recognized as human rights violations. And violence can occur at birth, like in places where female infanticide is known to persist.