By Oluwatope Lawanson

Some stakeholders have advocated for the inclusion of more women in decision making processes at all the three tiers of government.

The stakeholders made the call at a community dialogue organised by Women Liberation and Transformation Group (W-LIT) on Thursday in Lagos.

The dialogue, sub-granted by Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), was funded by Ford Foundation.

The theme of the meeting was: “Building Community Level Accountability Mechanism and Enhancing Collaboration Between Women Leaders and Traditional Institutions in Addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV).”

The participants in attendance included women leaders from all spheres of life, including market women, educationists, artisans, religious leaders, parents and people living with disabilities.

The W-LIT President, Mrs Olanike Mic-Taiwo, said the essence of the community dialogue was to build solidarity, accountability and commitment to Ending Violence Against Women and Girls in Lagos State

According to her, we want government to give women a voice, especially in the communities.

She urged government to enact a law mandating the inclusion of more women in the decision making process.

“Therefore, the women need to be involved in policy making, especially when it comes to decisions that has to do with them.

“Let them be able to speak and make decisions that has to do with their development and the development of the communities.

“The women of this country are not second class citizens, they are people of value and economic resources that government needs to tap into,” she said.

She added that government needed to propagate more awareness and sensitisation programmes in communities in order to end gender based violence and violence against women and the girl-child.

According to her, part of the drivers of violence is poverty and economic challenge.

She, therefore, urged government to do more in terms of empowerment programmes,  especially at the local level, adding that government should focus more on those at the grassroots.

Also speaking, Mrs Modupe Olufojude, the Iya Oloja General, Shomolu Local Government Area, advised against using sentiments in addressing cases of violence, sexual assault and other vices.

She urged government to create more awareness on the implications of gender based violence and violence against women and the girl-child.

Olufojude also urged parents to pay more attention to the needs of their children both emotionally, socially and spiritually.

She advised government to punish perpetrators of GBV severely to serve as deterrent to others.

“The reason why perpetrators are having field day mostly is because they are being covered up by family members, community leaders and friends,” she said.

Similarly, Mrs Tina Oladipo, President, Lagos State Caterers and Decorators Association, said that in order to curb gender based violence in the community, there should be no bias when punishing perpetrators.

She said: “Perpetrators should not be covered up or protected but should be exposed and made to face the wrath of the law and punished accordingly.”

In conclusion, the forum stressed the need for parents to spend quality time with their children as charity begins from the home.

“Parents should not leave their responsibilities/parental duties in the hands of strangers, friends, neighbours and other family members.

“They should monitor their children’s activities, especially on social media platforms, and teach them the implications of violating rules,” the women said.

The forum also urged government to empower more women at the grassroots in order to end gender based violence in the communities and make more women to be financially independent.


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