Let’s Empower Our Women, Girls To Make Decisions About Their Lives and Health – Ipas

… Calls For Joint Efforts To Accelerate Investments for Gender Equality


In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Ipas Nigeria Health Foundation calls for multiple stakeholders to target investments that empower women and girls to make decisions about their lives and health, enabling them to achieve bodily autonomy and reach their full potential.

In alignment with the theme – “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, Ipas Nigeria joins her voice to amplify the campaign that enables women to achieve progress for empowerment, equality, and progress.

According to the World Economic Report, Nigeria ranks 122 out of 144 countries on the Gender Gap Index.

Gender inequality is widespread within various areas, including access to health services, access to economic livelihoods, enforcement of legal rights, and societal norms.

The inherent gaps in these areas reinforce gender inequality even further as women and girls recurrently face barriers that limit their ability to self-determine critical life decisions, including decisions on their sexual reproductive health.

It is worse for women in vulnerable communities and women with disabilities. Women already living in poverty have higher rates of unintended pregnancies due to livelihood vulnerabilitiees, are unable to afford contraception, are less educated than their peers, and lack knowledge about or access to sexual and reproductive health.

Furthermore, societal ills, including gender-based violence, remain widespread, further creating adverse effects on women’s livelihoods, health and social well-being. Ipas Nigeria’s recent research indicates that a staggering 76% of women and girls (aged 15 – 49) have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

3 out of 25 of the surveyed population that suffered rape resulted in unwanted pregnancies. The prevailing culture of silence, perpetuated by cultural and religious norms, further stigmatizes survivors of sexual violence, hindering their ability to seek justice, support and

There is no doubt that litle progress has been made to reach equality over the years, but much more is yet to be done to tackle gender inequality on a larger scale.

To achieve progress with the Sustainable Development Goals, concerted human rights-based efforts must be driven through multisectoral approaches to ensure gender equality is achieved at multiple levels for sustainable empowerment of Nigerian Women irrespective of social status and economic background.

Investments must be targeted by the key ministries and parastatals, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice and the private sector, to address the gaps in the various sectors in health and legal reforms that reinforce women and girls’ disempowerment, therefore limiting their ability to achieve gender equality and empowerment.

Lucky Palmer, the Country Director of Ipas Nigeria Health Foundation, says: “it is mind boggling that women continue to bear the brunt of multiple gaps within our society. Gender inequality has reinforced some of the gaps that we see around us, and this is exemplified in some worrisome statistics:

Every 6 in 10 abortions are unsafe, Nigeria has one of the highest maternal deaths in the world, with 1047 deaths per every 100,000 live births, with unsafe abortions contribuying over 15%. Its time for stakeholders to work collaboratively in directing investments that eliminate entrenched gender disparities and empower women and girls to make decisions that affect them, including sexual and reproductive decisions devoid of coercion.’’

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