CWP CALLS FOR MITIGATION OF EFFECTS OF COVID – 19 ON WOMEN AND GIRLS
The Nigeria National Branch hosted the CWP Annual Sensitization Virtual Workshop from Thursday, 17th to Friday, 18th December 2020. The Workshop whose theme was “Gender and Covid-19: Country Response”, was to serve as catalyst for CWP (Africa Region) to ensure that the effects of Covid-19 on women of the Region are mitigated. Twenty five participants from Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania took part in the workshop.
Reflecting on the theme of the workshop Hon. Zainab noted the pandemic have put women in a very precarious situation as they have lost their source of livelihood and decision dealing with the pandemic and its effects were taken largely by men. She therefore urged members of the CWP, to use the opportunity offered by the workshop to play important role in the drive to find innovative solutions to the challenges affecting women.
In her goodwill message, Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, Chairperson, CWP (International) noted that the CPA and CWP have been actively engaged on different issues to ensure that women voices were heard. Hon. Shandana also said that women have been worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. She enjoined Women Parliamentarians to ensure that the sensitization guidelines are spread wide to facilitate its implementation by all Branches.
On his side, Mr. Stephen Twigg the CPA Secretary General, while delivering his goodwill message he said that he was pleased to participate in the workshop. He thanked Hon. Zainab Gimba, Chairperson of CWP (Africa) and the Regional Secretariat for organizing the workshop. The Secretary General noted that ‘women have been worst hit by the horrific impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and that the workshop was timely and relevant to efforts aimed at mitigating its impact on women’.
In his goodwill message to participants, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker and President-Designate, represented by Hon. Onanuga Adewumi Oriomi said it was commendable that the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians was taking a critical look at country responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic to ensure a gender dimension to such responses. He noted that since its founding in 1989, the CWP had continued to ensure that women’s issues are brought to the fore in parliamentary debates and legislation. Hon. Gbajabiamila expressed confidence that the workshop would be a positive addition to the noble agenda of the CWP. He also called on the African Government to address issues affecting women as a result of the virus in order to learn vital lessons.
Conversely, Hon. Francesca Tengera, a member of CWP Africa Steering Committee urged members of CWP to continue to work together for the emancipation of Africa women. Moreover, she noted that the workshop was enriching and interactive and hoped that participants would make good use of the lessons learnt at the workshop.
At the conclusion of the workshop, participants agreed on the following:-
- Women should have access to up-to-date public health and support information on COVID-19;
- Adoption of specific measures; such as funding for women organization involve in the fight against domestic violence and strengthening of the special units within the police to deal with domestic violence during COVID-19;
- Governments must also ensure that girls and young women are re-enrolled and returned to the classroom and strengthening of advocacy for girl’s education;
- Inclusion of women in decision making structure in the health sector and funding of research on gender implication of public health emergencies would also help address the health-related harm faced by women health workers during COVID-19;
- Support for women’s engagement in higher-value agricultural activities such as cash crop production, and other women friendly policies that enhances employment and financial status of women;
- Encourage the enshrinement of the 35 percent affirmative action in the constitution to create political space for women.
- Encourage the enactment of relevant gender equality laws and advocacy for increased women participation in parliament by government and civil society organizations as useful tools to create an inclusive parliament;
- Government programmes and interventions should involve universal female education, improved reproductive health and more credit facilities for women