Professor of Sociology, Lagos State University, (LASU), Ojo, Professor Olabisi Sherifat Yussuf has proposed ways to curb gender inequality in the country.
Speaking this while delivering the 88th inaugural lecture of the University entitled: Gender Equality is Equal to what? What do Women Want? What Women Should Want from the Triads in Nigeria, Professor Yussuf, said gender equality is equal to situation where women will be free from every form of harassment and discrimination and where they will be given equal level playing ground with men and women developmental resources.
According to her; “Gender equality means that women want equal access to resources that would make their lives meaningful and enable them to achieve and utilize their God’s given capabilities irrespective of patriarchal structure.”
She also added that women want freedom from harmful traditional practices and hindrances that are fully supported by men and women.
She however said Nigeria is far behind in achieving gender equality, “For example Nigeria currently ranks among countries with the lowest rate of women representation in parliaments, across the world, ranking 186 out of 193 countries globally.
Aside politics, the Sociologist also explained that gender inequality also exist in trade, property ownership, health, marriage, leadership positions among others.
Of recent she also stated that gender based violence is also on the rise with women at the receiving end.
Giving the solutions, Prof. Yusuf said decreasing violence against women and girls requires a community-based, multi-prolonged approach and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders.
She said; “Addressing gender-based violence in universities and research organisations is a crucial endeavour, as it will enable a better, evidence-based, and robust understanding of the magnitude of the issue.
The lecturer however said strategies for elimination of intimate spousal violence cannot be achieved unless they are also rooted in culture, adding that, “’though the process may be slow, the change should start now.”
She proposed a creation of Institute of Gender and Development Studies to curb gender inequality in the country.
The institute according to her, will explore how gender studies or analyses are necessary across numerous disciplines and how the institute will be central to the transformation towards greater sustainability, equality and social justice.
She explained further on this that; “efforts in correcting the anomalies should include total grass roots involvement, religious leaders should be carried along in the move for change as they can provide a veritable avenue for the dissemination of the idea.”
“For example Nigeria currently ranks among countries with the lowest rate of women representation in parliaments, across the world, ranking 186 out of 193 countries globally.Prof. Olabisi Sherifat Yusuf
Prof. Yusuf also indicated that Federal, state, local government and traditional rulers who are custodians of culture, non-governmental organizations, men and women are all needed to achieve the necessary change against the high -level discriminatory practices on women’s inheritance and ownership.
“It may not be easy considering that in the final analysis, the issue has to be legislated upon and passed into law, and most of the legislators are men with their inherent biases,’ she said.