The United Nations (UN) first recognised the Month of March as Women History Month which is an extension of International Women’s Day globally marked since March 8, 1975 as an annual celebration aimed at raising awareness about gender equality, accelerate gender parity, amplify the voices of women, highlight challenges and violations suffered by women and girls across the globe and celebrate women all geared towards achieving a fair and equitable world.
The Theme for the 2022 Women History Month is Providing Healing, Promoting Hope while the International Women’s Day is themed: “Breaking The Bias” This theme invites the whole of government and the whole of society to pause and reflect on where we are now in breaking the barriers hindering women’s equality, helping survivors through the process of building recovery and hope. It invites us to make deliberate efforts against all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), harmful cultural practices and stereotypes that affects women and girls while pushing for equity in family, socio-economic and political lives for all women and girls in Nigeria and across the world including Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
As worrisome as these indices are:
- 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner
- Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care
- Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday, while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).
- 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2017; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.
- 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited.
- Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
It is even more worrisome to imagine the inequalities that the COVID -19 pandemics has further created for women and girls; from pay disparities to domestic threats/violence, trafficking in persons for possible sexual exploitation and forced labour among others.
Many women still struggle to find their pride of place in the society and suffer many forms of violence against persons and human trafficking.
Justice Research Institute in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), FCT SGBV-RT, National Human Rights Commission and Civil Society Groups, and funding from Ford Foundation is continuing advocacy campaign against SGBV through broadcast, digital media and other means to further engage and inform the public about the NAPTIP short code, FCT SGBV-RT, Police GBV Unit, the referral pathways, the Sexual Assaults Referral Centres (SARCs), and the Naming and Shaming of offenders through the National Sexual Offenders Database (NSOD). This we achieve by deploying creative content on social media platforms and off-line broadcast radio media targeted at the general public.
The general public is hereby invited to join forces with the first responding agencies in the fight against SGBV, trafficking in persons and related crime that undermine the human rights and dignity of persons especially women and girls. We invite you all to look out for our content.