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IWD: Labour unions call for gender equality at workplaces

By Gloria Nwafor 
14 March 2023   |   2:45 am
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), have reiterated their commitment to the adoption...

Festus Osifo

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), have reiterated their commitment to the adoption, implementation of policies and strategies that promote gender equality in workplaces, unions and the labour movement.

The unions made the pledge while felicitating with women on the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD). In separate statements, NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, said this was the right time to commemorate the political, socio-economic achievement and rights of women at home, workplace, union, society and the nation at large.

The NLC called on government, employers and trade unions to adopt strategies for the implementation of the ratified International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 for the realisation and protection of women’s right, increased productivity and dignity at work.

It called on government and stakeholders to adopt gender responsive approach to governance, service delivery, education, development and civic engagement aimed at addressing all forms of gender inequality towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It also advocated the proper implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015, which prohibits all forms of violence against persons in both private and public life, provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims, as well as punishment for offenders.

President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, who said this year’s theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” with a campaign theme #embraceequity, highlighted the need to harness the power of innovation and technology to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

He said the union recognised their potential and committed to leveraging technology to support women’s advancement in the oil and gas industry. He said a sustainable future was dependent upon development of inclusiveness for transformative technology and digital education.

He expressed hope for the future if women braces up to involvement in the tech field, breaking down barriers and making giant strides in the industry. He said innovation and technology have the potential to create more opportunities for women, reduce gender disparities, promote digital literacy, reduce cyber bullying, increase employment opportunities and enhance productivity, as well as breakdown traditional barriers.

However, he said it was important to ensure that technology is developed and used in a way that is all-encompassing and does not reinforce existing gender biases.

Osifo, who bemoaned the huge disparity of women in the digital space, proffered measures that must be embraced to promote women engagement in innovation and technology for gender equity

Similarly, MWUN promised support for inclusiveness for women in decision-making roles in their various professions.

The maritime union said women have developed capacities that can make them succeed in their various endeavours.

The statement reads: “We are proud to associate with you, especially the women in Nigeria who have contributed immensely to the growth of the home fronts and in building of the nation in their various fields of human endeavours.

“The Union will continue to support women inclusiveness. As a union, we celebrate with you on this occasion of the International Women’s day. The leadership of the union under the leadership of the Presidential General, Adewale Adeyanju wish to congratulate you all, while wishing you a successful celebration.”