Nigeria may lose $8.55bn to gender gap
Team Lead, Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), Bukola Idowu, said Nigeria might lose $8.55 billion by 2025 if the gender gap in the labour force is not closed.
He stated that Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by nine per cent in 2025 if the gaps between women and men are closed in the workforce. This is equal to an overall gain of $89 billion or $489 per person.
He said this at the one-day gender-sensitive reporting training for media personnel to support women’s political participation, held in Lagos.
“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) rightly posited that sub-Saharan Africa estimated total yearly economic losses stand at $95 billion due to gender gaps in the labour market and could be as high as $105 billion, which is six per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Uniting the Council of Foreign Relations projection of a nine per cent GDP increase by 2025 with the UNDP estimate, Nigeria may also lose $8.55 billion by 2025 if the gender gaps are not close in the labour force,” he stated.
Idowu also noted that if Nigeria achieves gender equality, especially in the political space, the country may likely spend 6.87 per cent ($66.4 billion) less of its current security spending, which is higher than the less than five per cent defence budget spent to increase women’s political representation.
He lamented the reduction of women candidates in the just-concluded general elections as compared to the previous one.
“There were 3,032, which was 12.9 per cent female candidacy in the 2019 general elections as compared to 1557, which is 10.2 per cent in the just-concluded 2023 elections.
“Out of 419 governorship candidates, 25 were women. There were 1,101 senatorial candidates, out of which 92 were female. 286 out of 3,111 candidates for House of Representatives were women and 1,051 out of 10,217 of state Houses of Assembly were female,” he added.
Speaking on ‘Media Potrayals: The polarity (positive or negative)’, Executive Director, Media Career Development Network, Lekan Otufodundrin, listed five journalism gender traps as, focusing on domestic life, attaching women to powerful men, saying women get emotional, discussing their looks and commenting on their voices.
According to him, women in politics face bias, sexism, and discriminatory media treatment. Research over the past few decades revealed that women in politics continue to be at a disadvantage when it comes to media coverage.
“Globally, women in politics, particularly women of colour, experience overwhelming levels of abuse and gendered disinformation campaigns, which traditional and social media often fuel and perpetuate. To discredit, delegitimise and silence women in politics. Studies have shown that women are often discouraged and dissuaded from getting involved in politics because of gendered media reporting,” he said.
Stating improvements in recent media reports, he urged the media to be intentional in reporting women, who are involved in various levels of political participation.
Otufodundrin also called on the media to avoid stereotypical reporting, by highlighting their capacity and antecedents.