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VSI urges action against gender stereotypes, disempowerment

By Tobi Awodipe
17 December 2022   |   3:33 am
A gender equality and social justice group, Vision Spring Initiative (VSI), has called for a total end to gender stereotypes and disempowerment in Nigeria.

Ayodele

A gender equality and social justice group, Vision Spring Initiative (VSI), has called for a total end to gender stereotypes and disempowerment in Nigeria.

The Initiative disclosed this recently in Lagos while commemorating Human Rights Day at a media interaction on the rights of women and girls made vulnerable by laws, policies and practices.

According to the resource person of VSI, Tobi Ayodele, women in Nigeria who are made especially vulnerable by laws, policies and practices have lived on the margins of society through most of human history.

She noted that stereotypes, derogatory names and general indifference to their humanity continue to prevail, thereby worsening their plight.

“Some portions of the Criminal and Penal codes undermine women’s rights to own and make decisions about their bodies. These laws also subject women and girls to abuse and violence regardless of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” she added.

She called on the media to remember its role as catalysts in the advancement of rights, saying: “We call on the media to support the effort of civil society organisations in ensuring respect for the dignity of every Nigerian citizen. Condemn the action of law enforcement officers that violate the rights of Nigerians made vulnerable by laws and policies leading to their abuse and in some cases jungle justice. Adopt a human rights approach in reporting and engage in independent investigations to verify facts before releasing such news,” she said.

She also urged the media to engage in social and behavioural change communications aimed at changing stereotypes, norms about women and girls and embracing respect and tolerance.

Project Director, VSI, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, said VSI has been working dedicatedly to push back on most of the social issues that negatively affect vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria.

“These issues range from extortion, beating, rape as a bail condition, false accusations from law enforcement agents who regularly invade the privacy of sex workers, denial of access to free sexual and reproductive health information and services (SRHR), searching of private items such as telephone and handbags and confiscation of items. This is the reversal of their role and mandate of protecting citizens,” she said.