Why gender equality is pivotal to peace, sustainable development

By Bode Durojaiye, Director of Media and Publicity to the Alaafin of Oyo.

Gender equality seems like a faraway dream these days. While progress has been made, the numbers from groups like UN Women tell a discouraging story.

Available statistics showed that over two billion women don’t have the same employment options as men, as it is revealed that at the current rate, it will take about a century to close the global pay gap.

While human trafficking affects men and women, women and girls make up over 70% of the world’s human trafficking victims.

In the face of this data, gender equality needs to be a priority.

But Why and how?

Findings indicated that gender equality saves lives, results in better healthcare, helps businesses, good for the economy, children are healthier, reduces poverty, leads to better legal protection, reduces poverty, human trafficking, and above all lead to peace.

Facts emerged that gender equality is linked to peace, even more so than a country’s GDP or level of democracy. States with better gender equality are less likely to use military force.

When a country addresses major areas of gender inequality like education and employment, it fosters peace.

When women make their own reproductive choices, they provide better care for the children they do have. With income options equal to men, mothers can offer education, healthcare, and healthier food to their children.

Investigations also showed that reduced infant mortality is linked to higher levels of education, as children raised in gender-equal environments will do better than those raised with inequality.

Gender equality also leads to better legal protections. Scholars noted that “under the law, women aren’t well-protected from domestic sexual and economic violence. Both of these types of violence affect a woman’s safety and freedom. Increasing women’s legal rights keeps them safe and able to build productive happy lives.

All these aforementioned submissions necessitated the establishment of International Academy for Gender and Peace (IAGP).
The Academy under the leadership of Professor Tyoor Fredrick, in conjunction with the Academy’s partner, and Benin Republic based Espam Formation University management team were in the ancient Palace of Oyo on Monday, 18th of October, 2021, to decorate The late, His Imperial Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba ( Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, as the Patron of the Academy.

In his address, Professor Tyoor who lauded the Alaafin for his fatherly role in ensuring unity, peace and progress of the country, hinted that the reason why the Academy chose the Paramount as its Paton was anchored on his unalloyed penchant for gender mainstreaming.

“Gender mainstreaming is a strategy for integrating gender concerns in the analysis, formulation and monitoring of policies, programmes and projects. It is therefore a means to an end, not an end in itself; a process, not a goal”.

He pointed out that in the Academy’s findings, it admitted that Oba Adeyemi’s gender mainstreaming is un relentless, as he is devotedly promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in population and development activities.

“This requires addressing both the condition, as well as the position, of women and men in society. Gender mainstreaming therefore aims to strengthen the legitimacy of gender equality values by addressing known gender disparities and gaps in such areas as the division of labour between men and women; access to and control over resources; access to services, information and opportunities; and distribution of power and decision-making”.
In his acceptance speech after the decoration as the Patron, International Academy for Gender and Peace,, The late monarch, Oba Adeyemi noted that is it important to take gender concerns into account in programme design and implementation.

According to the Alaafin, “taking gender concerns into account when designing and implementing population and development programmes therefore is important for two reasons. First, there are differences between the roles of men and women, differences that demand different approaches. Second, there is systemic inequality between men and women.

“Universally, there are clear patterns of women’s inferior access to resources and opportunities. Moreover, women are systematically under-represented in decision-making processes that shape their societies and their own lives. This pattern of inequality is a constraint to the progress of any society because it limits the opportunities of one-half of its population.

“When women are constrained from reaching their full potential, that potential is lost to society as a whole. Programme design and implementation should endeavour to address either or both of these factors. Gender equality is intrinsically linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life”.

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