Okene, Kogi State. Nigeria.
In the past, there was a prevailing notion that the role of Nigerian women was confined to motherhood and domestic life. This belief limited the aspirations and contributions of the average Nigerian woman. However, the landscape has evolved over time, thanks to national movements and the decolonization process, which exposed women like Hajiya Rashida Bello, Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan, and others to civic and national responsibilities.
Today, it is evident that women play a pivotal and decisive role in the socioeconomic, political, and cultural fabric of a nation. Their importance transcends traditional roles as housewives and mothers. Women significantly contribute to a nation’s quality of life, impacting every aspect of its economy. They are instrumental in achieving the goal of improving citizens’ welfare by providing social amenities such as quality education, clean water, transportation, infrastructure, healthcare, and fostering a conducive political environment with active citizen participation.
National development, in essence, entails enhancing the living standards of a nation’s citizens, whether in material terms like increasing GDP or social aspects like literacy rates and healthcare availability. Women constitute a substantial and indispensable portion of the global population.
Recent times have seen a growing recognition of the vital role of women worldwide. Developed countries have empowered their women to contribute significantly to their societies. However, many developing nations, including Nigeria, have not fully harnessed the potential of women in transforming their countries when they are empowered.
Research demonstrates that Nigeria, with a population of over 200 Million, has the potential to transition from poverty to a vibrant economy. Nigerian women possess innate economic strength, organizational skills, and unwavering determination to overcome environmental, cultural, and partnership challenges. They can revitalize ailing economies at the family, local, state, and national levels.
It is clear that women hold the key to progress and development in any nation. They are agents of positive change, depending on how they are treated and the opportunities they are afforded to realize their potential. International declarations, such as the United Nations’ recognition of the International Year of Women in 1978 and the Beijing Declaration of 1991, underscore the crucial role of women in national development and transformation.
In Nigeria, the substantial number of women presents an opportunity for evolving a new, prosperous economy and fostering good governance that accelerates social and political development. The importance of empowering women for national development has been stressed by activists. Education and political involvement are essential tools for achieving this goal.
The advancement of women in contributing to the nation’s socioeconomic development has influenced the federal government’s response. Initiatives such as the National Commission for Women and the Ministerial post for Women Affairs have enhanced the role of women in national development.
The managerial abilities of women, especially as mothers, are pivotal in maintaining peace and stability at home. Effective management at home translates to effective governance. Conversely, a lack of it can have adverse consequences.
In politics and governance, there is growing recognition of women’s untapped potential and leadership abilities. Globally, the representation of women in national parliaments has increased, although it still falls short of the critical mass necessary for significant impact. Women’s participation in politics is essential for building strong democracies and results in more responsive governance, cooperation across party lines, and sustainable progress.
Women in power tend to prioritize quality of life, education, healthcare, and other crucial development indicators. They bring overlooked issues to the forefront and challenge the status quo, ultimately benefitting society as a whole.
In conclusion, women are indispensable in the quest for national development. Ebira women, in particular, should not be sidelined but should be empowered in all aspects – economically, educationally, politically, and culturally – to unleash their innate potential for the socioeconomic and political development of Kogi State and the nation as a whole.
This article was first writen by Noah Ometere Josephine in 2020 and it has been rewritten by Yakubu Binuyaminu Adeiza (Binoosmart) in 2023. All credits are due t the original writer.