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Bridging Unemployment Gaps in Nigerian Women

According to Adebite and Machette in their 2019 study, women were limited in accessing financial services and credit, along with lower savings.

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Nigerian women are unequally affected by lower employment compared to men. This is despite constituting about half of Nigeria’s population accross all ages.

This is an underlying issue as the UNFPA focusses on the needs of women and girls in commemorating World Population Day, 2020.

According to the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres in his commemorating address “…reproductive health services are being sidelined..” in response to COVID19 Lockdown measures. Emphasizing a further need to address the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on women’s health.

Employment, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women have been linked. Both in a recent study as well as in work done by the World Health Organization with Women’s Deliver, an international NGO. Results have shown worse outcomes for unemployed women or those lacking supportive employment.

The latest Nigeria National Bereau of Statistics report in 2018 found women employed in Federal and State Civil Service accross Nigeria significantly less than men. Though gender disparity in employment in the private and informal sectors were not reported, gender inequality similarly affects women in agriculture.

According to Adebite and Machette in their 2019 study, women were limited in accessing financial services and credit, along with lower savings. While advocacy for change must geared up, this must include the legislature. This is with Nigeria ranking 180 out of 192 countries having 6.4% of women in legislative positions, according to the 2019 Inter Parliamentary Union rank.

Steps must be taken to ensure these gender gaps are closed in furtherance of reproductive rights of women. This is even more crucial if Nigeria is to meet sustainable development goals, where both men and women enjoy full and productive employment by 2030.

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Joan Alaboson Joshua is a public health physician and medical doctor with experience in primary care, disease prevention, and health program management in Nigeria. She works to contribute to improved health and wellness.