Women journalists in Nigeria under the umbrella of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) have advocated increased education opportunities for females in Nigeria for socioeconomic and financial empowerment.
This was part of the message as Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking the 2022 International Day of the Girl (IDG).
NAWOJ National Secretary Helen Udofa, in a statement on Tuesday, appreciated the fact that in the last 10 years, attention on issues that matter to girls has increased among governments, policymakers and the public generally, in addition to more opportunities for girls to have their voices heard at the global stage
She said that investments in girls’ rights remain limited as they continue to confront the challenges of fulfilling their potential.
“These are further worsened by concurrent crises of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian issues and insecurity,” she stated.
“While girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges in their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence have become desirous.”
She said that this year’s theme, ‘our time is now – Our rights, Our future,’ underscored the fact that the world’s 600 million adolescent girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can become the change agents needed to drive progress in their communities, building stronger walls for all, including women, boys and men.
She observed that in Nigeria, girls continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence, stressing that with adversity comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience.
She, therefore, called on stakeholders, parents, and government not to relent in giving adequate attention to girls’ education, as well as ensuring a secure and conducive environment for their learning.
“With over six million out-of-school girls in Nigeria (UNICEF records), NAWOJ is calling on all stakeholders to come together and forge a way forward in giving voice to girls and find solutions to issues affecting the girl child in Nigeria.
“We push for our girls to be given the opportunity to lead by putting them in the forefront of change efforts, hearing their voices, responding to their questions, and welcoming them in decision-making spaces. These are ways of investing in a future that believes in girls.
“It is time for everyone to stand and be counted with and for girls, and to invest in a future that believes in their agency, leadership and potential.”