Gender & EquityNewsWomen, Girls Are Critical Members of the Society —WACOL

Avatar PilotnewsSeptember 6, 2022

By Ada Nwanagum (Correspondent)


AWKA — A gender-based organization known as Women Aid Collective (WACOL) in collaboration with 50-50 Action Women has called for the total elimination of violence and harmful cultural practices against women and the girl-child in Anambra State.

The two gender-based groups made this call during a community town hall meeting sponsored by Ford Foundation in Awka, Anambra State capital. They decried the high rate of unlawful cultural practices, domestic violence, and other harmful vices against women and girl-child in society.

The one-day community town hall meeting brought together, different stakeholders in the state which includes; traditional rulers, the president general of town unions, the leadership of religious institutions, women leaders, youths, academia, the bar, and the bench and civil society organisations to discuss this harmful practices, anti societal norms and values against women.

In her welcome speech, the founder of WACOL, Professor Joy Ezeilo, represented by the programme officer and Head of Communication, Ms. Egodi Igwe, disclosed that the Town-Hall meeting was aimed at achieving a better society by providing enabling environment for women and girls to live and relate with others.

According to her, women are critical members of society and need to be recognized in the scheme of things. She lamented the spate of cases dwelling on rape, domestic violence, and defilement of minors that WACOL receives, and stressed the need for a holistic approach to promoting gender-friendly norms.

While delivering a lecture on “Harmful Cultural Norms against women and girls and its negative impact on the community”, the immediate past Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Anambra State chapter, Prof. Ogugua Ikpeze, decried the level of intimidation, harm, marginalisation, widowhood practice, and deprivation women face. She identified ignorance, environmental, traditional norms, mentality of superiority, the mentality of property, and so on, as causes of violence, which, she said, could be instigated by anyone.

Prof. Ikpeze urged the leadership of the 181 communities in the state to amend their constitutions so as to remove harmful practises and include relevant sections that promote peaceful coexistence among the males and females.

The first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, Prof. Chinyere Okunna, delivered a lecture on “Strategies towards ending harmful norms that promote violence against women and girls: The roles of stakeholders”,  she reminded traditional rulers of their unique role in changing obnoxious practices in the state, urging them to rise to the occasion. She equally called on other stakeholders present to up their games in the quest to end violence against women and girls.

Contributing, the traditional ruler of Akwaeze, in Anaocha LGA, Igwe Christopher Okpala; Mr. Christopher Ayiofu, representing the association of town unions; Igwe Aloysius Moughalu of Isuofia, Aguata LGA, and his Enugwu Umuonyia counterpart, Igwe Peter Ezeamama, commended the initiator and founder of WACOL, Prof Joy Ezeilo for championing the cause of women, pledged to continually fight against gender-based violence in their various community.

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