As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women, the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has called for the enactment of policies to allow women own and manage land for agricultural purposes.
The movement also called for the provision of grants to enable rural women expand their agricultural produce threshold.
NFF Communications Officer, Angela Nkwo made the call in a statement to commemorate the 2021 edition of the Rural Women’s Day.
The day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, to recognise the critical role and contributions of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
Nkwo lamented that rural women and girls in Nigeria have suffered what she described as “varying degrees of gender-based violence as a result of insurgency, violent herdsmen attacks, biased customs and tradition, inconsiderate in-laws, lack of good policies and legal framework to own land, poverty, low level of education, poor health status and poor yield.
“Others include discrimination, poor farming instruments, lack of access to mechanized farming equipment, oppressive widowhood practice that strip women of lands and properties, bad roads, exorbitant transportation costs that snatch profits, poor storage systems, and unstable power supply”.
The NFF, therefore, called for urgent measures to address growing insecurity to protect women and girls as they contribute their quota to feeding the nation adding that government at all levels should ensure the safety of Nigerian women and girls.
Bad roads and exorbitant transportation costs according to the group contribute to some of the challenges rural women face and called for their repairs.
The group called for the provision of education centers for women to update themselves, learn new skills to improve their lives and endeavors.
NFF called on operatives of the Nigerian Police Force responsible for internal peace and security to live up to her responsibility to safeguard lives and properties, including the rural areas.
According to them, the bulk of women’s interventions are unpaid, even when they form the workforce in the farms, plantations, working round the clock to feed Nigerians but with nothing to show, noting that from the production of crops to processing, preparation and distribution of foods, women’s labour but earn less income and experience higher food insecurity.
Furthermore, the group held that the role of Nigerian rural woman in the economic sphere was largely inhibited because of the lack of access to family land, capital and control over her own time and the products of her labour.
Nkwo maintained that rural women and girls face gender bias and discrimination, harmful circumstances that impede their safety, stability, education, and opportunity.
However, the outbreak of Covid-19 according to her accelerated disparities and showed that women and girls from underserved and low-income communities face disproportionate challenges, saying it resulted in huge job loss for women while the exorbitant prices of foodstuff forced many into debts, enslavement, and survivors of spousal violence.
The NFF is a biennial public policy forum that brings together self-identifying feminists, who through feminist principles challenge the system of power, promoting the learning and teaching of feminist principles and universality of women’s rights.