As Nigeria observes the International Day of Rural Women, the Nigerian Feminist Forum has called for the implementation of policies that will allow women to own and manage land for agricultural purposes.
The movement also advocated for the provision of grants to rural women in order for them to increase their agricultural produce threshold
Angela Nkwo, NFF Communications Officer, made the call in a statement to commemorate the 2021 edition of Rural Women’s Day.
The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 to recognize the critical role and contributions of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and eradicating rural poverty, according to the group.
According to NFF, rural women and girls in Nigeria have faced “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.”
Other issues include discrimination, poor farming instruments, a lack of access to mechanized farming equipment, an oppressive widowhood practice that deprives women of their lands and properties, bad roads, exorbitant transportation costs that eat into profits, poor storage systems, and a stable power supply.
The NFF has called for immediate action to address growing insecurity in order to protect women and girls as they contribute their fair share to feeding the nation, adding that the government at all levels must ensure the safety of Nigerian women and girls.
According to the group, bad roads and exorbitant transportation costs contribute to some of the challenges faced by rural women, and they have called for their repair.
The group also advocated for the establishment of education centers where women could stay current, learn new skills, and improve their lives and endeavors.
NFF urged Nigeria Police Force operatives in charge of internal peace and security to live up to their responsibility to protect lives and property, including in rural areas.
According to NFF, the majority of women’s interventions are unpaid, even when they form the workforce in farms and plantations, working around the clock to feed Nigerians but with nothing to show for it, noting that from crop production to processing, preparation, and distribution of foods, women’s labor earns less and experiences greater food insecurity.
The group observed that the economic role of Nigerian rural women was largely hampered by a lack of access to family land, capital, and control over her own time and the products of her labor.
According to the report, rural women and girls face gender bias and discrimination, as well as harmful circumstances that jeopardize their safety, stability, education, and opportunity.
According to NFF, the outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated disparities and demonstrated that women and girls from underserved and low-income communities face disproportionate challenges, resulting in massive job loss for women while exorbitant food prices forced many into debt, enslavement, and survivors of spousal violence.