PUBLIC POLICY INITIATIVE
Strengthening Nigeria's Democracy

 

GENDER JUSTICE

The Foundation’s Gender Justice Programme was established to improve safeguarding for women and vulnerable adults in work and education spaces in Nigeria. The initiative will address power asymmetries that enable gender-based violence in Nigerian institutions and organizations.

The culture of sexual harassment in the work place and on university campuses poses a serious threat to the wellbeing and empowerment of young women in Nigeria. Sexual violence creates unsafe spaces for women, destroys their self-esteem and impedes their personal and professional development. Both men and women are victims of sexual violence; however, women are more susceptible due to an entrenched culture of bias that reinforces existing gender inequalities.

According to the United Nations, at least 2 million Nigerian girls experience sexual abuse annually and only 28 per cent of rape cases are reported. Of those, only 12 per cent result in convictions. The World Bank also highlights forms of gender-based violence as intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual assault, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation and abuse, child abuse, female infanticide, and child marriage.

Although a growing global wave of feminism has paved the way for women to speak up against gender-based violence, too many Nigerian women are reluctant to participate in this movement. In addition, due to inhibiting factors including stigma, shame and other socio-cultural factors that make disclosure undesirable, occurrences such as “sex for grades” in Nigerian universities remained under-reported.

With support from the Ford Foundation, the Yar’Adua Foundation will collaborate with gender rights stakeholders

across Nigeria to promote the establishment of safe spaces for women and inspire young women to embrace gender equality by:

  • Creating platforms for women to report (whistle blowing) and seek justice for incidents of sexual harassment without fear of recrimination.
  • Developing a framework to implement and track safeguarding policies in Nigerian institutions.
  • Empowering Nigerian women to become champions of gender equality.
  • Documenting a knowledge and learning process to strengthen protection and safeguarding advocacy in Nigeria.