United Kingdom's International Development Minister, Ms. Lynne Featherstone
By Damilola Oyedele
Indications emerged Wednesday that Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent of the world's maternal mortality, indicating that women were being shut out of the impressive economic growth.
The United Kingdom's International Development Minister, Ms. Lynne Featherstone, said this in Abuja yesterday at a media briefing as part of her schedule while in Nigeria to review the progress on the programmes of the Department for International Development (DFID).
The rate of maternal and infant deaths coupled with the increasing instances of domestic violence make Nigeria one of the toughest places to be born female, she said.
"...Over 80 per cent of the women in the North cannot read. A survey of 15-24 year old women found that the majority think it is reasonable for husbands to beat their wives if they burn food, refuse sex or go out without his permission," Featherstone lamented.
She announced the commencement of the Voices for Change Programme, which would run for the next five years and is expected to support 120,000 girls across the country to improve their life skills in financial literacy, health education, negotiation skills and awareness of their rights.
The programme is also expected to work for the re- orientation of men and boys as well as traditional and religious leaders to shift attitudes and behaviour towards women and girls.
"Strengthen legal frameworks and increase national budget resources for women and girls. These are in addition to existing UK's work with women and girls in Nigeria," Featherstone said.