Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. William Alo said the government of Nigeria has been gender friendly and sensitive and has being doing everything humanly to promote the course of Nigerian women both in the informal and formal sectors of the economy.
He made this known in his office when the Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) of the World Bank paid him a courtesy call in Abuja.
He pointed out that legislations and policies in Nigeria are gender friendly.
The government is complying with the 35% affirmative action or even beyond, women are given four months maternity leave, to enable nursing mothers stay home and take care of their babies yet, their wages are being paid.
“In the Ministry of Labour and Employment, we make sure that there is no discrimination between men and women and we preach against it.
In all policies and programmes we make sure there is equality, no discrimination of any sort even in wages” he added
Alo said the initiative by Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) is a welcoming idea since it is meant to promote and advance the course of women not only in employment but economically, politically, in the formal and informal sectors, and assured the team that Nigeria is ahead of many countries championing gender equality.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Julia Viallant, Leader of the Africa Gender Innovation (GIL) team, said the purpose of the visit is to figure out “what works and what doesn’t” to improve gender equality.
She added that the over view of what they do is to use knowledge that is generated from studies on programes that are done in the Sub-Saharan Africa that tries to close the gender gap and promote Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Viallant said the African Gender Innovation Lab is particularly interested in improving gender equality in employment, agriculture and entrepreneurship, using regular evidence and policy making to improve women’s income on productivity access to assets and agency.
She disclosed that they have received funding from the Gates Foundation to start a country level lab that is called the Nigeria Gender Innovation Lab which has three pillars namely; gender diagnostics, more and new evidence from Nigeria and what works to close gender gap and more and more policy bye laws with the Ministry of Labour and Employment.