The United Nations Millennium Development goals advocates for 45% of public and political offices to be held by women, which is a step towards empowerment and also serves as inspiration for young girls towards leadership. Women are beginning to come to the reality of taking up leadership positions in order to drive change and development .Women are coordinators and motivators, hence community development is a job for all women.
In Nigeria, the 2006 census puts our population at 140,431,790 of which 69,086,302 are female, which is about 50% of the population. Education is an imperative tool for social development. Just like women’s invisible work in the household, women’s work in community building and conflict resolution, which has significant human development implications, often goes unacknowledged , says Leymah Gbowee, Peace activist and 2011 nobel price winner.
The world has for too long relegated women to a passive role in the development of the world. However, women’s roles have advanced from passive to active. It is said that to train a woman is to train a community; It is therefore time for educated women to challenge themselves and take up their responsibilities to build communities as their homes, because the society is a reflection of the kind of homes in the community.
The role of a woman in community building can no longer be underplayed. The time for women to take up their roles , be seen and be heard for positive leadership to inspire change around the world is now. This is the drive behind RUDERF’s call to duty and responsibility through the WOMEN FORUM
Women and community development: In developing worlds, able bodied individuals and families , especially youth tend to move from rural to urban areas where there are better facilities and opportunities in a bid to improve their standard of living, leaving behind the aged, women and toddlers to survive in rural areas. This increases the development gap between rural and urban settlements.
For rapid development to occur in any community, education is key and the role of women is of utmost importance. Many international conventions have recognized women’s literacy as key to empowering women participation in decision making of our societies and improving well being.
Women and Child Education: The influence of mothers on their children cannot be overemphasized, in Nigeria and most African cultures, women are held responsible for the upbringing of a child. Children in turn reverence their mothers as they are the first and most important persons of influence in their lives. An educated woman is an educated mother and an educated mother populates the world with well educated and developed children. The more educated the world is the more developed it would become.
An uneducated mother cannot in most cases place maximum importance on their children’s education. It is also difficult for an illiterate mother to aid a child in learning, as learning is a continuous process that transcends the home, to the school and the community at large. Hence, educated women need to take a stand and assist the uneducated ones to be developed through collective responsibilities and community engagement programs.
Women and Youth Development:
Women and Economic Growth: In Nigeria where 50% of the population are women, almost 80% of food for family consumption is produced by women. They provide 60 – 80 % of the agricultural labour force. Periods like this where diversification has become a necessity, these women who make up the agricultural labour force if educated would have a higher capacity and in no small way affect the economic development of the community drastically. Education contributes directly to the growth of national income by improving the productive capacities of the labour force. Some of the benefits that an educated woman brings to the economy include reduction in infant and child mortality, improved family health, increased labour force and national income. A woman’s earning capacity influences child nutrition.
RUDERF’S WOMEN FORUM tagged A CALL TO COMMUNITY BUILDING aims to bring together a pool of influential and educated women in the communities we represent, to motivate and challenge them to take up leadership roles in community building, through collective participation, driving change through behavioural and social development, carrying along other less educated women in achieving this common goal.