Envoy Charges Nigeria To Promote Girl-child Education
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world in celebrating women today, Madam Liang Huili, wife of the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, has admonished Nigerian women to leverage on girl-child education for socio-economic development.
Huili, who spoke Tuesday in Abuja at a forum to highlight the development of women in China, maintained that education plays a critical role in women’s development.
Highlighting government policies put in place by the Chinese government to ensure gender parity in all areas of life, she noted that in China, “women’s average life expectancy grew to 79.4 years in 2015, an increase of 10.1 years over 1981 and 42.7 years over 1949 when New China was founded.”
According to her, the maternal mortality rate has fallen 79.4 per cent from 88.8 per 100,000 in 1990 to 18.3 per 100,000 in 2018, stressing that China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of time.
While congratulating Nigerian women, she stated that it was her suggestion that the issue of girl education should be taken seriously in the country.
“China and Nigeria are developing but at different levels. We blossom one by one. For young girls, my suggestion is that education changes everything. It gives one the opportunity to develop herself; it plays a critical role in the development and as such, we need to give more attention to it.”
According to her, the key to the future is education and as such, it should be given desired attention.
Madam Liang said she was excited to find many female media professionals in the country, stressing that whether in Nigeria or China, women have played important roles that sometimes, outweigh those of men.
She added that major achievements of Nigeria-China bilateral cooperation in recent years could not have been possible without the full participation of women from both sides.
“In the past months, I met with several female staff and workers from both China and Nigeria during commissioning ceremonies of some large-scale cooperative projects such as the Lekki Deep Sea Port, Lagos Light Rail and Blue Line, to which I accompanied my husband to attend.
“It was also my pleasure to see that the Chinese Embassy in recent years also paid a lot of efforts to improve the well-being of women, girls and other vulnerable groups in Nigeria by providing support to civil organizations or foundations. This is a good thing to which we would continue”, she said.
Madam Huili’s presentation was segmented into four, including the milestone of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing; the mechanism guarantee in China on gender equality; the development of women’s cause in China as well as women of excellence in China.
Speaking on the Beijing Conference of 1995, Huili said: “Nowadays, the Beijing World Conference on Women is frequently cited and mentioned by different files and occasions, as it is regarded a significant turning point for the global agenda for gender equality.
“During this conference, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action were adopted unanimously by 189 countries, constituting an agenda for women’s empowerment and considered the key global policy document on gender equality. China, as a host to the Conference, has made a unique contribution to the development of international women’s cause.
She noted that some of the mechanisms that guarantee gender equality in China include the enactment and revision of laws for the protection of women’s rights. According to her, the National People’s Congress (NPC) as China’s highest legislative body, put great stress on the protection of women’s rights and the promotion of women’s development.
“A number of relevant organizations have been set up within the NPC for these purposes successively, such as the Women & Children Working Group. The NPC follows and collects opinions of the Women’s Federation and women during legislative review and legal supervision, inspects the enforcement of laws protecting women’s rights and other pertinent laws, and take practical measures to protect the legal rights of women.
“The creation and improvement of a working mechanism by the government
In 1990, National Coordination Committee on Children and Women under State Council was established, which was renamed in 1993 to National Working Committee on Children and Women under State Council.
“The number of members (governmental agencies) of this committee has grown from 19 at its establishment to 35. This committee performs its legal duties by organizing, coordinating, instructing, and urging relevant departments in their work of women’s rights protection, gender equality, and women’s development.
“The creation and improvement of a working mechanism for women’s federations
All-China Women’s Federation is an organization jointly established by women from different ethnic groups and circles with the purpose of seeking further liberation and development of women.”
Under the development of women’s cause in China, the envoy emphasized the role of women in socio-economic development.
Describing women as indispensable builders of the country, she insisted that women have fully engaged in and been broadly benefited from the fight against poverty.
“Women workers are motivated to perform better by enhancing labour protection”, she stated.
According to her, women account for 40 per cent of the labour force in China.
“In 2017, there were 340 million women in the labour force, doubling the figure in 1978. Women’s job options are greatly expanded. In 2010, 46.8 per cent of women worked in the secondary and tertiary sectors, up 24.8 percentage points from 1982.”
Huili also said that women’s political status has grown significantly as the country attaches importance to ensuring women’s equal political rights with men.
“Since the early years of New China, the state has drawn up and implemented laws to guarantee that women share equal rights with men to vote, to be elected, and to participate in the administration of state affairs.
“The number of female officials at CPC and government departments increased from 422,000 in the early 1980s to 1.906 million in 2017, accounting for 26.5 per cent of the total officials.”
She added that women’s education level has risen significantly in China following the endowment of men and women with equal rights to education by formulating and implementing laws and regulations.