From Segun Babatunde in Bauchi
The United Nations Women under an intervention known as the EU-UN joint Spotlight initiative, has conducted a training for Women In Film and Television International(WIFTI) and Nigerian Film/ TV Industry Professionals on Advocacy toward ending Violence Against Women, Girls and the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.
Our Correspondent reports that
Spotlight Initiative is a multi-year program to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and to realize a Nigeria where all women and girls live free from all forms of violence.
It is currently being implemented in Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, FCT, Sokoto, and Adamawa states. One of the major outcomes of the Spotlight is to address pervasive social norms and negative gender stereotypes with a significant male engagement component which is a key objective of the HeForShe campaign.
Speaking at a two day training which held at Protea Hotel by Morriott in Lagos State with 28 participants in attendance, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Comfort Lamptey said that UN Women will be collaborating with senior leaders of WIFTI, Nigeria Chapter, to leverage on momentum toward the second reading of the GEOB, scheduled for early November as well as 16 days of Activism to launch the network.
She said that the collaboration will position the network to advocate for an increase women’s political representation and address violence against women and girls as women in film and television and wider society, adding that the collaboration will also seek to leverage on WIFTI’s convening power to support the film and TV industry to structure products to champion gender equality in Nigeria.
“The workshop will serve as a platform to increase awareness of the Bill and garner support toward its’s successful passage. In the same vein, the workshop will focus on advocacy around ending gender-based violence and violence against women and girls, looking at concepts of gender in Nigeria as well as effectively integrating key advocacy messages, transformative story lines and powerful portrayal of women and girls in TV, film, and media.
“As the UN Entity dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls, enhancing women’s roles and bridging the gaps of gender inequality, engaging and strengthening platforms for advocacy for EVAW forms a key pillar of our efforts towards achieving a gender equal and peaceful world. Recognising the importance of media and entertainment in reflecting the society we strive toward, as well as the power of the industry in shaping social norms, we are pleased that WIFTI provides a powerful platform for amplifying women’s voices in the movement against SGBV through the Nollywood entertainment industry” she said
The Chairman, WIFTI Nigeria Chapter, Mrs Ajoke Silva said WIFTI is convening alongside UN Women to let people within the entertainment industry and women understand the gender issues and all that is behind the Gender and Equal opportunity Bill.
THE Veteran filmmaker said the reason for the workshop is to educate other filmmakers on the issues of gender and equal opportunity which can be injected to their works and messages.
“Most of the people in the room are writers, directors and producers. Most of them work behind the scenes but they are the people who put together the project, the performance they present to the public.The performers are the faces of the project that these people put together. So the strategy is to let the people who actually craft the messaging understand the issues behind the message.” she said.
In her goodwill message, Senator Biodun Olujimi said the Bill which is scheduled for its Second Reading in the Senate any time soon, is development-oriented and includes provisions which will promote equal access for women and men for instance, in politics, participation and representation.
According to her, “It has key provisions such as the adoption of temporary special measures to eliminate discrimination of women and widen the space for women to occupy leadership positions in public office; and also seeks to address several forms of discrimination against women such as land ownership, inheritance, education, employment, and sexual and gender-based violence.Gender-based Violence comes in various forms, all of which have the capacity to take and or damage lives.
“There is sexual violence including using it as a weapon of war and conflict, domestic violence, honour killings, Female Genital Mutilation, human trafficking, political violence etc”.