An interfaith group in Kaduna State, the Faith Actors Dialogue Forum, on Tuesday said women must be given opportunities to live productive and meaningful life in Northern Nigeria.
The group, which consists of over 34 religious organisations including CAN and JNI, made the declaration at a news conference in Kaduna.
Rev. Joseph Hayab, the state Coordinator of the forum said women, including adolescent girls should be given choices and opportunities to contribute positively to nation building.
“We especially wish to add our voices in improving the choices and opportunities for adolescent girls, which will enable them contribute positively to nation building.”
He added that the forum supports Collective Action for Adolescent Girls’ Initiative which aims to improve choices for girls in all facets of life, including politics, religion, social and economic life.
“Although adolescent girls in our society have dreams and aspirations, they are often limited by cultural and religious pressures,” he noted.
He said that the forum would continue to push for improvement in the choices and opportunities available to women, to enable them make the best of their lives.
“When a society deliberately or ignorantly deny women their rights using religion or culture as a cover, the society is doing disservice to both the religion and its culture.”
Hayab said gender equality has a transformative effect essential to the full function of communities, societies and economies.
“Therefore women’s rights are human right, our society must not reduce or restrict them from exercising their fundamental right.
“Rather we should join hands in empowering women and girls which is an assured way for a secure future for our children, family and society at large.”
The coordinator called on government and the private sector to give women especially adolescent girls the proper and required education to be able to compete with emerging trends in the society.
“So that, as they grow up, they will be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional services and care options, to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science,” he said.
Hayab added; “We also urge all adolescent girls to shun all forms of social ills and concentrate more on what will guarantee their future.”