Feeding the “gender policy of the armed forces”
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Women decades and centuries ago were considered non-entities. They have never been taken into account in many schemes of things. Their opinions and contributions, in fact, were irrelevant to any sort of speech.
But thanks to The Shakers’ efforts, women, especially in our contemporary times, are no longer seen as second class citizens or labeled as the “weak gender.”
The Shakers, an evangelical group that practiced gender segregation and strict celibacy, were the first to practice gender equality. They branched off from a Quaker community in northwest England before emigrating to America in 1774.
In America, the head of the central Shaker ministry in 1788, Joseph Meacham, had a revelation that the sexes should be equal. He then brought Lucy Wright into the ministry as a female counterpart, and together they restructured the company to balance the rights of the sexes.
Meacham and Wright established leadership teams where each elder, who looked after the spiritual well-being of men, was paired with an elder, who did the same for women. Each deacon was associated with a deaconess. The men watched the men; the women watched over the women.
Women lived with women; men lived with men. In Shaker society, a woman did not have to be controlled or owned by a man.
Like The Shakers, an institution in Africa’s most populous black nation that is passionate about women’s development; and more importantly, giving Nigerian women a sense of belonging, it is the military.
The Nigerian Armed Forces (AFN), under the leadership of General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, in April this year unveiled its gender policy, aimed at promoting gender mainstreaming. the gender dimension in the country’s armed forces.
The gender policy for AFN aims, among other things, to ensure 35 per cent of positive action by women and to obtain an increased involvement of women in recruitment and enrollment, education and training, retention, promotion, assignment, operations, logistics, accommodation, budgeting and institution of maternity and paternity leave for men and women of the Nigerian armed forces to name a few.
The policy was initiated by President Aisha’s wife Ms. Buhari in April of this year. She was represented at the launch by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Women’s Affairs and Administration, Dr Hajo Sani.
She commended the army for taking steps to update gender mainstreaming in the armed forces.
She said politics tended to open up opportunities not only for female personnel but also for children aspiring to join the military.
According to her, the policy has laid the groundwork for every woman in AFN to begin playing an important role in defending the nation against all forms of security challenges that Nigeria faces.
“It is known that women and girls put more effort than men and boys to prove their competence in many chosen fields of activity, including the military.
“As a result, the Nigerian armed forces have come together to take full advantage of the abundant abilities and innate capacities possessed by women and children.
“It is also heartwarming that with this giant leap, the Nigerian Armed Forces are encouraged to ensure that the large part of the population contributes to the task of defending the country from its enemies,” she said. .
She expressed the hope that because women had been “imbued with a wisdom that enables them to unite systems,” they would play a critical role in providing solutions to the various security challenges facing the country.
She advocated that the policy take into account the challenges that militate against the emancipation of women, adding that gender stereotypes against women pose a potential threat to their advancement in the military.
Speaking further, she said that there are a good number of reported cases where women have been prevented from participating in combat duties, excluding pregnancy or motherhood.
“Women are often limited to careers within the supportive aspect of the military such as finance, human resources, personnel, logistics, medical services, welfare, etc.
“I urge women in the military to continually take note of this vehement exception to such psychological oppression with the formulation of this policy.
“The security challenges plaguing our country, Nigeria, still abound, probably because we have yet to redefine the Nigerian armed forces to explore the potential of women in terms of operational effectiveness,” she said. declared.
The Chief of the Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said the complexity and dynamism of the range of security challenges facing the world demand that all useful approaches and means be used to fight against the threat that emanates from it.
Irabor said it was the realization that gender disparity contributed in large measure to the suffering of women and girls in any environment that gave rise to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR ).
He said that the essence of the resolution was to ensure that women and their societal needs are protected by placing more emphasis on access to opportunities in all spheres of human activity, including the military.
Irabor said the Nigerian armed forces have become gender sensitive by ensuring that the career paths of female personnel are not hampered.
This, he said, is evident in the fact that the AFN can boast of producing female officers up to the rank of 2-star generals, adding that women were currently engaged in all areas of specialization, including military operations. fight.
He said the Nigerian Defense Academy continued to train female cadets as combat officers as well as the establishment of the Nigerian Army Women’s Corps in 2018.
According to him, the Nigerian Air Force created the Women of War in 2018 to involve women in all aspects of flight operations, including flight, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control and engineering. .
He said the Nigerian Navy has also deployed women as sailors and for other key aspects such as vessel maintenance.
The defense chief said the coming of politics was a clear statement that the AFN was fully committed to taking the issue of women’s empowerment to higher levels.
He said the policy was part of ongoing efforts to address some of the prevailing security challenges in the country.
“The involvement of women and girls in a myriad of crimes and violent activities, including banditry, kidnappings and terrorism, among others, requires that the innate capacities and capacities of women and girls be harnessed and harnessed. for the benefit of society, ”he said.
It is only a matter of time before we see this ‘CHILD OF DESTINY’, known as the Gender Politics of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, blossom and mature to be another successful offspring of the military. from the country. By then, General Irabor may have since ceased to rule as CDS. However, his indelible legacies would remain points of reference and a barometer to judge his successors.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of PRNigeria
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