Religious leaders have been urged to stop the mis-interpretation of scriptural teachings to justify social and cultural norms that perpetuate injustice against women.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman North-west zone, Dr. Israel Akanji and a lecturer at the Bayero University Kano (BUK), Prof. Mustapha Hussain Ismail, who are the co-chairs of Side By Side Movement for Gender Justice in Nigeria (SBSMJN), gave the advice in Abuja. They were speaking at a briefing as part of activities commemorating the 2020 International Women’s Day, with the theme, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.
They enjoined people of faith and religious leaders to promote values of love, dignity and gender justice.
“Side by Side Movement is of the view that everyone must be free from cultural and interpersonal system of privileges and oppression, and from violence and repression based on gender, so that gender identity is seen as a gift rather than danger, a source of life and hope rather than fear and oppression.
“At local, national and international levels, the movement partners together wherever possible to work towards gender justice, where everyone is valued equally and able to share equitably in the distribution of power, knowledge and resources,” they said.
The co-chairmen said that their approach is to stand firmly on fighting for gender equality and transforming discriminatory and unequal power relationships.
They said, “Equality therefore imposes on us the obligation to value every human being equally and enable every person to have access to power, knowledge and resources. It is on this note that the Nigeria chapter of the side by side movement is marking the 2020 International Women’s Day.”
They therefore urged religious and traditional leaders, the Media, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) among others globally to reaffirm commitment to eradicating gender inequality, out-of-school girls, girl child abuse and other social injustices against the girl child and women in Nigeria.