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Releasing potential of women, game changer for Nigeria – UNFPA

She said inspite of the challenges of gender based violence, access to justice for survivors and gender inequality among others, Nigerian women had remained “strong and resilient.”

By Justina Auta/Ikenna Osuoha

Ms Ulla Mueller, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative in Nigeria, says investing in women and releasing their potential will be a game changer in addressing the nation’s challenges.

Mueller said this in Abuja when she featured on NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

She said inspite of the challenges of gender based violence, access to justice for survivors and gender inequality among others, Nigerian women had remained “strong and resilient.”

“So yes, there are issues around access to justice for survivors of gender based violence. Yes, there are issues about women’s rights to make their own choices.

“There are issues about women’s access to the labour market, many issues when it comes to equality in this country.

” There’s no doubt about it. But women in this country are strong.

”And I think we need to find a way whereby we can release all of that strength.

“You are strong, you are resilient. You have your own solutions.

“ Look at how many world leaders today are women from Nigeria. We have our Deputy Secretary General, we have the head of worldwide organisation,UNDP, Regional Director, is Nigerian.

“IOM just appointed a Nigerian woman as number two.

“ Nigerian women are really awesome. And you’re strong, and you have responses within you.

” And I think it’s what are our role is, to find avenues where we can help release that,’’ she said.

She, however, solicited the support of government and other stakeholders in harnessing the potential of women to drive national development as well as eliminate gender based violence and other harmful practices.

” What I find in my work is that more and more men really are he for she.

” We see more and more of the political decision makers at all levels who actually are serious about equality and know that releasing the potential of women is going to be a game changer in Nigeria, and it will be a game changer.

” I think in my work, what is important is that we focus on all the progress, we do see all the strength, we see all the solutions, we see and focus on how do we really build on that? Because then we also focus on what we can do.

“ There are so many positive things, positive things happening right now in Nigeria.

” And that’s what we put our focus on because that’s what is going to change this country,” she said. (NAN)