Nigeria’s First Lady Advocates for Women’s Inclusion in the Military

In a groundbreaking move, Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has taken a significant step towards gender inclusivity in the country’s armed forces. Her recent call to the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to actively promote and encourage women to join the military marks a pivotal moment in the quest for gender equality within the nation’s defense sector.

Nigeria has a rich history of women contributing to various aspects of society, and the military should be no exception. Mrs. Tinubu’s advocacy aligns with the global shift towards recognizing and harnessing the potential of women in traditionally male-dominated fields. In a society where gender roles are evolving, her efforts reflect a commitment to fostering a more inclusive and diverse military.

The call for women to join the military is not merely symbolic; it is a practical acknowledgment of the invaluable skills and perspectives that women can bring to the armed forces. Mrs. Tinubu emphasized that women possess unique qualities such as resilience, adaptability, and a keen sense of empathy that can complement and enhance the overall effectiveness of the military.

One of the key aspects of Mrs. Tinubu’s advocacy is challenging existing stereotypes about women in the military. Historically, military roles have been seen as physically demanding and perilous, leading to the perception that they are more suited for men. The First Lady is working to debunk these stereotypes, highlighting the fact that women can excel in any role within the armed forces, from intelligence and logistics to combat positions.

She gave the charge at the Defense Headquarters’s one-day Gender Mainstreaming Conference with the theme, “Building Capacity Through Gender Mainstreaming to Meet Security Challenges.”

The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Nana Shettima, commended the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for organizing the program.

“The theme is apt because it is about shaping a safer, better, and more equitable world for all.
“I commend the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for accepting the gender mainstreaming concept in line with global best practices and UN Security Council Resolution 1325,” she said.
The First Lady noted that security challenges in the nation have become increasingly complex, thus the need for all Nigerians to support security agencies.

“Addressing these challenges effectively requests innovative and comprehensive approaches and gender mainstreaming stands as a powerful tool in our arsenal.

“Gender mainstreaming is now much more than a charity and a policy agenda, this is a fundamental issue about the way we perceive and address security challenges,” she added.

She said it is recognised that security encompasses not only military strength but also the protection of human rights, economic stability, and social and environmental sustainability.
Mrs Tinubu said it requires a collective effort to address security issues and advance gender mainstreaming.

“We can start by ensuring that gender perspectives are integrated into security policies and strategies, encouraging more women to join and progress within the forces.
“We must promote women’s participation and leadership in security institutions, peace negotiations, conflict resolution efforts and bringing a more reconciliatory perspective into negotiations,” she said

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