The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) lockdown impacted negatively on the livelihood and income of women globally, with unprecedented loss of jobs.
Isha Sesay, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador, said this in a virtual interview with our reporter in Abuja on Wednesday.
The interview was part of activities by the West and Central Africa Regional Office of the UNFPA to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
The day is annually marked on March 8 to raise awareness on the plight of women and girls and to celebrate women making giant strides in different areas of endeavour.
The international day has “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE” as its theme for this year.
Sesay, a British journalist who described women as very important group in every industrial sector, however, said the COVID-19 lockdown had greatly affected the income and earnings of millions of women around the globe.
She explained that women were hard hit in terms of impact on livelihood as a lot of industries where women dominate as major workforce remained shut while the COVID-19 lockdown lasted.
She said “we want to draw attention to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on women; we want to see more support for small rural farmers in Africa, majority of whom are women.
“Women in developing countries struggle a lot to access capital to start businesses; they are rural farmers but support families and communities; they need support.
“It has been particularly hard for women during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown as caregivers, doctors, scientists have been on the frontline to save lives.”
The UNFPA ambassador, who emphasised greater access to capital and support for women to achieve self sustenance, added that “we should ensure that women access enough capital; they have been feeding families and communities with their meagre income.”
The journalist, who expressed confidence in the ingenuity of women, said the female folk had been leaders in different areas, beginning from the homes.
She added that women in leadership had excelled more than their male counterparts in many countries of the world, noting that “Rwanda has the highest number of women serving in their legislature in the world; it is phenomenal.”
She pointed out that women had right from time immemorial, distinguished themselves as shining examples in leadership of countries and organisations.
She said “there is also the need to convince religious and community leaders to know that when you educate the girl child, it is for the benefit of all; millions of girls are not allowed to finish school in Least Developed Countries.”
She, therefore, expressed hope that both women and girls, as well as youths would be able to engage government positively for the desired change.
She pledged to use her voice to help in educating and sensitising people against violation of women and girls.
Sesay is a British journalist of Sierra Leonean descent who worked as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International, but left in 2018.
As UNFPA’s goodwill ambassador, she shared her personal life experiences, her journey as a journalist and her interest in women and girls’ issues, we well as efforts to achieve an equal world.