The Federal Government is benefiting from grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to start a Nigeria Gender Innovation Laboratory to promote gender balance and close widening gaps in the labour sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Williams Alo, said this when a team from Africa Gender Innovation Lab of the World Bank paid a courtesy visit to the ministry in Abuja.
He pointed out that legislations and policies in Nigeria were gender friendly, noting that the government was complying with the 35 per cent affirmative action in policies and programmes.
This, he said, included that women were given four months maternity leave, to enable nursing mothers to stay home and take care of their babies with full wages paid.
He said: “In the Ministry of Labour and Employment, we make sure that there is no discrimination between men and women and we preach against it.
“In all policies and programmes we make sure there is equality, no discrimination of any sort even in wages.”
Alo said the Nigerian government had been gender-friendly and sensitive in its policies and programmes toward the goal of promoting the welfare of women, both in the informal and formal sectors of the economy.
Alo said the initiative by Africa Gender Innovation Lab was a welcomed development, meant to promote and advance the course of women not only in employment but economically, politically, in formal and informal sectors.
He assured the team that Nigeria was ahead of many countries championing gender equality.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Julia Viallant, Leader of the Africa Gender Innovation team, said the purpose of the visit was to figure out “what works and what doesn’t” to improve gender equality.
She added that the overview of the organisation’s work was to use knowledge generated from studies on programmes done in the Sub-Saharan Africa to close the gender gap and promote Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Viallant said African Gender Innovation Lab was particularly interested in improving gender equality in employment, agriculture and entrepreneurship, using regular evidence and policy making to improve women’s income on productivity, access to assets and agency.