British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright.
The British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, said the United Kingdom was committed to protecting and empowering women and girls across the world, for them to build successful careers and had choices for their future.
Arkwright stated this during media training for gender reporters organised by British High Commission on Thursday in Abuja, in commemoration of the 2018 International Women’s Day with the theme: ‘Press for Progress’.
The High Commissioner said the UK was also committed to protecting and empowering the poorest and most vulnerable girls to acquire skills they needed to get good jobs.
“Championing girls’ quality education to promote global stability will be at the heart of UK foreign development and defence policy, to positively transform the lives of women and girls in conflict settings.
“Ensuring equal rights for men and women is essential and proven to reduce poverty and increase stability, allowing girls into the classroom is the single most powerful spur to development and progress.
“Increasing opportunities for girls’ quality education is vital because when a girl is safe, healthy and educated when society values her as an equal when she has control over her body and decisions.
“When she can choose when and how many children to have, when she has the resources and support to earn a decent income, then women and girls thrive.
“Poverty is reduced, society is more stable and everyone benefits,’’ he said.
Arkwright said evidence had proven that if all women went to secondary school, infant mortality would be cut by half and three million young lives would be saved every year.
He also said that about 12 million children would not have their growth stunted by nutrition and the tragedy of child marriages would become less common if all women went to secondary school.
“There is a low level of women’s participation in the democratic process with only eight of 109 senators are women, 19 of 360 members of the House of Representatives and 0 of 36 state Governors.
“We must do more to empower women to become political and business leaders, so we all together can push for greater gender equality.’’