International Women’s Day (March 8) is a worldwide celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. Today it serves as a call to action for advancing women’s equality. As a result, the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow,” with the tagline “breaking the bias.”
As women around the world have benefited from this progress, it is crucial to recognize that the women’s movement agenda needs to be broadened to include female sex workers and trans women who do not have all of the advantages because it is clear that bias in individuals and social systems is a significant contributor to inequalities in every social domain. Furthermore, gender discrimination based on job choice, sexual orientation, and gender identity closely affects women.
Greater Women Initiative for Health and Rights (GWIHR) is a sex worker-led community-based organization founded on a strong desire to aid in the growth of sex workers in their various forms. We accomplish this by increasing the capacity of sex workers to make meaningful contributions to communal empowerment, encouraging sex workers to participate in decision-making spaces, and preventing Gender-Based Violence, stigma and discrimination against sex workers, and life-threatening diseases. Furthermore, GWIHR develops intervention programs targeted at advocacy, sensitization, empowerment, education, monitoring, evaluation, and the use of sex workers’ hands-on skills to stimulate development that would result in preventative health and human rights responses. GWIHR, being a sex workers-led organization, has a unique perspective on the issues confronting sex workers, especially trans women who identify as sex workers.
Over time, the world has observed how human rights and health issues have hampered the capacity of female and trans-women sex workers to live up to their potential and how societal inequalities have directly and indirectly impacted health inequity within this group. Ensuring the rights of sex workers is critical to attaining gender equality as defined by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
All women Movements should ensure that advocacy and services include and recognize that female sex workers, including transgender and nongender binary sex workers, are most affected by discrimination, gender-based violence, and barriers to accessing justice. All feminist movements should support the human rights of sex workers by accepting that Human rights are universal, and the right of sex workers are human rights. In addition, Sex workers must be at the center of developing sex work policies and programs. We urge all women’s rights movements in Nigeria, particularly feminist movements, to join the campaign against the criminalization of sex work, stigma, exclusion, and violence by including the voices and demands of female and transgender sex workers in feminism campaigns.
Nigerian Government should ensure that national and state legislation prohibits discrimination in all forms and ensure the implementation of affirmative action measures to achieve substantive equality across the spectrum of economic, social, and cultural rights. In addition, pay particular attention to sex workers in their diversities while Recalling that gender equality is intersectional and requires the dismantling of discrimination in all spheres. We encourage every woman and girl, including female and trans women sex workers, to speak up for themselves, exercise their rights, live their lives free of discrimination, stigmatization, harassment, or abuse, and make their own life/job choices.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.