CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK SUPPORTING A WOMAN AND HER BUSINESS BY IDORENYIN EYO PHD.

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INTRODUCTION A woman is a human being who is a female and generally must be above 18 years old. A Woman is a Champion on Heels. The role or rights of women in any society depend NOT ONLY on the status accorded them by that society, but on the status hat the women accord themselves. There are more than 7.5 billion people on earth and women make up more than 49%. Nigeria is a federal state with a population of about 150 million. Women make up more than half of the population. Nigeria’s legal system is pluralist. It is made of up of English common law, customary law, Islamic (Sharia) law and statutory law African and Nigerian society is inherently patriarchal. This is due to the influence of the various religions and customs in many parts of Nigeria. Here, women are seen as the ‘weaker sex’ and discriminatory practices by the State and society (especially by men) are condoned. Women in business, careers, professions, vocations and other profitable activities are admired by few but are subject to a lot of negative practices, biases, ideologies, and negative public views However, there are laws and policies that support the woman and her business. This presentation will analyse some which the presenter deems most important The presentation will be in segments, considering the fact that the world is a global village and women do businesses across nations and continents. The list is not conclusive. THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT SUPPORT A WOMAN AND HER BUSINESSESINTERNATIONAL LAWS AND POLICIES Regional Laws and Policies National Laws and Policies International/ Regional Laws and Policies Universal Declaration Of Human Rights Of 1948- ARTICLE 1( Equality of All Persons), et al The International Covenants of Civil and Political Rights of 1966- Art 2 et al The International Covenants of Economic Social and Cultural Rights of 1966- Art 2 et al The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 ( Articles 1-5 et al) The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Articles 1, 2, 3, 4 et al) Support no discrimination. The ECOWAS Treaty The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995 The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993 The International Conference on Population and Development 1994 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Et Al THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC F NIGERIA 1999(AS AMMENDED) In Nigeria Chapter Four of the Constitution of The Federal Republic of, 1999 as amended, the Fundamental Human Rights of every person is provided for and guaranteed. They include the Right to Life, the Right to Dignity of Human Person, the Right to Personal Liberty, the Right to Fair Hearing, the Right to Private and Family Life, the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, the Right to Freedom of Expression, Right to peaceful assembly and association, Right to freedom of movement, Right to freedom from discrimination, Right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria, and Right against compulsory acquisition of property. Section 42 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against a Nigerian citizen based on sex and other characteristics listed. Section 26 (2) (a) of the same Constitution discriminates against Nigerian women who wish to marry non-Nigerian men. Other Human Rights National Laws Like The Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015, The Child Rights Act of 2003, Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules of 2009, etc. There are challenges The Labour Act Chapter 198 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 However, Section 55 of the Labour Act Chapter 198 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 prohibits women except nurses from undertaking night work in a public or private industrial undertaking or in any agricultural undertaking. Section 56 of the same Act prohibits women from being employed in an underground mine except for those employed in management, health and services or training. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY-THE NIGERIAN COPYRIGHT LAW (CAP 28, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA There is statutory protection only for Nigerian companies in relation to all trademarks, patents, industrial designs and copyrights that the company registers as its own. Nigeria is signatory to the Paris Convention to registration of patents and industrial designs. It permits the holder of a copyrighted works to reproduce the work in any material form, publish the work, perform the work in public, produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work, make any adaptation of the work, etc. THERE ARE CHALLENGES The Police Act 2004 The provisions of the Police Act 2004 restrict women to secretarialduties, mandating them to seek permission to get married (section 124), prohibiting them from getting married until after 3 years of service and investigating their intended spouses for criminal records. The court however has nullified the provision of section 124 relying on the Constitution and the Charter to declare it as discriminatory in WELA v Attorney-General of the Federation 13 (Ekhator, 2015). Section 127 of the Act stipulates that an unmarried officer who gets pregnant will be dismissed. The Land Use Act , 1978 ┬┤ Women can acquire land and landed property in Nigeria by this law and the Nigerian Constitution mentioned above.. However, there is no absolute right of ownership over land in Nigeria: all legal persons hold land under a right of occupancy granted by the state in which the land is located. This right of occupancy operates as a 99-year lease from the state and is evidenced by a certificate of occupancy, which is a registered document. A certificate of occupancy is not conclusive proof of ownership. For this reason, it is important to establish the authenticity of all title documents in relation to a particular piece of land and get a thorough search report from a lawyer. Often, even some communities refuse to allow women own land. The courts will help here. DISPUTE RESOLUTION LAWS IN VARIOUS STATES Foreign judgments, international arbitral awards, local awards and ADR decisions are enforceable in Nigeria. Commercial and trade disputes are usually first brought before a State High Court or the Federal High Court. There is also a Court of Appeal, and a Supreme Court, which is the highest court in Nigeria. Historically inefficient, the procedural rules of the Nigerian courts have been updated in recent years creating greater ease and efficacy in the courts. State High Courts and other institutions have Dispute Resolution Mechanisms too The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was officially established in October 1992. Mandates the Agency to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of Food, Drugs, Cosmetics, Medical Devices, Packaged Water, Chemicals and Detergents (collectively known as regulated products). NAFDAC permits cover foods and drugs, so if a manufacturer produces any products that fall within these categories, then the product will need to be registered with NAFDAC. There are challenges TAXATION LAWS Every business in Nigeria is expected to pay taxes and this taxes are also called similar names all over the world. Some of these taxes are Company Income Tax: This is the tax is levied on the income of the business. Company income tax is charged at 30% of the profit earned by the company after all allowable deductions for a company with more than N100 Million Naira annual turnover. The tax is charged at 20% for a company with a turnover between N25 Million and N100 Million. ┬┤Value Added Tax (VAT): It is payable by the customer and is imposed on the supply of goods and services. The VAT is currently charged at 7.5%. Capital Gains Tax: This is 10% tax imposed on capital arising from sales, exchange or any other dispositions of properties. It is charged to the chargeable assets of a business. It is triggered when an asset is sold. Stamp Duties: This is a tax payable on instruments. The rate of this tax is dependent on the document and the value of the transaction on the face of it. It is usually charged at a fixed rate and ad valorem. THERE ARE MORE TAXES AND THIS IS NOT SUPPORTING WOMEN THE COMPANIES AND ALLIED MATTERS ACT 2020 A WHOLE LOT OF CHANGES NOW COMPANIES CAN HAVE ONE DIRECORS THE SHAREHOLDER CAN ALSO BE ONE MORE FLEXIBILITIES IN BOARD MEETINGS ETC SINGLE GENDER OTHER LAWS THAT SUPPORT WOMEN IN BUSINESS EIGHT LAWS THAT SUPPORT WOMEN IN THEIR BUSINESS/ PROFESSIONALLY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 The Equal Pay Act of 1963 The Equal Pay Act makes it explicitly illegal to pay women a lower wage than men simply based on sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) For instance, an employer cannot legally refuse to promote a woman because she has children and therefore, in the eyes of management, needs to spend more time with them. The Pregnancy Discrimination Action of 197 This law makes discrimination based on pregnancy or pregnancy – related conditions illegal under the PDA. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 Under this law, a woman working for a company with 50 or more employers can in many instances take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn child or newly adopted child. (Note that the leave is also available for men.) Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 199 Et al CHALLENGES TO WOMEN DOING BUSINESS? Challenges of Self Challenges IN THE work place Challenges of Bias Challenges in the Family Challenges by Intricate Bussines Laws and Unwinding Procedures Challenges of Finances and Resources Challenges of Employees and their stereotypes Challenges of Traditional and Cultural Bias Challenges of Religious Beliefs and Doctrines Challenge of Male Dominated Area OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF DOING BUSINESS AS A WOMAN: MOVING FORWARD

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