The National Assembly, NASS, and other concerned stakeholders have been urged to revisit the pro-equality gender bill, which seeks 35 per cent women inclusion in politics.
The Representative of The African Press Club,TAPC, Chichi Ahamba,
made the called on Tuesday in Abuja during a roundtable engagement, to demand for women’s participation in governance and decision-making in Nigeria.
Chichi said it is unacceptable that only 19 out of the 469 legislators in Nigeria are women, giving men enormous available benefits of governance.
She emphasiszed on the importance of the 35 per cent gender affirmative action, stating that TAPC would continue to support the advancement of women rights and participation across Nigeria.
She further enjoined the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)to intensify it’s advocacy towards the realisation of the 35 per cent affirmative action.
She said: “Nigeria is going into elections in less than a year (March 2023). The African Press Club (TAPC) believes that this therefore, is a great time to mount pressure on politicians who usually count on women votes to win political seats. If the rejection of the bills is successfully upturned, this will send a message that women will no longer accept patriarchal systems that oppress them.
“The media, civil society and the like in Nigeria have the opportunity during this election season to implement a sustained media campaign that will draw attention of policy makers and other arms of government and pressure them to reconsider the gender bills ahead of the forthcoming elections.”
“In the context of this intervention, those that have power and will benefit by maintaining the status as it is are men including the 102 male senators (only 7 women are in the senate), 338 male members of the House of Representatives (only 22 women are in the House of Representatives). This status quo will also benefit myriads of male political position seekers that dominate political parties in the country,” she said
She also said TAPC will work towards supporting legislation that are aimed at achieving gender parity in governance.
“TAPC will support the advancement of women human rights and political participation by contributing to feminist leadership across Nigeria, Passing legislation that allows more women to participate in politics, will ultimately contribute to figures of gender parity across the country as Nigeria still struggles to reach 35% affirmative Action on gender parity in almost all aspects of governance.
“More women in decision-making positions mean that Nigeria will be contributing to the advancement of the global ambitious goal of advancing gender equality by 2026 through the Generation Equality Forum processes.
On his part, One of the Resource Persons, a Senior Editor with Channel Network Afrique, CNA, Mr Chux Ukwuatu, said one of the major banes of women’s participation in politics is money politics, seeing the heavy financial demands required to participate in the nation’s political space.
“A major factor against women participation is “money bag” politics. Political campaigns in Nigeria involve huge spending and this discourages many women from participating in the process. Nomination forms alone are beyond the reach of many women who would want to participate in the process.
“Political parties should always provide a level playing ground to enhance women participation in politics. There should be more opportunities to raise awareness of gender equality among members of the media, including through special workshops and toolkits, so they can begin to practice gender-sensitive reporting.
Similarly, the president of National Association of Women Journalists, Ladi Bala, said democracy in Nigeria is not fully practiced as women are excluded in government and other leadership positions.
She said women are not in short supply to drive the needed change in society, stating that the media should begin campaigns that would place women in a good light for political positions.