ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) has called for 50 per cent affirmative action on women political inclusion in the country’s politics.
Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director of the organisation made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a press conference on Women Political Participation.
Obi also demanded accountability from the government on its commitment to gender equality as the country had signed on to it through the National Gender Policy.
” We have moved from the silencing, subjugation and discrimination of women and girls expressed through cultural norms and practices from the earlier years (1950s-1990s) to some level of recognition of women and girls’ right in Nigeria.
” Women are now organising and challenging the patriarchal systems that suppress their dignity and autonomy at the community, state and national levels.
“We have gained traction in dismantling these cultural norms and practices that sometimes transcend into national lives and space where sexism and sexist ideologies and policies are expressed to legislation and policies that promote the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.
” We have seen increase in the opening of spaces and processes for women’s participation in decision making.
” We have also witnessed many women being included in the traditional councils which used to be a closed space for women in states like Enugu, Kaduna and Ebonyi.”
Obi, however, regretted that the slow gains over the years in advancing women’s rights and the achievement of gender equality in Nigeria, especially in the area of women’s political participation was being eroded by lack of political will to create the enabling environment.
She added that women’s equal participation in decision making was not a demand for justice or democracy but should be seen as a necessary condition for women’s interest to be taken into account.
” Without the perspective of women at all levels of decision making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
” We therefore challenge and demand a response from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and all state governors especially given the next political dispensation to ensure at least 50 per cent of his cabinet are women.
“The state government should also ensure meaningful and strategic inclusion of women in appointive positions at the state and local government levels,” she said.