…Deputy speaker, Onyejiocha, others to attend
Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Women Groups across the country are set to launch Advocacy Hashtag and Signature Campaign in continuation of the five gender bills that were dropped in 2022 by the Ninth National Assembly.
The gender bills include the provision of special seats for women at National Assembly, affirmative action for women in political party administration – 35 percent of executive positions.
Others include a bill seeking to grant citizenship to foreign-born husbands of a Nigerian woman, indigenship and choice of married women on state of origin; access and inclusion of at least ten percent affirmative action in favour of women in ministerial appointments.
The groundbreaking initiative which is billed to be launched on Thursday, November 23, aimed at promoting the passage of the five gender bills is sponsored and promoted by USAID and Palladium, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Womanifesto, National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA), Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GCRN),SAGE and Gender Mobile.
Expected to be in attendance are the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, Minister of State for Labour, Hon. Nkiru Onyejeocha and other key influencers.
In a statement signed by Founder/Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the campaign will address key gender gaps in the 1999 Constitution.
She said this is done to ensure adequate awareness of the deficiencies in the constitution and to draw the attention of lawmakers and public to the need to have a representative constitution.
According to Akiyode-Afolabi, “Women’s representation in leadership roles is dishearteningly low; both in elective and appointive positions. Despite being half of the population and voters’ register, the numbers remain dismal.
“The constitution itself contains provisions that perpetuate gender bias, such as the silent stance on women’s rights to confer citizenship. There is an urgent need to address these disparities and ensure gender equality and inclusion of women in all spheres of life.
“In 2022, the 9th National Assembly threw out these bills, Womanifesto, a feminist non-political, women focused group with over 500 organisations across Nigeria, led the protest against the National Assembly after the bills were rejected.
“The gender cluster group was formed after this rejection and has also continued with advocacy visits and media awareness on the bills and their impact on Nigerian women.”
So far, the United Nations has repeatedly emphasized that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a necessary foundation for a peaceful and prosperous society.