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April 24, 2024

IWD: UN calls for more women representation in Nigeria’s politics

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By Justina Auta
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has called on the Federal Government to scale up efforts at ensuring a more robust participation of women in politics and in political office holding.
Kallon made the call at a National Policy Dialogue in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, (IWD) held in Abuja with the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”
The IWD is celebrated globally every March 8 in recognition of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and also a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
According to the coordinator, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systemic inequalities around the world, particularly on the vulnerable children, older persons, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, youths, low income earners and others.
He, therefore, advocated the need for Nigeria to adopt the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill and ensure its effective implementation to enable it to improve on its social and economic development, as well as promote gender equality.
He said “indeed, the evidence clearly show that Nigeria could increase the rate of its economic and social development several folds and improve the security and welfare of its population if it promotes greater empowerment of women and gender equality in all sectors.
“This will warrant not only the adoption of laws and policies like the gender and equal opportunities bill but their effective implementation” he said.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the ongoing review of the National Gender Policy would further articulate specific ways to balance power relations between men and women in political and other leadership positions.
According to her, the policy being reviewed will aide in transforming the institutions which continue to perpetrate gender injustice, poverty, and underdevelopment in the society.
Tallen explained that in spite of past efforts of government at integrating women into National Development Agenda, gender inequalities remained pervasive within most Nigerian space.
The minister explained that the IWD provides an opportunity for women to take stock of their demands for equality, development and peace.
According to her, the ministry will institute an annual forum to celebrate women who play significant roles to the society, as well as hold special month in the Nigerian calendar as Nigerian Women History Month.
The Country Representative of UN Women, Comfort Lamptey, said the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to over 18 million out of school girls.
Lamptey added  that it had also exercebated income insecurity for women as recent research showed that 98 per cent of women who owned businesses in Nigeria were forced to either scale back or shut down because of COVID-19.
Sen. Biodun Olujimi, the Ekiti South Constituency representative, stressed the need to embrace gender inclusion in all spheres of governance, particularly in political and appointive representation.
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