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April 23, 2024
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Group photogrpah of participants at the Women in Parliament Summit held in Abuja on Friday.

IWD: Adopt measures to increase women’s participation in politics–EU

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By Naomi Sharang

The European Union (EU), has urged political parties to adopt robust measures and strategies to increase women’s participation and representation.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi made this known during the Women in Parliament Summit held in Abuja on Friday.

The Summit to commemorate the International Women’s week was organised by the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).

The event has as its theme, “Inspiring Inclusion: Policy Mechanisms for Gender Parity in Politics.”

Isopi said  that the active participation of women at all levels of decision-making and politics was essential to the achievement of equality, sustainable development, peace and democracy.

She said that there was an urgent need for political parties to review and reform all founding and policy documents.

She said such documents include the  political parties’ constitutions, manifestos, party rules and procedures and strategy documents to incorporate national and international norms and obligations on gender equality.

“The ongoing constitution reform process presents an opportunity to adopt an inclusive legal framework that promotes equal participation of all Nigerians regardless of gender, ethnicity, age and disability status.

“Women’s representation in the 10th National Assembly is 7.4 per cent out of 469 combined seats in the Senate and House of Representatives.

“There has been no woman elected governor in Nigeria’s 25 years of democracy and the percentage of women appointed to political positions still falls significantly short compared to men.

“I am not quoting these figures to make it seem impossible, but to show that it is indeed possible,” she said

She said the  EU would continue to prioritise gender equality and women’s rights.

In her remarks, Rep. Miriam Onuoha, Chairperson, House Committee on TETFund called on traditional heads to pick a female candidate and sponsor her for elective positions.

“We could move away from conventional advocacies and campaign points to non-conventional advocacies such as appeals to our traditional institutions, faith-based organisations to sponsor women.

“Even if we have a little bit of the numbers, it will be nice.

“This is because if we are not on the core decision-making table, decisions that border on which of these bills comes as priorities becomes overlooked or may be watered-down because we are not there when critical decisions are taken.”

Also, Rep. Marie Ebikake (PDP-Bayelsa), encouraged women to have the passion for politics.

“I have been in this game of politics for 44 years. I am a grassroots woman.

“I believe that, first, women must have the passion for this game we call politics. When people say women are not included, I say – no, you must come out to show your interest from the grassroots.

On her part, Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, said that in 1960, Nigeria had her first female Senator, Wuraola Esan.

“However, 64 years later, there are just  four  female senators  out of the 109 Senators in the National Assembly.

“This is not progress. This is a call for intentional efforts that can be taken to ensure legislative reforms, specifically, constitutional amendments that can increase women representation.” (NAN)

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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