Stakeholders have met in Nigeria to restrategise on repositioning and increasing women participation in leadership and governance in the society.
The stakeholders, at the seventh Voice of Women conference and awards (VOW2023) in Abuja, stressed the need for more women visibility to ensure good governance and development in the continent.
Erelu Bisi-Fayemi, VOW2023 Chairperson, noted the challenges affecting African women and girls, however, said huge progress has been made in changing the political landscape in some countries.
“In spite of the many challenges that we continue to face as African women, we have managed to make the case for women’s leadership.
“And in several countries, we have changed the political landscapes in Liberia, Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa and Kenya to mention a few,” she said.
She noted that Nigerian women were more educated and wealthiest in Africa, even though it has not translated into political power, featuring poorly on most global indicators
She said: “The most recent Global Gender Gap Index 2023 ranked Nigeria 130th out of 146 countries.
“Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 12 per cent of global figures. “The country also has the highest number of child brides at 22 million, as well as highest in West Africa and 11th highest globally.”
She, therefore, stressed the need to change the narrative, be committed to social change, qualitative legal and policy frameworks that could remove oppressive patriarchal norms and values.
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara and Chairman, Nigerian Governor’s Forum, noted the role of women in his administration, which focused on gender mainstreaming.
AbdulRazaq said: “In Kwara, women are in charge, with 56 per cent of women making majorities in the cabinet.
“As Chairman of NGF, in partnership with Governors Wives Forum, women can constitute a policy where, for example, states and constituencies that elect women into legislative houses can benefit financially, so you can assume any amount.
“This way, states and constituencies will go for the money, this is applicable in fiscal responsibility where we are told that if you publish your budget, you get two million dollars.
“This can enrich governance and capacity building.
“If we have such programmes in gender issues, I’m certain that many constituencies will go for the money, that way more women will be brought to the table to make the right decisions and make the change.”
Dr Salma Ibrahim-Anas,the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Health, stressed that women should be on the table where development plans are rolled out.
“Nigeria cannot continue to stand on one leg as we do at the moment.
”Women constitute almost 50 per cent of our population and we need to complement each other by creating the right opportunities as every nation’s success is tied to the activities of women,” she said.
Ibrahim-Anas noted that the nation was focused on the wellbeing of women and girls, just as the HPV vaccines have been rolled out recently by the government.
She said: “It is a call to action that girls have access to good health so that they can have access to good education. “Without education, we are nowhere. I’m only standing here because my parents made the right decision at the right time to send me to school.”
Ms Toun Sonaiya, the Chief Executive Officer, Women Radio 91.7 fm, stressed the role of the media in promoting women’s political participation in Nigeria.
“We ventured beyond our operational base and are penetrating different geopolitical zones and communities through collaborative partnership with media and women led organisations to amplify women’s voice and advocacy for change,” she said.
Dr Margaret Karungaru, the Commissioner, National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), Republic of Kenya, stressed the need for women to support each other to ensure inclusivity in all areas.
“Nigerian women need to support each other, not as competitors or adversaries. but support and ensure no one is left behind as we want to see more women in parliament,” she urged.
Similarly, Mufuliat Fijabi, Executive Director, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative (SGAI), urged women to restrategise in ensuring the five gender Bills that were rejected at the National Assembly are reconsidered for passage.
Other highlights of the event was the conferment of awards to some dignitaries and organisations for their support to women course. (NAN)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria