Groups identify strategies for improved women’s participation in democracy

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Women for Women International have identified social and cultural norms as barriers to women’s freedom of speech and participation in democracy in Nigeria.

They made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at a roundtable on the publication of a research project titled ‘Listen to Women: Identifying Barriers to Women’s Freedom of Speech and Participation in Democracy in Nigeria.’

They said that addressing these challenges would not only enhance women freedom of speech, but also enhance adequate participation in democracy.

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founding Director, WARDC, noted that the prevalence of sociocultural norms still affected the ability of women to participate in peace processes in their communities and states.

Akiyode-Afolabi said ‘Women who have information and could support peace processes are being denied the opportunity to participate in spite of the fact that the country has signed the UN security council resolution.

‘The peace securit
y architecture in the state is not allowing women and accepting women to be part of it.

‘The project is called Listen to Women: Identifying the barriers Against Women’s Freedom of Speech and Participation in Democracy. It’s a project that focuses specifically on Plateau State but however has a national coverage.’

She explained that one of the recommendations of the research was for government to engender its security architecture to ensure that more women participate, especially in Plateau State, where the research was carried out.

‘Plateau State has signed the Gender and Equal Opportunity bill into law, which allows for women’s equal participation, so we are calling on the government to ensure that the law becomes activated,’ she said.

Also, Zainab Gbobaniyi, Advocacy Coordinator, Women for Women (WfWI) said the event was aimed at disseminating the research findings.

‘The research being an evidence based and carried out in five communities in Plateau State cutting across three local governments of Jos E
ast, Riyom and Pankshin, tells the stories directly from the women themselves,’ she said.

Also, Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Mandate Secretary, said the direction of the present administration was geared towards promoting the well-being of women, increasing their political participation and empowerment.

Bemjamins-Laniyi, while speaking on domestic violence and early child marriage, said ‘forming coalitions, working with traditional councils and working with male champions have yielded a lot of results and I think that is a very good approach.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria