…2 in Reps in each 36 states, FCT
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Coalition of Women Leaders in collaboration with United Nation (UN) have demanded for the review of constitution that will give one woman a seat in three Senatorial districts in each 36 states and Abuja, and give Women two seats in federal house representative from each 36 states of the federation and Abuja respectively.
The Coalition also advocated for equitable women representation in government, for at least 35% women in appointive offices at the Federal and State levels, as well as Include Gender as a benchmark for Federal Character.
This, they said is in conjunction with Constitution that has already created the Federal Character as an Affirmative Action Mechanism that ensured the representation of margainalized groups in the country.
Making the demands at the press conference on constitutional review of public hearing organized by the coalition in kaduna on Wednesday, the women body also said Nigerian Constitution should correct these male-dominant narratives in legal drafting.
“We are therefore proposing these reforms to the constitutional provision;
A leaders of the coalition Mrs Emilia CsaSzar who earlier presented an address stressed the need for women equality, as the coalition also proposed creation of additional special seats for women in the Federal and State Legislative Houses:
“(a) In Senate: one seat for a woman from the 36 states and the Federal Capital, (b) In the House of Representatives: two seats for women from the 36 states and the Federal Capital (c) In the States’ House of Assembly: one seat from each of the three senatorial districts”, they stated..
In addition to these Constitutional provisions, “the National Gender Policy was also intended to increase the number of women in political office, party organs, and public life by setting a goal of 35 percent affirmative action to support women in all elected and appointed positions by 2015.
“But our current reality in 2021, is that women’s political representation is still below 10 percent. It is no longer news that women in Nigeria are yet to benefit from these provisions.We align ourselves closely with the Women’s Political Participation Working Group and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and other relevant government MDAs CSOs and even the private sector that have also contributed or are contributing to the constitutional amendment by engaging the government to see that women’s participation in government and the political space is addressed thereby giving room for addressing GBV and other women and girls related issues.
Earlier, the coalition recalled that the global pandemic has demonstrated the undeniable capacity of women to lead nations through crises and recovery.
According to them, Global statistics show that counties that invest in women’s leadership, and social development experience better socio-economic and peace-building outcomes.
“Countries with women in leadership showed reduced COVID-19-related infection and death. Indeed, in our very own state of Kaduna, the COVID-19 task force was led by Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.
“It is in this spirit that the Coalition of Women Leaders in Kaduna on COVID-19 Response was formed – to strengthen state capacities and women’s participation in COVID response and broader peace building initiatives. It is no longer news that not much has been achieved to improve women’s participation and gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions despite a formal support for it through the National Gender Policy (2006) which recommends a benchmark of 35 percent in all sectors.
“The return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999 has not improved the level of inclusion of women at all levels as the proportion of women in both elective and appointive positions has remained low.“We the People,” represent all Nigerians and recognizing that gender equality is a human right, as emphasized in the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No.5.
“This implies that women should enjoy the same status as men, so that they can fully realize their human rights and have a meaningful impact on the society. As it stands, the Constitution does not adequately afford women this opportunity.Women need to be fully represented in the Constitution, first by recognizing the use of gender-neutral and sensitive language in our Constitution.
“Masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ political participation, which further hinders inclusive governance in Nigeria.