This Day (Lagos)

18 December 2012

Nigeria: Groups Advocate Women Participation in Policies

The involvement of women in policies and decision-making are fundamental for sustainable development in Nigeria.

This was the focal point at the just conduced 2012 International Human Rights Day celebrations by the West African Women Association (WAWA).

The event, tagged 'My Voice Counts,' which was held at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Liaison, Onikan, Lagos, was attended by distinguished guests amongst them was Ifeoma Odemba who represented the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, and some others.

The event was held to remind women, both the young and old, of their rights.

Speaking with THISDAY, one of the board members of WAWA, Chief Agnes Otoboje, said: "WAWA is an ECOWAS based group aimed at fighting for the rights of women, so as for their voices to be heard."

Speaking at the event, the association's focal person and chair regional body, Chief Mrs. Beatrice O. Ubeku, who was represented by one of the members, said it was very sad to see and imagine that in Nigeria, the voice of too many women and girls continue to be stifled through discrimination, threats and violence.

According to her, discrimination did not only hold back progress for women and girls, but also for all the citizens of the Nigerian nation.

She said it was time to remove the barriers to women's full and equal participation in the economy, in politics and in all aspects of public life.

According to her, women's voice need to be heard "in the country, in our village councils, in trade unions, in peace talks, in government cabinets, in corporate bounder and in all areas of public life, when woman and man are together, decisions are better reflected to the diverse needs of the society. Companies with higher level of gender equality have higher levels of growth and performance. Women leaders inspire young women and girls to expand their horizons, and pave the way for equality".

She also added that despite the fact that women constituted 51 per cent of the world's population, they remained grossly under represented across public life.

She believed that to make equality real, it was time to repeal discriminatory laws and policies, align laws with international human rights treaties, and open the door and take affirmative action by enacting temporary special measures such as quotes, to unleash women's full participation in peace and security when even the needs arise in geo-political zones of the country.

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