Leadership (Abuja)

19 February 2014

Nigeria: Women Want Equal Representation At National Conference

Some female professionals and entrepreneurs on Wednesday appealed to the Federal Government to give equal representation to men and women at the forthcoming National Conference.

The women under the aegis of NECA's Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) made the call at a forum in Lagos.

The NNEW First Vice President, Mrs Fayo Williams, commended the Federal Government for approving the conference but frowned at the low number of positions reserved for women.

Williams said that, of the 492 delegates, only about 72 positions (14.6 per cent) were set aside for women.

She said that women should be given at least 35 per cent representation in accordance with the 2007 National Gender Policy.

" If 50 per cent is not feasible, women should be given at least 35 per cent representation at the conference.

"We are counting on professional groups, political parties, socio-political associations, cultural and religious bodies, and other identified groups in the list to nominate women," Williams said.

The NNEW's president said that women would be marginalised if the proposed 75 per cent majority, being adopted as the basis for decision making at the conference, would be sustained.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Josephine Soboyejo, said that women had continued to be marginalised in political positions.

Soboyejo noted that only the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan favoured women.

She said that Jonathan gave 33 per cent of federal appointments to women.

He noted that women representation in the appointments had been 10 per cent.

Soboyejo urged the government to implement the outcome of the conference to justify the amount of money set aside for it.

Contributing, the Director of Legal Research and Human Development Centre, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa, said that the legitimacy of the outcome of the national conference would be affected, if women were excluded or inadequately represented.

Atsenuwa said that equal representation at the conference would help to x-ray how women had been living in Nigeria. (NAN)

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