Nigeria: Ex-Senator Suggests Entrenchment of Gender Policy in Constitution

11 December 2019

Ms Binta Garba, former Senator Representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, has advocated the entrenchment of the National Gender Policy into the constitution to improve the participation of women in politics and governance.

Garba made the call at the National Dialogue on Women and Youth Active Roles in Politics organised by the African Union Development Agency; the News Partnership for Africa's Partnership (AUDA-NEPAD) and Women in Politics Forum (WIPF).

She said that the call became imperative to make right the terrain for women in politics that she described as getting too bad.

"It is time for women's participation to be enhanced because we are the ones who bring in people to the office with our population, so when we galvanise that strength, we can increase participation for youths and women," she said.

Ms Gloria Akobundu, Chief Executive Officer, AUDA-NEPAD, said that the programme was organised to discuss the challenges, achievements of women and youths and to chart the way forward.

Akobundu said that the objective of the programme was to strengthen the partnership between government and women to look at the gender activities positively from a constructive manner and see how to help women.

She said that there were a lot of partnerships ongoing that could benefit women and urged them to take advantage of the partnership programmes to excel in various fields.

She said that NEPAD would partner with the National Assembly to put the issues of women on the table to be able to achieve better participation for them.

She also called for the need for women to have a national contributory purse for the purpose of funding females in politics and to support them to take up government positions.

Earlier, Ms Ebere Ifendu, President, Women in Politics Forum, said that the only thing that would give women affirmation for more participation was strong legislation.

"Until there is such legislation like 35 per cent affirmation or there is gender equality which in the true sense of it, is 50, 50 per cent participation, women's participation will not increase.

"We are advocating for the amendment of the constitution to include looking at the gender policy and the federal character system which should be known as federal character and gender commission.

"That way, if it says you must appoint a minister from all the states, it will also include that a certain percentage of the ministerial must be women," she said.

According to Ifendu, until there is such legislation, there are little women can achieve adding that it is time to begin to name and shame leaders who fail in their promises to increase women's participation.

Ms Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs who was represented by Princess Jummai Idonije, Special Assistance Technical to the minister, reiterated the commitment of the ministry as a mercenary for gender mainstreaming to educate women.

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