International Women’s Day: NIGERIA WOMEN SET 5 POINT AGENDA

The International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The event celebrates women’s achievements and raises awareness about women’s equality and lobbies for accelerated gender parity.

Observed for the first time in 1911, International Women’s Day aims to highlight and recognise the achievements of women in different spheres while also bringing attention to important issues including gender discrimination that exist even today.

But Women in Nigeria will not be celebrating this year, instead they will be on the streets of the country protesting against what they termed as the “dehumanization of Nigerian Women” by the Nigerian legislature.

Recently, The male-dominated legislature recently rejected an attempt to recalibrate this imbalance, thereby introducing a cog in the path to addressing age-long discrimination against women, which also has stunted development.

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi Co-Convener, Womenifesto, a women group, in a press release said, “Nigeria has a woeful women representation in political and elective positions. At the National Assembly (comprising the Senate with 109 members and the House of Representatives with 360 members totaling 469 members of parliament), only 29 are women (six per cent of the total).

There are, however, 440 men at the Nigeria National Assembly. A low women representation in leadership positions amounts to denying half of Nigeria’s population the voice & opportunity to contribute to governance and development.”

The statement jointly signed by Ebere Ifendu Chairperson, Women in politics Forum, a counterpart women group, said women are making the following demands:

“Our Demands are:

  1. Urgent re-convening, reconsideration, and immediate passage of the five women/gender-related bills: Bills number 35, 36, 37, 38, and 68.
  2. The passing of the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEOB) Bill, currently before the senate.
  3. Resuscitation and the passage of the Bill on “Support for Women Participation in Elective and Appointive Positions Bill 2020 before the House of Representatives.
  4. Immediate Domestication of the African Charters Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Nigeria ratified in 2004.
  5. Immediate domestication of the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Nigeria ratified in 1985.
    Our resolve to continue this struggle is to push back on the misogynistic attitude of the NASS, the pattern of neglect of women concerns and disregard for womanity, severally women have been embarrassed by the gender insensitive practices of the law makers. The failure to address women issues through the gender bill shows that women are irrelevant.
    We reject further dehumanization of Nigerian Women. The constitution should cure the defect and we will continue to protest to show our dissatisfaction.”

The women group in the statement called on the Senate President and the Hon. Speaker to call an urgent meeting to discuss how to referees the wrong, ,”if not we shall continue to occupy the NASS”, they threatened.

The women group also, call on all Nigerian men and women to join the rally, taking place simultaneously today across Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt and other major cities.

As part of activity to mark the International Women Day on March 8, 2022, more women have joined their voices against the recent rejection of the gender bill by the Nigerian Senate.

The South South Zonal Coordinator of the Gender and Constitution Reform Network, Emem Okon, said the Nigerian Senate is yet to appreciate the importance of advancing equality of all citizens.

“The Senate rejected the Gender Bill despite the efforts of wives of the Nigerian President and Vice President, this is sad. Out of 109 Senators, only 7% are women! Out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, only 22 of them are women. The Nigerian Senators must stop discriminating against women! We constitute half the population of this nation, so we deserve 50% of the seats,” the women activist said.

On her part, the Chairperson, Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalist, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana said the Nigerian Senator rejection of the Gender Bill is a wake up call for Nigerian women to take the bull by the horns by participating massively come 2023.

“If we actually desire for more women in position of power, we must use what we have to get what we want as the 2023 General Elections draws closer. We have our PVCs in our hands that can do the magic for us, since women are always more in number during campaigns and voting time. We must use our PVCs since we are more in number to Vote them out of those offices to allow our women occupy them and we don’t even need additional offices or positions to be created considering the high cost the country already facing. We must restrategise to sponsor women, who are willing, well able to go into politics to go and pick up forms to contest for positions of their choice. We must also stand by them from the beginning to the end giving them the prominence they deserved until the battle is won,” she said.

The Rivers State NAWOJ Chairperson, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana said ” here in Rivers State as we commemorates this year 2022 IWD. NAWOJ and other Women groups are embarking on a road walk in that regards to create the needed sensitisation and awareness campaign for our women to know that the change and breaking the bias that we want is already in our hands without us knowing it, the PVCs”, the NAWOJ Chairperson said.

OPrecious Ahiakwo-Ovie reports women in Rivers State will stage a one day walk in solidarity with one Million women’s march for The constitution Women Want today, from Isaac Boro Park to parts of Port Harcourt metropolis.

Reported by Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie

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