Legislators in the upcoming 10th National Assembly have been tasked by civil society organizations to prioritize gender inclusivity.
When speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on May 16, 2023, the CSOs made this demand.
Prof. Joy Ezeilo, the founder of Women Aid Collective (WACOL), claimed that despite the 9th Assembly recording some successes, bills that promote gender inclusivity did not receive the necessary attention.
Ezeilo stated that despite appeals from stakeholders, the assembly failed to pass five crucial gender bills. He urged the 10th Assembly to work arduously to change the narrative.
She listed a few of the bills, among them one that sought to amend the Constitution to include special seats for women in the national assembly and affirmative action for women in party leadership.
According to Ezeilo, the bills also included one that sought to add 111 new seats to the National Assembly and to allocate 35% of political positions based on appointment to women.
“It is crucial to participate at all times, and it is especially important for the representatives of the 10th National Assembly to start putting gender equality on the agenda occasionally.
“This is so they can understand why it makes sense to increase women’s participation and, more importantly, why it is important to acknowledge that women have a right to participate in national governance.
“We run a democracy, and for us to have a sustainable constitutional, democracy, and development, we need both men and women,” she declared.
According to Ezeilo, the 10th Assembly needs to give gender equality issues top priority in order to correct previous mistakes.
“They would have, in a sense, solved half of Nigeria’s problem if they actually looked at all those gender-related bills and handled it.
This is so because there are so many systemic, structural inequalities that have an impact on everyone else, she explained.
According to Ezeifo, research has shown that more women in positions of authority, particularly in the legislature, would create laws that were sensitive to all people, especially various categories of people.
Beyond this, you can observe how well the women performed in this assembly on a decimal scale. There are only three elected female senators; there are 14 or 15 male representatives in the House of Representatives, and there are about 15 Houses of Assembly without even a single female representative.
“Then, given Nigeria’s standing in the international community as a distinct leader in the African Union, leading in ECOWAS, and hosting ECOWAS, you ask yourself.
“Nigeria will always rank last in the rankings of the World Economic Forum Assessment and the indices for the Gender Gap Report; they look at politics, health, and education, and we did the worst in terms of the gender issue,” she said.
Ezeilo urged the legislators to ensure that they rewrite the history of the gender bills.
The president of the Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), Mrs. Ebere Ifendu, also expressed disappointment in the lack of female lawmakers elected to the 10th Assembly.
We are depending on our soldiers. Additionally, we need your cooperation. The first bill you ought to introduce is a group bill; it ought to be the five gender bills. Change from the 10th Assembly, please.
Governance and Gender for an Inclusive Nigeria is a document we created. The Youth Hub, Inclusive Friends, and the Women in Politics Forum are the three organizations that contributed to that document.
“We are looking for the male legislators’ support. All of them are expected to vote when these bills are presented.