International Women’s Day: CISLAC Celebrates all women, calls for social inclusiveness.
Today the entire world celebrates women of all races, all religion and sexual affiliations for the great contributions and achievement the world has recorded because of women. As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC lends her voice to laud women across the globe and to use this opportunity to call for social inclusion of women and girls in the developmental process of all nations with specific focus to Nigeria. To further buttress our interest in promoting women, CISLAC is hosting a side event in New York on the 15th of March, 2019, with the title: Promoting Social Protection for African Women, to discuss issues affective women’s development in Africa.
No nation can fully achieve sustainable development without including women, girls and all vulnerable groups. As the giant of Africa, with population of women a little higher than that of men, female headed households almost equal to those of male headed households, Nigeria is doing itself a disservice by excluding women in its political and socio-economic development. Women have been sidelined in the helm of affairs in the country politically as established in the lopsided elective and appointive positions in Nigeria. The eight assembly recorded very few women vying for elective positions and even fewer appointive positions were recorded for women. This discouraging turn of event has seen even fewer women vying for elective positions under this political dispensation. The only female presidential aspirant under this 9th assembly bowed out under pressure at the dying moment. The 8th assembly recorded only 6.2% of female senators out of 109 senators, male senators constituting 9.38%. The house of representatives is also no different as 22 seats alone were secured by women as against 360 seats leaving the whooping 338 seats for their male counterparts.
In the area of education, women also have their fair share of discrimination as the girl-child school enrolment in the north east and west remain under 20 and 25 percent respectively, according to World Bank report. It is said that poverty has the face of a woman and this myth is yet to be demystified because of extreme cases of gender disparity, abuse and undermining. How then can a woman/girl that is not educated function properly and provide for her family? All these injustices contribute to poverty which in turns affects the nation as a whole.
Similarly, since the United Nations Commission on the Elimination of all forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) was ratified in Nigeria, such bill as the Gender and Equal Opportunity bill which is an adaptation of CEDAW has regularly been thrown out of the assembly. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act which has been passed is yet to become active or implemented by the Nigerian government. It appears that domestic violence is even on the increase even when we have a law that even has sanctions on offenders to tackle the menace of violence against women. The National Gender Policy which has also been reviewed to include 50% affirmative action is only being paid lip service.
We therefore call on the Nigerian government to commence the implementation of VAPP and the amended National Gender Policy.
We call on the government to ensure that women are carried along during this political dispensation through 50% appointive position. We call on the 8th National Assembly to as a matter of urgency pass the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill before they exit office.
We condemn all forms of discrimination against women and call on equitable distribution of resources in favour of women.
We further call on the Nigerian government to become more responsive in implementation of UBEC and funding of education to encourage girl-child enrolment and completion of school.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)