The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has urged the 10th National Assembly to reopen the conversation to promote the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunity (GEO) bill into law.
Blessing Duru, the national coordinator of NFF, appealed on Friday in Abuja.
Duru told NAN that restarting conversations around the GEO bill would further educate society on its role and the impact it would make in the lives of women and girls in Nigeria.
She explained that the bill sought to institutionalise the protection and rights of human beings and ensured a level playing ground for everyone to participate actively in all areas irrespective of sex.
“The gender equal opportunity bill is a framework that articulates issues around women and girls.
“And it is a necessity to have passed as a law in our country so that the issues around women and girls can be addressed holistically using a national framework.
“These issues should be seen as a national concern and given the platform to also participate as places where national agendas, and decisions are being made. That also impacts our lives as well,” she said.
The coordinator added that the bill would also eliminate discrimination against women and ensure equal opportunities for everyone.
According to her, advocacies are ongoing to enlighten the public, particularly women groups, rural and grassroots persons on the GEO bill, its impacts, and benefits if passed into law.
“Rural women will have a lot of benefit from this. They have a lot of benefits because, as I said, the provisions in this bill represent Nigerian women, their issues, concerns, and their fears.
“So passing the bill into law automatically begins to address their issues, gives them hope and trust that the Nigerian government hears them.
“It will also give them hope that the government is also interested in ensuring that we create a safe enabling environment for everyone including the woman in the rural as well.”
On the role of the media in the advocacies, Duru said that some journalists were recently trained on the tenets of the GEO to enable them to highlight it in their work for reintroduction at the 10th NASS.
She said: “The media has a critical role to play in advocating for the passage of this bill into law.
“Now that we have the 10th Assembly, the media should push the conversation for the reopening of the bill so that they can prioritise it for discussion at the various meetings that they will be having.”
She, therefore, implored the media to disseminate vital and accurate information to the public that would ignite public discourse.
The gender equality bill had earlier passed the second reading at the 9th NASS in 2023 but was discarded as they couldn’t secure the required majority vote.
The five gender bills include a bill to provide special seats for women in the National Assembly, Affirmative action for women in political party administration- 35 percent of executive positions, and another bill seeking to grant citizenship to foreign-born husbands of a Nigerian woman. NAN