• Sunday, June 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

IWD: ActionAid worried rejected gender bills would prolong fight for parity

IWD: ActionAid worried rejected gender bills would prolong fight for parity

ActionAid Nigeria has expressed worry that the rejection of gender bills affecting women by the National Assembly will further prolong the fight to achieve parity and better inclusion of women in governance.

The human rights and non-governmental organisation working to tackle poverty and injustice in Nigeria said the consideration of the bills could have marked record progress in addressing some of the concerns of Nigerian women as the world observes the 2022 International Women’s Day.

Rather, the decision has cast gloom on the celebrations, triggering protests in parts of the country.

The advocacy group said it is not too late for the assembly to reaffirm its commitment to gender equality by re-presenting and reconsidering the five (5) proposed Gender Bills in the fifth Constitution Alteration Bills.

Ene Obi, country director, ActionAid Nigeria in a statement on Tuesday described the decision of the ninth assembly as a threat to the achievement of adequate women representation in governance.

She said the voting pattern shows women’s inclusion in decision-making is unwanted and of less importance in their priorities.

“We had looked forward to really celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 because we thought it would mark a turnaround for Nigerian women in politics and a historic win in the struggle for women inclusion in decision-making spaces, as the 2023 general elections draw closer,” Obi said.

Read also: Seven numbers show Nigeria far from gender parity

“If in 2022, we still have to argue for or against the pivotal role of women in governance, it means our leaders are deliberately resistant to change and still have a lot of learning to do.”

Citing Nigeria’s National Gender Policy, the group stated that gender equality and women’s empowerment are basic human rights that lie at the heart of equitable development.

Nigeria is a signatory to international and regional frameworks such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights with the Optional Protocol on Women’s Rights.

It urged Nigeria to live up to her commitment to 35 percent affirmative action on women’s inclusion across all arms of governance, noting that upholding this will also increase the country’s credibility in the international community.

Inclusive governance, Obi said, will be possible when women sit at the decision-making table, contribute to planning and national development to find solutions to the many problems plaguing the nation such as climate change and insecurity.

She also stressed that no nation can progress with over 50 percent of its population excluded from contributing to its development.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Nigeria lauded the resilience of Nigerian women who continue to fight for these changes.

“As we commemorate this day, let history have it that Nigerian women refused to stay quiet in the face of oppression and rights denial. We salute the courage of women’s groups who swung into action since the rejection of the Bills, and we call on those yet to join to add their voices” Obi said.