Women in Management, Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ) has called for increased women representation in Nigeria’s public sector leadership particularly in elective and appointive positions.
The call was contained in a communiqué where the organisation revealed that the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria is 6.7 percent both in elective and appointive positions, far below the Global Average of 22.5 percent, Africa Regional Average of 23.4 percent and West African Sub Regional Average of 15 percent.
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It furthermore noted that the under-representation was also prevalent in the governing councils of tertiary institutions.
Nigeria is ranked 122nd position out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report of 2017 released by the World Economic Forum aimed at closing the gender gap across nations.
“The need for the participation and inclusion of women in political and public office cannot be overstated. To start with, for there to be democracy in its true sense and construct in any country, there must be a descriptive representation of all genders in the country,” communiqué read.
It added that there is an abundance of capacity, capability or character which is already visible in the private sector as women sit at the helm of affairs of major corporations and industries, disrupting age-long misperceptions and biases about women.
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Other than being underrepresented, WIMBIZ added that even when women are eventually appointed as leaders in the Nigerian public service or elected into political offices they are often shamed for doing their jobs with transparency and integrity and disgraced out without justification.
“There are countless examples of female leaders being unfairly targeted, harassed, taunted, bullied & attacked often in excess of what their male counterparts have to contend with. Worse still, they are forced to deal with an un-relentless barrage of gender bias and deep-rooted misogyny,” it read
WIMBIZ concluded that for Nigeria to achieve meaningful, inclusive & sustainable development and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development (SDG) Goal 5 target of ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life by 2030, women need to be properly empowered and represented in public sector leadership.
“We need to create a level playing field free of discrimination and harassment to attract and retain female leadership in political and public office. Our high achieving women should not be seen as threats but instead, they should be welcomed and acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to nation building and inclusive development,” it read.