Communique for 2020 WIMBIZ Women in Politics (WIMPol) Webinar

Politics
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020 / 09:40 AM /WIMBIZ /Header Image Credit: WIMBIZ


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Communique Issued by Women in Management Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) Advocating for the Increased Representation of Women in Elective and Appointive Positions in the Political Sphere at the End of the Annual Women in Politics (WIMPOL) Webinar Held on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

 

Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ) held its Annual Women in Politics (WIMPol) Webinar, on Thursday, July 9, 2020 themed "The Nigerian Constitution and Elections: A Right to Win", with over 300 participants in attendance.

 

The Women in Politics (WIMPol) aims at increasing the representation of women in public office through Influence and Advocacy, with the objective of growing female representation from 4% to 30%, in line with the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

 

The session, which was hosted virtually, explored conversations around mitigating the paucity of women in the Nigerian political sphere, the current provisions of the Nigerian Constitution on gender diversity in politics, the electoral act and the urgent need for increased representation of women in elective & appointive positions of power.

 

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has entrenched laws and guidelines on female participation in politics. However, implementing these laws & guidelines have been met with persistent resistance over the years.

 

Outlined Below are Critical Observations Stifling the Participation of Women in the Nigerian Political Sphere.


  1. There is a perception created by an unspoken bias against women, that politics is better suited to men.
  2. Certain cultural practices and norms unintentionally create prejudices against female leadership and this creates the reality of the electoral value chain being inclined towards men.
  3. Electoral violence, funding & unfavorable institutional structures stifle the participation and chances of women winning elections in Nigeria.
  4. Specific constitutional amendments need to be implemented to ensure political equality between men and women. Similarly, specific constitutional laws on female participation within political parties which already exist, have not been enforced.
  5. Creating rewards & penalties for compliance or non-compliance with the documented inclusion targets by political parties is critical to achieving the objective of getting more women into the political sphere.
  6. Intentionally introducing gender inclusion targets across all tiers of Government will be a significant step in progressing the goal of increased female participation in politics.
  7. Education, exposure and a firm understanding of fundamental human rights are tools of advocacy that can dismantle the stereotypes that promotes gender inequality.

Affirmative Actions to Increase Female Participation in the Political Sphere.


The Nigerian constitution currently has no reference to quota or mention on gender parity unlike constitutions like Kenya where it specifically states in Article 27 (8) "that no more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies are of the same gender".

 

Additionally, Article 81 of the Kenyan Constitution further reiterates that the same rule should be applied to public institutions. This shows a deliberate attempt by the law of the country to close the gender gap and historical exclusion of women from leadership in politics. The following proposed recommendations reflects intentionality and will go a long way in mitigating the paucity of women in politics in Nigeria.

  1. A law that mandates gender inclusion targets across all tiers of Government and all spheres of political representation should be developed and passed.
  2. Seats should be reserved for women in the Senate and House of Representatives.
  3. The current presidential system of government should be reviewed and a parliamentary system of governance considered for adoption.
  4. Education and a basic understanding of fundamental human rights should be prioritized for women in underserved communities.
  5. An electoral offence(s) commission should be created and empowered to bring perpetrators of electoral violence specifically against women, people who misappropriate funds and use the institution of state to manipulate processes to fuel their personal interests.

 

WIMBIZ is a non-profit organization that has, over the last 18 years, implemented programs that inspire, empower, and advocate for more excellent representation of women in leadership positions in the public and private sector. WIMBIZ has a contributory associate pool of over 750 accomplished women in management, business, and public service and over 9,700 women in its database. Since its inception, we collaborate with credible domestic and international organizations to deliver programs that have influenced more than 107,465 women.

 

The Women in Politics (WIMPol) Webinar was chaired by Kemi Ogunyemi, CEO, Alfo Healthcare Initiative and moderated by Hon. Nnena Ukeje, Member, House of Representatives (2007-2019); with panelists - Sen. Binta M. Garba, Senator, Adamawa North Senatorial District (2015-2019); Ahmed Raji SAN, Founder/Principal, Ahmed Raji & Co.; Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Lagos and Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.



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