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National

Constitution Review Will Address Gender Imbalance – Dep Speaker

todayMarch 4, 2024 8

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Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Benjamin Okezie Kalu says the ongoing constitution review exercise by the 10th National Assembly will address the issue of gender imbalance.

The Deputy Speaker who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Constitution Review stated this at the ongoing Roundtable on Women Inclusion in Politics, organized by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC), Yiaga Africa, Nigeria Women Trust Fund, ElectHer and the European Union (EU) in Abuja.

Kalu who decried the poor participation of women in politics,noted that countries like Rwanda had implemented a constitutional provision mandating at least 30% of parliamentary seats to be reserved for women.

He stressed that the impact has been profound with women now holding an unparalleled 61.3% of seats in the lower House of parliament in Rwanda.

According to the Deputy Speaker, the figure stood at 4% of women holding seats in the House of Representatives and 3.6% in the Senate in Nigeria’s National Assembly.

He said that reservation of seats and adoption of electoral quotas for women would greatly increase the ranking of Nigeria amongst the commity of nations.

He however maintained that with the ongoing constitution review and the ‘body language’ of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the inclusion of Nigerian women in politics will be realized.

The Deputy Speaker also told the audience some of whom are women parliamentarians from the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly other possible ways to increase women’s participation in politics.

Comprehensive gender equality requires a multifaceted approach that addresses deeply rooted barriers including discriminatory laws and practices, cultural biases, patriarchal attitudes, entrenched gender stereotypes, and unequal access to resources and opportunities which are formidable challenges that demand our collective attention. We must commit ourselves to dismantling these obstacles and creating an environment where women can thrive in politics”.

“Moreover, we must also ensure that women elected through seat reservations are empowered to effectively represent the interests of their constituents and advocate for gender-responsive policies and legislation and this requires providing them with the necessary support, resources, and training to excel in their roles as parliamentarians”.

“As legislators, we bear a responsibility to be catalysts for change. Beyond enacting laws that promotes women inclusion, we must cultivate a culture of inclusivity within our legislative bodies. This involves building a supportive environment, amplifying women’s voices, and challenging discriminatory practices”, he said.

Oduyemi Odumade, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Editorial Team

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