|To ensure that the aspirations of women are met in the country’s constitutional reform process, Nigerian women have identified collaboration of critical stakeholders from the private sector as one of the strategies to get equal opportunities for their gender. |
With a new administration in place, women across the civil society organisations and private sector are restrategising to make their aspiration a reality.
Recall that five gender bills were advocated for at the 9th National Assembly, but the process suffered disruption because the bills were rejected by law making organs of their country.
Now, the women are not keeping quiet despite the disruption, hence, they are restrategising to take their bills again to the 10th National Assembly legislators to ensure a process that would pave way for impact.
Against this background, the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC, with support of USAID, stakeholders, especially women from the private sectors are lending support in the advocacy to achieve their yearnings.
Speaking at a One-Day Meeting themed: Private Sector Engagement on Partnership for Social Transformation and Gender Inclusivity”, the women appear to have recovered from their temporary disappointment and are making consultations and proposals to get impact going forward.
Their reason, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the founder of WARDC, says the constitution of some other countries had played important role in the increase of women participation in politics, in their various countries and addressed issues of identity and dignity of women.
She urged women in private sector to be part of the process this time, as this key collaboration in her view would enable women’s access to equal opportunities and satisfying their yearnings.
According to her,” Women are yearning for right of citizenship. What we have currently in Nigeria Constitution does not allow for full citizenship of women. If you’re married to somebody who is not a Nigerian, the person does not become a Nigerian citizen except if you’re a man and you will see that in most countries, like in the US, that is on the table once you are married whether you are a man or a woman. The constitution is discriminatory in that regard.”
She also cited indigenship as one of the issues raised in the five gender bills being advocated for, that the women are seeking a change in narrative.
She explained, “Women have become Stateless as a result of where they come from, so if you are from Edo and married to a man from Lagos State, you may not have full rights like every other person in Lagos State.”
She highlighted the policy on Affirmative Action, AA.
Dr. Abiola-Akiyode stated, “I think the last three deals with Affirmative Action. AA, within the political party, where we have less women in leadership position. The other one is also about appointment in positions and the last is asking for 111 seats for women in the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly.
Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, the Dean Faculty of Law, who was the guest speaker at the meeting, also lend credence to effort made so far by women groups in the call for gender laws. She briefed the participants on their journey, and posited that “If a survey is done, the likely findings would reveal that a significant number of National Assembly members may have sought or have dual citizenship by reason of marriage and which citizenship they have acquired by marriage. That is one of the things that we put out, and I need to say that the bill actually did sail through in the Senate, but it failed in the House of Representatives because we needed concurrent, it necessary failed.”
Representatives of women groups, private organisations, including Hansatu Adegbite of Women In Management, Business and Public Service, WIMBIZ, Bose Ironsi, the Executive Director of Women’s Right and Health Project, WRAHP, Prof. Iyabode Ogunniran, Department of Public Law, University of Lagos, Ogechi, Womanifesto, amongst other attended the meeting and made contributions on strategies to get woman-friendly policies.