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UNVEILING THE NETWORK OF FEMALE POLITICIANS FOR MORE (NFP4MORE)

Updated: 6 hours ago




Theme: Inspiring the Inclusion of  Women in Politics to Accelerate  the growth of the Nation

Venue: Shehu Musa Yar’adua Center                        Date: 27th March 2024

 

 

BACKGROUND

Women constitute 49.46 percent of Nigeria’s population[1]. However, as with most patriarchal cultures, gender inequality permeates the entire country with the perpetration and perpetuation of injustices against women and girls who face many obstacles in their everyday lives due to structural inequalities. Insecurity, corruption, and poverty exacerbate and sustain these injustices. Some of the manifestations of women’s human rights violations include violence against women in private and public spheres; feminization of poverty; harmful traditional practices such as child and forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), widowhood rites; and poor access to basic rights such as education, housing, sexual and reproductive health, and rights.

 

A major cause and consequence of the present situation of women is the low representation of women in leadership and limited participation in decision-making spaces. Nigeria has over the years recorded abysmally low participation of women in both elective and appointive positions at all levels.

 

Status Report on Women’s Political Participation and Leadership in Nigeria

Despite concerted efforts by non-state actors, especially women orgnisations to increase the level of participation of women in politics in line with the declaration made at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which advocated 30% affirmative action, the extant National Gender Policy (NGP), which recommended 35% affirmative action and sought for a more inclusive representation of women with at least 35% of both elective political and appointive public service positions respectively, the yawning gap in the ratio of women in governance persists.  This is a growing concernforwell-meaning  Nigerians, whether state or non-state actors. 

 

In March 2022, just a few days before the global International Women’s Day, 95.9 percent of male lawmakers at the National Assembly voted against the bills aimed at ensuring gender justice through the advancement of the rights of Nigerian women as full citizens. The gender bills proposed in the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution sought to enhance the lives of women and provide opportunities for them to participate fully in the political and governance space, as well as inclusive citizenship rights. The situation is still the same two years later.

 

Available statistics show that the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria has remained 6.7 percent in elective and appointive positions, which is far below the global average of 22.5 percent, Africa regional average of 23.4 percent, and the West African Sub Regional Average of 15 percent. Presently, only 4 out of 109 Senators are women, and only 17 out of 360 House of Representatives members are women. The situation is the same at the sub-national level, where only 48 out of 988 state assembly seats are held by women. There is currently no female governor, and only 6 out 36 deputy governors are women.

 

The poor showing of female aspirants and candidates during the 2023 general elections, has highlighted the need for concerted efforts by networks and actors to have conversations around women’s inclusion at all levels in the political party structures as well as government policies and practices to include more women in politics; explore legal frameworks and highlight best practices from other African countries since Nigeria ranks lowest in women’s political participation on the Continent of Africa.

 

To address this gap which has contributed to the worsening economic, political, and social challenges which have plagued Nigeria for decades, stunting the development and prosperity of the country, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) in concert with other organisations and with the support of development partners and donors has contributed significantly to improving the situation of women in the political sector over the years. A recent collaborative intervention with Alliances for Africa (AfA), Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), and the Africa Young Female Advisers Initiative aimed at strengthening the leadership capacity and advocacy abilities of past, serving and aspiring female politicians from across Nigeria birthed the Network of Female Politicians for More (NFP4More) on the 26th of October 2023.

 

The Network of Female Politicians for More

The network is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at promoting increased women's political representation and leadership in Nigeria as well as serving as a support system for women in the political sector. The formal launch of this initiative which we regard as the network of female politicians for female politicians in the interest of Nigeria could not have come at a more appropriate time than the month of March which is dedicated globally as the Women’s History Month to celebrate the wins of women over the ages. The theme for 2024 is “Women Who advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion”. The campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day which is the flagship event of the Month is “Inspire Inclusion ”It is in solidarity with women around the world that we formally present the ‘Network of Female Politicians for More (NFP4More) to the Nigerian society, Africa, and the world on this beautiful today.

 

Nfp4more envisions “a society where both male and female politicians have equal access to opportunities.”The mission of the network is to promote increased participation of women in politics and inclusion in decision making spaces, through knowledge production and advocating for the domestication and implementation of legal frameworks that enable women participate fully in politics and leadership. The network is not just about equal opportunities but about recognizing and addressing conscious and unconscious biases, which have contributed to the status quo.

 

The objectives of the network are to: engage with critical state and non-state actors to give life to Article 9 of the Maputo Protocol; enhance the capacity of past, serving, and aspiring female politicians to demand their rights to meaningful participation in politics; encourage more women to participate in party politics and contest elections; and offer a safe space for female politicians, past, serving and aspiring to share experiences and provide mentorship support to each other.

 

In calling for the inclusion of more women in politics to occupy elected and appointed positions, NFP4More will employ the following strategies to achieve the objectives of the Network: Social and Legislative Advocacy; Capacity building through conferences, workshops, mentorship, and peer support; Research and Documentation; and Partnerships and Collaborations.

 

It is anticipated that when NFP4More members across Nigeria inspire critical stakeholders such as executive and legislative arms of government, political parties, traditional and faith leaders, and others to understand and value women's inclusion, female politicians will have noteworthy number of seats at the table. We believe that this will contribute to forging a more inclusive Nigerian society.

 

Against all odds, the time is now for Nigeria’s visionary female politicians to join politics and change the narrative. Those that already at the space to be strengthened.

 

The time is now to hold all concerned leaders down to accountability, ensure increase in the numbers of women that are in the political space.

We shall replicate ourselves in all the states of the federation.

We shall encourage women that have been in politics and others that want to join us.

We shall celebrate Governors and leaders that have good representation of women in their cabinets and in their parties.

And we shall demand for MORE!

 

As we celebrate the launch of the NFP4more network we would like to use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian government for the domestication of the Maputo protocol to ensure the inclusion of women at all levels of governance. In addition, we would also like to call on relevant stakeholders to join hands as we work together for the inclusion of more women in politics.

 

We sincerely appreciate the unwavering support of Baobab for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB), in collaboration with other women’s organizations like Alliances for Africa (AfA), Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Gender Technical Unit (GTU) and Africa Young Female Advisers Initiative. Without them, we would not be here today.

 

We are counting on the support of the Nigerian media to move the needle on women’s political participation and leadership so that Nigeria can make significant progress.

 

For everyone that came to witness this event, we cannot appreciate you enough!!!

 

Thank you all for listening.

 

Signed

 

Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, Interim Chair – NFP4more

 

Yèyé Bunmi Dipo-Salami, JP

Executive Director, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights




[1] 2020 Statistical Report of Men and Women in Nigeria https://www.nigerianstat.gov.ng/pdfuploads/2020_ReportWomenMen_August2021.pdf

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