Nigerian has emerged 181 out of 193 countries selectively examined in terms of women’s participation in politics.
Nigeria’s country Director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Dr. Joy Onyesoh said this in Abuja on Thursday, June 27, at the National Conference on Women’s Participation in Nigeria.
The conference which looked at “Incidences of Violence against Women during the 2019 Elections” was attended by women across various seb-sectors of the country.
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Onyesoh in her remarks observed that “discrimination against women linked to social, legal, cultural and economic factors, violent nature of politics in Nigeria among others, are hindrances to women’s participation in politics.
“There are trails of violence against women in the 2019 elections right from the party primaries to campaigns; it is so bad that some women were raped during the elections”, she said.
She harped on the need for a sector-wide electoral gender-based violence prevention (EVP) strategy to curb the menace of electoral violence on women, and advocated for the inclusion of women in the EVP activities, including the development of early warning and response systems.
“This will go a long way in curbing violence women, especially during elections”, she noted.
Observing that the inclusion of women in politics 23 years after the establishment of 30% quota for them was still very low, the UN Women representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, said that the average number of women in elected assemblies still stood at only 15% and 17% in Africa when compared with the global average of 23% in parliaments and 5% for heads of government.
She also observed a drop in Nigerian women’s participation in politics after the 2019 elections from 5.6% to 4.5%, attributing it to “significant structural barriers” which needed to be addressed, “especially within political parties who resisted the inclusion of women”.
She listed other barriers to include: unavailability of funds, gender-based stereotypes against women, an electoral system that makes it tougher for women to equally compete with their male counterparts, amongst others; and advocated for “zero tolerance for violence against women in politics and public life”.