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Women mobilise for effective participation ahead of 2019 polls

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Convener, Women Aspirants Summit/Managing Director, Women Radio, Toun Okewale-Sonaiya (left); National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson; President, Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendu; and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund, Mufuliat Fijabi; at a gender mobilisation event by the Summit ahead of the 2019 general elections in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

Scores of female contestants under the aegis of Women Aspirants Summit yesterday in Abuja mobilised for effective participation in politics as the 2019 general elections draw nearer.

It was also canvassed that women should support themselves beyond their different political parties, adding that until they are properly represented in politics, modern democratic governance would remain a mirage in the country.

In her presentation, the president, Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendu, underscored the fact that the gender dominates the voting population in Nigeria but regretted that over the years, this advantage had not translated to their political development.

She, however, explained that in principle it was expected that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities at all levels of political processes, “but in practice, there are apparent constraints that reduce their number abysmally low in leadership and decision-making positions.”

She enumerated some of the difficulties women face in politics to include cultural, religious and financial constraints.

The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Lehmann, submitted that financial barrier was not peculiar to Nigerian women.

He stressed that active participation of women in politics and other spheres of life was essential for national development.

Lehmann stated that without the participation of women and men in every aspect of the society, economy and culture, “we don’t have a nation.”

The envoy, who had offered some financial assistance, affirmed: “That is why we are supporting the women to be able to help the men and fulfill their role to the maximum extent of their potentials”.

To the National President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson, there is a huge gender inequality in political leadership, admitting that the struggle for women empowerment in politics was real.

Her words: “In spite of the letters of the law, women in politics face a lot of discrimination, stereotype and cultural barriers.”


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