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Forum seeks legal framework to increase women participation in leadership

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Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has urged Nigeria to develop a robust legal framework to promote and increase women participation in leadership and decision-making processes.

National Coordinator, NFF, Blessing Duru, at a press conference recently, said Nigeria having proper legal reform and making democracy inclusive, would increase women participation in decision making and make them aspire more for political leadership positions.

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Duru, who mentioned patriarchy, stigmatisation, political violence, and financing, among others as some of the enormous structural underlying challenges affecting women representation in political participation and decision making, said it would be difficult for Nigeria to achieve the mandated 30 per cent affirmation as enshrished in Beijing plan of action, or even the 35 per cent affirmation on National Gender Policy (NGP) recommendations for inclusive representation.

While expressing concern at the abysmal number of women in the decision-making process, both at state and federal levels, she opined that the framework would make political parties respect and enforce the law into their various constitutions.

She said the NFF, which is in partnership with the Canadian government and ActionAid, is a biennial public policy forum that brings together feminists, who focus on creating and addressing the politics of ending violence against women and girls through feminist principles, by challenging the system of power, promoting the learning and teaching of feminist principles and universality of women’s rights.

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According to her, the group is at the cutting edge of a movement that demands courage, commitment, strength, and analytical skills to make the needed critical analysis that will become a key element in a new politics for Nigeria.

In her remark, Focal Person, NFF, Chinonso Okechukwu, recommended that political parties should create a support network for prospective aspirants by pairing them with established women, who would play a key role as mentors and provide capacity building for young and aspiring female politicians to enhance and develop them ahead of subsequent elections.

She said there was the need to create an enabling environment that allowed women to engage meaningfully in decision-making process in a sustainable and effective way that is free of violence and harassment.

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She called for the establishment of legal funds to assist women politicians to challenge electoral malpractices, and introducing quota system at all levels with strict adherence to it.


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