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Disabled women demand 5% of 35% affirmative action

By John Akubo, Abuja
07 December 2020   |   3:50 am
Disabled women in the country are asking the womenfolk to spare them five per cent of the 35 per cent of the affirmative action that is expected to give more women opportunity to participate in governance processes.

Disabled women in the country are asking the womenfolk to spare them five per cent of the 35 per cent of the affirmative action that is expected to give more women opportunity to participate in governance processes.

According to the Chairperson of Network of Disabled Women (NDW), Lois Auta, the demand is flowing from the fact that a national gender policy has been formulated to promote the 35 per cent affirmative action for women.

The National Gender Policy (NGP) has formulated a 35 per cent Affirmative Action (AA) in Nigeria since 2006. The policy demands that women should constitute 35 per cent of those involved in all governance processes.

Auta said women with disabilities, being part and parcel of the womenfolk, were demanding just five per cent out of the 35 per cent.

She spoke at the weekend at a two-day national consultation on “ Young Women in Governance and Young Women with Disabilities” as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and the proposed Women Fair Representation in Elective and Appointive Positions Bill 2020.

“It is estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population live with some form of disability and that prevalence is higher among women, as about one in five women, 18 years and older, lives with one.

“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which includes gender equality as one of its general principles, recognizes that disability is an evolving concept.

“In 2019, women still represented a small minority of elected representatives and political decision-makers everywhere. Worldwide, only 24.3 per cent of parliamentarians, 6.6 per cent of heads of state, and 5.2 per cent of heads of government are women. Data on political participation of women with disabilities is scarce,” she said.

According to Auta, the limited available data show an extremely low participation and representation of women with disabilities in political leadership roles.

“The representation of women from organizations of persons with disabilities tends also to be low in national coordination mechanisms on disability matters and their representation in national machinery for gender equality is even lower,” she lamented.

Auta concluded that in Nigeria, participation of women with disabilities in politics was at zero level. “We need to do more to achieve disability inclusion in the political sphere.”

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