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Group urges gender-inclusive constitution

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Founding Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode

A coalition of 180 civil society organisations in Lagos, working on the Spotlight Initiative Project, has called for a women-friendly constitution.

The group wants a document,which does not only speak to the aspiration of the Nigerian people, but includes women.

Participants in the project collectively called on the country’s lawmakers to ensure that the scheduled public hearing on the 1999 Constitution amendment guarantees gender equality and strongly upholds the principle of equity in all sectors of life.

Harnessing participants’ submissions at a briefing in Lagos, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, on behalf of the group, made a 10-point demand.

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Among the demands, Akiyode-Afolabi said the language of the current constitution is insensitive to its populace and excludes women.

She stressed that women want to see that the new piece of legislation be inclusive in language and representation.

“In the current constitution, the word “he” is used 235 times, while ‘women’ is referenced only twice,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.

WARDC said such masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ rights and participation, thereby hindering inclusive governance in Nigeria.

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