The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has called on Nigerian women to remain resilient and strategize to continue to push for women’s rights to equal participation and representation in governance.
She made the call in Abuja at a media briefing on the 2022 International Women’s Day on Wednesday, 23rd February 2022 with the theme “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.
Reacting to the National Assembly’s votes against the bill to create special legislative seats for women in States and National Houses of assemblies, Tallen said women must reinforce to continue the struggle to take their rightful place as partners of democracy.
“As mothers of the nation we were there and before us, they voted against affirmative action. This goes to exemplify our worth as women in the eyes of not just the lawmakers, custodians of our constitution but our worth as partners of democracy”, she said.
According to the minister, the need for a strategic women’s movement that would galvanize action towards creating a new strategy for Nigerian women on their take for women’s political participation was critical to mobilizing women to participate fully in the 2023 elections.
The founder, “She Forum Africa”, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Inimfon Etuk who observed the proceeding at the National Assembly, said it was time for women to make their relevance known as equal partners for progress, development, and nation-building through a more inclusive constitution.
“As women, we are making progress and the men can see we are making progress. How we interpret what played out at the National Assembly is simply a set of people who are afraid of new possibilities if women are so much as given the chance.
“It is unfortunate that the men do not see women as partners and understand when we say make the constitution more inclusive”, she said.
240 votes were needed to pass the bill on special seats for women, however, only 41 senators voted in favour of the proposed amendment, while 44 voted against, which is less than the required two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill.
Story: Asma’u Sani