UN women urge men to promote women participation in politics

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the United Nations group, UN Women, has urged men in Nigeria to promote women’s political participation and leadership in the country.

The call was made recently in Abuja at an event tagged “HeForShe event; Promoting Women’s Political Participation in Nigeria.’

The UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, who made the call said, “HeForShe is a commitment to champion, to lead by example, to actively mobilise and to take action to expand the community of men and boys by working to advance gender equality and women’s participation.”

He stated further that it is a call to a partnership with women to build a more just and equal world including in leadership and governance.

The programme was organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), UN Women, and the Government of Canada.

The HeForShe campaign is a global movement that started in 2015 with the United Nations aiming to engage one billion men and boys on the topic of gender equality. In Nigeria, the campaign was launched in 2017 by then-acting President Yemi Osinbajo during which a call was made for men and boys across the country to champion the cause of gender equality and advance women’s rights in governance.

Eyong added that the solidarity movement is a critical part of efforts to promote gender equality and women’s political participation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a commitment to end discrimination and inequality in access to justice and participation in political and economic life on the basis of gender by 2030.

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“The need for the global HeForShe campaign stems from a realisation that though there has been progress in some areas of our efforts to advance women’s rights, gender equality, and participation, the gaps remain unacceptably high,” she said.

In his remark, the keynote speaker, Jibrin Ibrahim, a development consultant and professor of political science, said Nigerian women suffer deprivation, exploitation, marginalisation, and high-level violence from society.

He said based on data from the European Union Factsheet on 16 days of activism, a lot of the conditions of women in Nigeria today were the same as they were in 1982.

“The level of violation of the rights of women in Nigeria is extremely high,” he said.

If the conditions of women are so poor in Nigeria, Ibrahim submitted, “It’s because women are not on the table where decisions about their lives are made.”

He quoted the EU data saying since 1999: “only 20 per cent of women have been ministers and special advisers to presidents; the average number of women legislators is 7 per cent; only 3 per cent of local government chairs have been women and members of the state house of assembly respectively.”

This is totally unacceptable, Ibrahim concluded, adding, “we must, as men, take pride that we are change agents in our society, and any society that promotes equality between its members is superior to the societies that do not.”

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