The Senate President, Sen. David Mark, on Monday in Abuja said that women were underrepresented in all political structures in Nigeria.
Mark, who was represented by Sen. Helen Esuene, said this at the Nigeria Women Strategy Conference, with the theme: “Building Bridges of Opportunity; 2015 and beyond.”
He said that though women had participated actively in politics in the country, they had nothing to show for their participation except to mobilise for the electoral success of other people.
The Senate president stressed that marginalisation of women could be addressed through the collaborative efforts of men and women.
“We know that gender disparity in political participation is a global phenomenon and not peculiar to Nigeria alone, “he said.
He said that the level of women’s participation in politics in Sub-Sahara Africa was 20.2 per cent, Asia, 17.9 per cent, Pacific 14.9 per cent and Arab 10.7 in Europe, it is 20.9 (Nordic countries excluded) and Americas, 22.7.
“Nigeria as a country falls far below the above regional averages with only seven per cent female participation in parliament, “he said.
He enjoined the stakeholders to make concerted efforts to address the continued marginalisation of women in politics.
Mark also urged women to strive to rise above rivalry and jealousy that inhibit their collective progress in pursuing their political agenda.
He restated continued support of the Senate and the National Assembly in ensuring that women take their positions in politics.
In a remark, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal recommended that INEC considered dedicating certain constituencies to women in the next delineation of constituencies.
He said that the House would support anything required to improve women’s participation in politics in the country.
“We shall support every effort aimed at improving the lot of Nigerian women,” he said.
According to him, the House has passed several laws that are gender sensitive.
He added that there was the need for collaboration among members of the House on issues that tend to balance gender in the polity.
Earlier, the Majority leader of the House, Rep. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, said that the conference was aimed at stratigising and preparing women for full participation in politics.
She expressed optimism that as from 2015, women’s representation in elective and appointive positions, at the Federal, state and local government levels, would increase to 50 per cent.
Akande-Adeola said that one of the objectives of the conference was ensuring grassroots mobilisation in favour of female candidates in 2015.
The house leader commended President Goodluck Jonathan for sustaining his minimum quota of 35 per cent of women representation in political positions and offices.( NAN)