Ahead of the 2019 general election, a Kaduna-based NGO, Women and Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN), will soon commence the mobilisation of women to raise the needed political awareness among them.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Dr Rakiya Shonekan, said in Kaduna on Thursday that the measure was necessary to ensure effective participation of women in the election.
“There is the need for massive sensitisation of women and supporters of women at all levels.
“They need to be encouraged to obtain permanent voter cards; but more importantly, credible women should vie for elective positions.
“There is also the need for huge investment in girl-child education, to prepare them politically.’’
According to Shonekan, the male-dominated political landscape of the country has continued to marginalise women.
“Women are marginalised both in elective and appointive political positions.
“Take Kaduna State for example, there is no single woman in the State House of Assembly.
“You also know that there are only seven women out of the 109 members of the Senate and 14 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives.
“The current level of involvement of women in governance is very dismal. This needs to be changed.’’
Shonekan blamed the development on what she called “extreme patriarchal male-dominated society, gender insensitive tactics in Nigerian politics and monetisation of the political process”.
Accoring to her, this makes is it very difficult for women to compete.
Other contributory factors, she said, were the preference of male leadership entrenched in the Nigerian society over time, low level of education among women and poor understanding of the political process.
She said that women must be given equal opportunities in all aspects of governance.
“To achieve this, women need a strong collective voice and representation to be able to effect the necessary constitutional and electoral reforms.
“This is because women make up about half of the nation’s population and participating in politics is their fundamental right.’’
Shonekan noted that there had been a lot of momentum on the need for constitutional and electoral reforms, adding that women must be enlightened enough to lend their voices to the discourse.