By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Nigerian women have advocated for more inclusion and active participation in politics in the quest for gender equality and improved national growth.
They also stressed the need for better social inclusion, funding and social welfare services for women, children, the vulnerable and individuals with disabilities across the nation.
Various contributors made the call recently at the opening of the 18th Regular National Council Meeting on Women Affairs and Social Development, hosted by the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
The five-daaay meeting has as theme: Peace Security and Social Inclusion: Key Building Blocks for Achieving Economic Growth and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. Mrs. Ifeoma Anagbogu, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, while speaking with newsmen, stated that the parley was necessary to address the formulation of policies, initiate projects and programmes and ensure implementation of projects that would enhance the livelihood of the target groups.
With the focus on women, children, aged, persons with disabilities among others in the society, Anagbogu maintained that before the yearnings on gender equality would be balanced, there is need to allow women occupy better positions in the forthcoming general elections for better participation in the affairs of the nation.
While stressing on social inclusion of women, she said: “There is the need for active involvement of women in decision-making and political leadership in Nigeria.
“Political leadership in Nigeria is stratified on the basis of gender distinction, thereby calling to question the assertion of gender neutrality in the political arena.”
On her part, Mrs. Abiola Liadi, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, noted that Lagos hosting the event afforded the state better frame to table issues affecting women to make them much more empowered and self- reliant with better inclusion in the policy framework.