Dr Abiola Afolabi, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), on Monday in Abuja decried marginalisation of Nigerian women in politics.
Afolabi, also the Convener of the 2019 Womanifesto, said this at a news conference on the National Women’s Dialogue scheduled for between Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 in Abuja.
She said record by African Gender-Equality Index (AGEI), indicated that although there had been an improvement in reduction of maternal deaths as well as improved enrollment of girls in schools, more needed to be done.
“The AGEI provided gender equality scores of 52 African countries for three constitutive dimensions such as equality in economic opportunities, equality in human development and equality in laws and institutions.
“Nigeria is ranked as a distant 23rd out of 52 countries. Out of a score of 100, 100 being the perfect gender equality, Nigeria’s overall total is 54.
“The situation is grimmer when the ranking shows that Nigeria is not among the top 10 in any of the three dimensions in spite of being the African country with the highest GDP, population and resources.
“Globally, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Social Institution Gender Index (SIGI), Nigeria is among the countries worldwide that exhibit the highest level of gender discrimination with an assessment of “high” or “very high,” she said.
Afolabi noted that the SIGI 2019 category and value, ranked Nigeria 46 out of 100 and the UNDP human development index value ranked Nigeria 157 out of 189.
She said that the absence of political will was partly responsible for the lack of response to a cohesive set of demands pushed by women.
Afolabi identified lack of organised movement that would push for the actualisation of women’s demand as a reason why women had been rendered invisible in policymaking.
She said with this in mind, the 2019 National Dialogue would be organised with a conviction that there was an urgent need for a broad-based set of agreed demands that captured the common vision of women.
“Womanifesto2019” is a coherently articulated set of demands that will galvanise into a push for action to actualise Nigerian Women Charter of demands on all institutions of government, the private sector and society at large.
“Participants will be drawn from women groups, market women, collectives, civil societies, faith-based and community-based associations, entrepreneurs, professionals, social media influencers and women within the labour workforce,’’ she explained.
Afolabi said that the conference would address and seek to enhance the voice, participation and protection of Nigerian Women by consolidating women’s collective struggle.
This she said would end gender-based violence, poverty, insecurity, abuse of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and rights to participate in politics.
“We can no longer be second class citizens in our land. We must move collectively to end the continued oppression of our bodily integrity,” she said.