By Victoria Ojeme and Fortune Eromosele
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, yesterday, said that one-third of all elective positions should be contested by women in party structures as well as inclusion of more women in leadership positions.
Dame Tallen, stated this during a press briefing in commemoration of 2021 International Women’s Day, with the theme, ‘Women in leadership:
Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’, highlighted that she had held several meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari, including leading a Delegation of Nigerian Women Across party lines and other walks of life, late last year.
Tallen added that some of the requests were the need to “address the issue of quota and Affirmative Action in the appointment of women in public office.
“Direct that one-third of all elective positions be reserved only to be contested by women in the party structure, as applicable in many African countries, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa. As the giant of Africa, Nigeria should take the lead in this respect.”
She maintained that, “As the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs, I am elated to witness a renewed commitment by this present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to redress the persistent disparity in participation of men and women in decision making positions.
“Nigerian women are indeed grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for displaying such rare commitment in pushing for the appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweala, as the First Woman and First African to lead the World Trade Organization.
“We also have our own Amina Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Fatima Kyari Mohammed as the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations. As Nigerian Women, this is a statement that Nigeria has great women with great potential and right qualifications, to speak for this country at all levels.
“With only 7 women as Cabinet Ministers which falls short of 35% mark recommended in the National Gender Policy, you will agree with me that the quality of Female leadership in Nigeria today is remarkable.
“At the National and State Assemblies, the quality of our women cannot be swept under the carpet. One thing that is common about these women is the difference they have made in channeling strategic interventions to address COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“The present corps of Ministers are transforming their spheres of influence for the better. For example, at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is a female Minister, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who successfully led the country to exit recession in the 4” quarter as growth in agriculture and telecommunications offset a sharp drop in oil production.”
The Minister stressed on the National Gender Policy, stating that a review would help articulate how to balance power relations between men and women to transform the institutions which continue to perpetrate gender injustice, poverty, and underdevelopment in the society.
“On our part, we will continue to build the capacity of Gender Desks Officers to understand their roles and responsibilities in the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in addressing their mandate as defined in the National Gender Policy (2006),” she added.
Speaking in the same vein, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa, said that the struggle for self-determination and political franchise, paved the way for the need to dedicate one day each year to press for women’s demand.
“The day has become a rallying point for action on issues of women empowerment, building support for women’s rights and assess women’s participation in the socio-political and economic arenas of the nation and the world at large”, she added.