January 12, 2023

Women should use their numeric advantage to the fullest with dignity — Nkoli Obi-Ogbolu, former IWS president

Women are no longer in subservient roles even though there are more miles to go. They are leading strategy and campaigns; they are spokespersons now. Nigerian women should use their numbers as bargaining chips for progressive inclusion in the political landscape. It should be an all or nothing negotiation.

The stakes are high this general election and suddenly, women have been eclipsed with youth promises. So women should use their numerical advantage to the fullest with dignity. No sexual harassment and intimidation should be tolerated. It’s time for full manifestations of gender equity and parity. No messing around with women’s emotions anymore.

40% participation in key roles. No sexist roles like Women Leader, Minister of Women Affairs among others. Heads of key ministries and parastatals, key diplomatic roles as Ambassadors and High Commissioners to influential countries.

Arbitration Commission to immediately settle disputes of GBV-related issues and workplace toxicity. Women need to feel safe and secure from hostile auras.

The stakes are higher now than in 2015. This is what March IWD has been trying to undo since it began. Thankfully, some organisations including the ANWBN (Association of Nigerian Women Business Network), a coalition of over 50 women-centric businesses are leading the charge and are making credible giant strides towards ensuring that women have a voice, with their policy framework to government. Let the negotiations commence on a full scale.

We cannot continue to play second fiddle when we are immensely gifted and brilliant. Any nation that does not value female representation will not grow exponentially.