Abuja, March 8, 2017 (TNE):As Nigerians join to mark the International Women’s Day, the Senate has called on government at all levels to give women a quota in all elective offices to enable them to contribute meaningfully to national development.
This followed a motion sponsored by Chairperson, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Sen. Binta Masi, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Senate equally mandated its committee on women affairs to look into the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in all states and to report back.
Masi said that in 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), placing gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She said that achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, and ending poverty, rested upon unlocking the full potential of women in the world of work.
The lawmaker called for generation of more policies that would promote women’s access to innovative technologies and practices,as well as to protect them from violence in work places.
She said that the VAPP bill that was signed into law in 2015 had yet to be domesticated in any state let alone its implementation.
Masi decried that the implementation of policies that prohibited violence against women and girls were still very poor.
“Practices such as violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres including trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation, were being practised,” she said.
She said that women often bore the burden of unpaid care and domestic work , women were also significantly under represented as legislators, senior government officials and corporate chief executives.
Contributing, Sen. Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna) described women as partners in nation building and called on the malefolk to honour their contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.
“At a time like this, we must recognise, appreciate and honour their contributions to cultural development and advancement of our country,” he said.
He explained that on Women’s Day, it should not only be celebrated but should serve as a point to which we would all make a firm, clear and undisguised declaration of where we wanted women to be.
“In politics today, women are relegated to a certain percentage, perhaps wavering the amount of money they buy forms to contest elections.
“It is time enough for us to have a firm commitment to the Beijing declaration to implement it fully at all levels, the full compliance to international declarations and commitment which Nigeria has signed.”
Also speaking, Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) said that it was sad that in the 21st century, Nigerian women were still asking that their programmes should be mainstreamed.
“As at the last census, women are 60 per cent of the population. It tells us that for every three Nigerians, one is man. We have the largest number of women; so when do we become a minority,” she asked.
She called on governments to ensure that they included women in all programmes and activities of governance.
On his part, Sen. John Enoh (PDP-Cross River) said that women in elective positions had done effectively well in various fields, therefore, there was the need to bring their issues to bear in terms of policy implementation.
“With the clamour for gender equality, it is an indication to the fact that in the 21st century and moving into the target date of 2030, that we should get to the point in which these issues become issues that are just normal and obvious.”
He, therefore, called on men to support the motion in all ramifications and in every way possible.
In her contribution, Sen. Rose Oko (PDP-Cross River) called for sustained efforts to engender gender parity.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweramadu who presided over plenary, congratulated women on the event of International Women’s Day.
“We thank women for the various roles they play in society: We appreciate them as companions and supporters at all times.
“We must amend the area in the constitution which deals with the issue of non- discrimination of persons on different reasons, especially for being female.
“But in Section 42 (3), the exception is made in such areas including the Armed Forces.
“Women are also doing well in Armed Forces. That section of the constitution must be removed so that there will be no discrimination against women in the Armed Forces,” he said.
March 8 every year is set aside as International Women’s Day to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.
The theme for this year is: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.