Participants at a forum on how to increase women’s participation in politics and electoral processes have emphasised that increasing women’s access in decision making is a smart economic decision Nigeria is yet to make
At the forum held on Monday in Abuja, the women focused on ensuring the entrenchment of a gender policy through a gender based enlightenment campaign.
Women activists at the gathering stated that gender representation was still far short of the 35% affirmative action, insisting that many women are still disenfranchised at many levels.
It is not the first of such gathering but with the 2015 general elections less than 12 months away, women activists say there is much work to be done.
The Director, Ministry of Women Affairs, Iran Ajufo, pointed out the need for women to rise up and be involved in politics as much as men were.
“Our aspiration is improved participation for women in politics. We aspire, as women both in government, associations and women all over Nigeria, that our participation in politics will be improved and increase the number of women in decision making, in governance and the private sector by the year 2015,” she said.
Based on registration statistics, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the gathering that women’s population in Nigeria was higher than that of the men.
“It is not just a matter of numbers; it is also a matter of the resourcefulness that this huge group represent for the development of any country.
“And regrettably, in Nigeria, we have not fully explored the vast potentially that women can bring to bear in the development process of our country,” the chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega.
The women stressed that issues bordering on security and violence, illiteracy, especially at the rural level, funding and most especially getting the men to support such causes must be addressed, before adequate representation could be afforded women in the politics.