The Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) joined other advocacy groups, NGOs, CSOs, women-led organisations to express disappointment over the insensitivity of the 9th National Assembly (NASS) in denying women the opportunity of inclusion and representation in governance by voting against the gender bills.
It noted that it was even more saddening that the development happened few days to the International Women’s Day which is usually celebrated globally, with this year’s campaign theme as #BreakTheBias.
The statement reads: “Over time, the electoral system in Nigeria has not been fair to women and this has contributed to women’s underrepresentation in Nigeria’s legislature.
“It is unfortunate that the male-dominated National Assembly (NASS) has over time frustrated bills that seek to empower women. Nigerian women have for long been marginalised and denied key opportunities for flimsy reasons.
“It should be noted that the passing of these gender-related bills will help create an enabling environment for women’s aspirations but sadly, they were all rejected. In a space where voting numbers matter, the numerical presence of women is key.
“These gender-related bills are targeted at addressing the current gender imbalance across the legislative arm of governments across the country whilst reducing the under-representation of women in political office.
“Evidence abounds that societies that empower women are the most secure and most developed because “When you educate a woman, you educate a nation” — This also implies that the future of every nation is strongly related by the quality of women that society produces over time.
“While the role of women in development and nation-building cannot be over-emphasised, a development plan devoid of women and greater opportunities that accord women a special status will fail.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly as a matter of urgency and reconsideration to re-present the bills, and ensure the passage of these gender-related bills as this would help improve women’s contribution to governance in Nigeria.”