OrderPaperToday – The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs Catriona Laing, has the ascribed the delay on the part of the National Assembly to pass the gender and equal opportunities bill on vested interests among men who do not want to see 35% female representation in parliament.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria reiterated that it was absolutely critical to make male legislator see and understand the benefits of an equal representation of women in politics and parliament.

Mrs Catriona Laing noted that challenging the social norms and cultural patriarchy that enable gender discrimination in the Nigerian society such as child marriages and the land use Act as it affects women are also needed for gender parity in Nigeria.

She observed that “Nigeria is ranked 133 out of 149 countries in the global gender gap index and frankly that’s disgraceful for a country of Nigeria’s stature in Africa, it’s really important that Nigeria start to make progress on the global gender equality act as a country that should rightfully be taking its place as a leader in Africa and globally.“

Recall that the gender and equal opportunity bill which was first rejected in the 8th Senate when legislators argued that the constitution was clear on the rights of all citizens including women has been reintroduced in the 9th Senate.

Recall also that only 16% of women made President Muhammadu Buhari ministerial cabinet, falling short of the 35% affirmative female action he promised during his re-election campaign manifesto in November 2018.

Against the backdrop of the International Women day observed every 8th March, civil rights organisations are urging the National Assembly to take action and pass the gender and equal opportunity bill.

 

Reporting by Chinonso Kenneth

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