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Group seeks enhanced women inclusion in politics, governance

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Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

A Non Governmental Organization, Supporting Advancement of Gender Equality (SAGE), has kicked off advocacy to enhance women participation and inclusion in politics and governance.

The NGO observed that from available statistics, women are currently underrepresented and marginalized from the structures that determine political and legislative priorities.

In a statement by the Secretariat of the SAGE and read by the Executive Director of Kimpact Development Initiative, Bukola Idowu, it noted that women made up 47.7% of the registered voters in the 2019 general elections.

It however added that despite the population of women that were registered voters in the 2019 elections, female representation in the election was only 12.9%.

According to the statement, “twenty three thousand four hundred and forty two candidates were cleared to vie for political position at all levels of government in the 2019 general elections, only three thousand and thirty two were female. Only sixty eight of them won the seats they contested for.

“Of the 146 Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates in the 2019 elections, just 28, representing 19.2% were female and none emerged as winner. Historically, since the reintroduction of democracy in 1999, no female has been elected President or governor the ballot. This shows inherently a pronounced level of underrepresentation of women in politics than their male counterparts”.

It continued that, “although the proportions of women in elected positions increased slightly between 1999 and 2007, there is a decrease in the number of women in elective offices in 2019 compared to 2015.

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“The just concluded Edo and Ondo states governorship elections were in no way different from the existing pattern. As released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the final list of candidates reveals that 14 candidates contested the Edo governorship seat on the 19 of September. Only two female were on the ballot.

“In Nigeria, it is observed that there has been an apathetic attitude towards women’s issues, their political empowerment and democratized policy towards their inclusion hence the need for Supporting Advancement for Gender Equality (SAGE). It becomes imperative to solve this global democracy’s dilemma of unequal representation.”

The statement added further that, “the complex and deeply rooted challenges hampering increased women’s political representation and participation necessitated the multifaceted advocacy by the SAGE project”.

It highlighted some of the reasons for the poor representation of women in politics to include, “patriarchy society, stigmatization, low level of education, religious and cultural barriers, as well as violence, thuggery and intimidation.”

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