2024 IWD: More Women are needed in Parliaments – Deputy Speaker, Kalu

2024 IWD: More Women are needed in Parliaments – Deputy Speaker, Kalu

2024 IWD: More Women are needed in Parliaments – Deputy Speaker, Kalu

 

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu advocated reservation of seats in the parliaments as a deliberate move to ensure more participation of women in Nigerian politics.

Kalu made the call on the heels of the 2024 International Women’s Day themed “Inspire Inclusion” observed worldwide every March 8.

Speaking at an event organized by the Senate and the House at the National Assembly Library to mark the Day on Friday, the deputy speaker bemoaned the poor statistics of women in politics in Nigeria, calling for deliberate efforts to change the narrative.

He said that the inclusion of women will help to unlock their immense potentials and enable them to contribute more to national development.

He said: “We gather today to celebrate International Women’s Day and embark on a collective mission to break the metaphoric ‘glass ceiling’. This conference, themed “Inspire Inclusion,” serves as a clarion call for individuals,
organizations, and all stakeholders to join hands and pave the path toward
gender-inclusive governance.

“The need for diversity and inclusion, particularly in terms of increasing
women’s representation in government, is not just a statistical exercise; it
is a fundamental democratic principle. In a country like Nigeria where
women and girls make up exactly 49.9% of the population, harnessing the
diverse voices, perspectives, and talents of this key demography is essential in shaping policies that reflect the needs of our society.

“Globally, women hold only 25.5% of national parliament seats. Here in Nigeria, this figure is a mere 4% and 3.6% in the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively. These statistics paint a sobering picture and demand our urgent attention and concerted action.

“We must, therefore, seek inspiration and guidance from the successes of
other sister nations. Rwanda, with a staggering 61.3% of women in its
lower house alone, stands as a beacon of hope on the African continent.

“The accelerated growth in development experienced in the country demonstrates the catalytic effect of their policy on ‘seat reservations for women, in breaking down barriers and fostering inclusive governance.”

Submitting that the national assembly has the unique responsibility of enacting laws that will promote political inclusivity, Kalu who is also the chairman of the constitution review committee in the House called for the reconsideration of the rejected gender bill proposals.

“While seat reservations present a powerful tool, they are not a silver bullet.
The journey toward meaningful representation requires comprehensive
strategies that address deep-rooted barriers. We must dismantle
discriminatory laws and practices, cultural biases, and unequal access to
resources and opportunities.

“As legislators, we hold a unique responsibility. We must enact laws that
promote inclusion and cultivate a culture of inclusivity within our institutions. This requires building a supportive environment and structures that amplify women’s voices and challenge discriminatory practices.

“My position as the Chair of the House Committee on Constitution Review
strengthens our commitment to this cause, I urge the inclusion of gender
inclusion and gender mainstreaming bill proposals within the 6th alteration
process. Expediting these proposals through my office will ensure they
receive swift and thorough consideration in the constitution review process.

“Let this conference be a springboard for action. Let us draw inspiration
from the instructive and educative panel discussions we will have today,
learn from each other, and tailor solutions that address our context”, Kalu said.

 

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