Women must go beyond asking for 35% participation- Olejeme

  • olejeme 9· Calls for gender balance

 

 

Chairman, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSTIF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme has attributed the low participation of women in politics to the prevailing social and economic regimes as well as the existing political structures.

 

These hindrances, she said, must give way for the African woman to realize her full potential and contribute meaningfully to nation building and democratic governance.

 

“The absence of the African women from political decision making has a negative impact on the entire process of democratization, as it undermines the fundamental concept of a democratic form of governance”

 

 

Olejeme spoke on the role of African women in promoting development in democratic governance at an interface between the Peoples Democratic Institute and the International community in Abuja.

 

 

Olejeme who declared that the place of the African woman in systemic development has not been properly captured and therefore remains unappreciated because of primordial perceptions about her, said “women involvement in the democratic process is essential to broadening and deepening the commitment of the societies to democratic governance”

“The African woman has been a major target of extreme forms of violence in the region. Women in the horn of Africa have experienced the full impact of violent conflicts as civilians and combatants. But the truth remains that they are usually excluded from the decision making processes that ignite wars or put an end to hostilities”

 

She urged the women to go beyond asking for 35% participation.

“African women have proved over the years that they can be trusted as they have delivered in several areas they had occupied in government. The persistent exclusion of women from formal politics raises a number of specific questions regarding the achievement of broad-based democratic transformation” she said.

The NSITF boss called for gender balance in all bodies and measures put in place to advance the rights of women in politics as well as a clearly defined programme with robust women’s agenda targeted at literacy of the African women, health, income generating activities for women, micro credit, prevention of violence, and gender justice.

“The African women should be supported during campaigns and should be helped to increase their capabilities in the areas of negotiation and legislation. Governments within the region must demonstrate a political will to promote gender equality by playing a catalytic role in gender mainstreaming across all sectors of government. The Civil society organizations should also come in by documenting the experiences of women ex-combatants and identify measures to reintegrate them into the society”

 

Olejeme also suggested the need to organize public discussions and lobby for women to participate and hold decision making positions in all committees and commissions.

“We must promote gender-awareness campaigns to develop an understanding among both women and men that women’s participation is a key component of good governance” she added.

 

EBIRERI HENRY OVIE

Director, Public Affairs

08036977194

 

BENJAMIN ATU

Press Officer

08038847596

 

 

TEXT OF A PAPER PRESENTED BY DR. MRS. NGOZI OLEJEME, FCIDA, M.IoD CHAIRMAN NIGERIAN SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND, AT AN INTERFACE BETWEEN THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE AND NTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THIS DAY 25TH FEBRUARY, 2014 AT SHEHU YARADUA CENTRE.

 

TITLE:     THE ROLE OF AFRICAN WOMEN IN PROMOTING DEVELOPMENT IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE.

 

PROTOCOL

 

Background

I want to thank the organizers of this event for the opportunity given to me to speak on the African women. This topic could not have been more appropriate than now when nation states are striving to accelerate the rate of development in their political systems. The place of the African woman in systemic development has not been properly captured and therefore remains unappreciated because of primordial perceptions about her.

Several Conferences have been organized to discuss issues relating to democracy, development, security and peace. What these conferences failed to do was to recognize the linkages between gender and development. The African woman has been a major target of extreme forms of violence in the region. Women in the horn of Africa have experienced the full impact of violent conflicts as civilians and combatants. But the truth remains that they are usually excluded from the decision making processes that ignite wars or put an end to hostilities. It was this scenario that prompted the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Club De Madrid to declare;

 

 

“Priority is rarely given to developing women’s individual and collective capacity to address these conflicts and to build stable peaceful and democratic institutions in the horn of Africa. Women generally remain absent from policy dialogue with government on ethical issues for peace and security that have fundamental gender dimensions and implications for sustainable stability. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) was adopted in 2000 for the empowerment of women as peace builders in conflict and post conflict settings, yet most of its commitments have not been implemented”

The above statement coming from these world bodies captures the frustrations of the African woman. It is therefore, pertinent that these hindrances as have been enumerated must give way for the African woman to realize her full potential and contribute meaningfully to nation building and democratic governance.

 

AFRICAN WOMAN AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT

Throughout the world, women have continued to face challenges in their participation in politics.

These barriers are traceable to the prevailing social and economic regimes, as well as the existing political structures. There is no gain stating the factthat increased women involvement in the democratic process is essential to broadening and deepening the commitment of the societies to democratic governance. African women have proved over the years that they can be trusted as they have delivered in several areas they had occupied in government. The intention here is not to mention names, but to assert the necessity of increasing the number of African women in decision making positions, their increase in parliament and other governmental positions.

NEPAD having realized and appreciated the role of African women in development, came up with a long term objective which is to promote the role of women in all activities. The African Union, through NEPAD promotes the full and effective integration of women in political and socio economic development. NEPAD appreciates the central role played by women in promoting democracy, good governance and economic reconstruction, and acknowledges that women should contribute on an equal basis to the political and socio-economic development of African Countries.

What this suggests or even implies is that the African women should go beyond asking for 35% participation. NEPAD can be described as a reaffirmation of the Beijing platform for action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on women in 1995, that the persistent exclusion of women from formal politics raises a number of specific questions regarding the achievement of broad-based democratic transformation. The absence of the African women from political decision making has a negative impact on the entire process of democratization, as it undermines the fundamental concept of a democratic form of governance.

 

Way Forward

•       The need to create gender balance in all bodies and measures put in place to advance the rights of women in politics.

•       A clearly defined programme with robust women’s agenda targeted at literacy of the African women, health, income generating activities for women, micro credit, prevention of violence, and gender justice.

•       The African women should be supported during campaigns and should be helped to increase their capabilities in the areas of negotiation and legislation.

•       Governments within the region must demonstrate a political will to promote gender equality by playing a catalytic role in gender mainstreaming across all sectors of government.

•       Civil society organisations should also come in by documenting the experiences of women ex-combatants and identify measures to reintegrate them into the society.

 

•       Organize public discussions and lobby for women to participate and hold decision making positions in all committees and commissions.

 

•       Promote gender-awareness campaigns to develop an understanding among both women and men that women’s participation is a key component of good governance.

 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank You for listening

 

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