The need to involve more women in the governance of Nigeria was on Thursday highlighted as a key point to the development of the country.
This summation was the view of speakers at a one day workshop with the tag “Dialogue on Inclusive Growth: Women’s Participation”, organised by Policy Development Facility Phase (PDF) II in conjunction with UKAID in Abuja.
The speakers believed that the education of women will be of overall development in the quest to enhance their place in all sectors in the society.
The discussants said unless some of the cultural and social limitations on the women and the girl child is eliminated, the push towards the realization of equal opportunity for women will be a day dream.
It was also agreed that the government, the traditional institution and others responsible for some of the shortfall for the free role of the women in Nigeria should take a drastic measure to remove the hindrance.
Speakers like Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, former house of representative said the manipulation of women in the political space has not helped matters as the political class still operates from the old boys association stand.
Ukeje lamented that from twenty-two female members in the house of Reps in 2009 in the general elections has reduced to eleven in 2019.
This according to her was a pointer that the women folk in Nigeria have not been given the political space to express their motherly role in the development of the country.
Just as she noted that the equality that is been sort after is not a competitive position with the men folk but that the women have equal ability.
“The violence in the political space hinder women participation in the 2019 election which wa the most violence in the country,” she said.
“I think it is the right time electronic voting should be legitimized in future elections.
“We are not saying we are as strong as men in the physical abilities but to judge us with our ability which is equal to that of men in terms of our contribution to national development. All those social-cultural hinders me should be eliminated to give the girl
Child the same opportunity as it’s male counterpart.”
She said that from recent experience in the 2019 elections, because of the political governance at the party level of the old boy’s school club which narrative must be changed which said violence in the political arena hindered women’s participation.
Women’s inclusiveness in growth, there must be a fair playing ground for all as women who had head most financial institutions in the country had done better than their opposite sex as can be seen of recent.
Presenting her report, “On Impact of Women’s Participation on Nigeria’s Macroeconomic Performance”, Wumi Asubiaro Dada said there is no gains saying that despite the acclaimed position of Nigeria as the giant of Africa it was quite unfortunate that the country is not only in the low side of development but poverty capital of the world.
According to Dada, the reality is that despite the claim that our economy has improved the country is still in distress as the poverty level of the country is too glaring to see.
“One of the factors limiting the potential of the Nigeria economy is its non-inclusivity,” Dada said.
Adding, that though Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with a population of about 200 million with GDO per capita is not looking good.
She said, the Gini co-efficient(economic gap within a country’s wealthiest and poorest citizens) for Nigeria stands at 48 and thus worsened from 36 in 2004. Nigeria now ranked 63rd out of 74 countries.
She said the barriers women are facing includes but not limited to structural, institutional and socio-cultural which if we must eliminate deserves urgent actions.
She recommended creation of incentives for all girls and prioritize innovation and technical skills, promote financial literacy which should be taken to where women are, consult and involve women based Organisations, nationwide adoption of the violence against Persons prohibition Act (VAPP Act) as well as increase and prioritize investment infrastructure such as rural roads and power grids.
Speaking on behalf of the government, the acting head of service, Dr Folasade Yemi Esan who was represented by Yemi Olaniyan, a deputy director in the office of HOS said that the FG through various initiatives closed the gap with the establishment of a ministry dedicated to women to support effective participation of women in governance.
Yemi Esan said the Nigeria Civil Service have achieved a milestone in balancing inequality as there have been fair representation in employment in the Federal Civil Service.
“We are not where are suppose to be but I assure you that we will get there,” she said.
“We are closing various gaps which are impediment tot he growth of women.”