The National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) has called on the Federal Government to sign into law the 35 per cent affirmative action, where women representation in power and decision making will be enhanced as Nigeria marks 60 years of independence.
The President of NCWS, Mrs Laraba Shoda, made the call in her independence message to Nigerians to commemorate the country’s diamond jubilee celebrations.
Shoda said the signing of the affirmative action into law would be the best gift from the government to Nigerian women.
She recalled that 25 years after the 1995 Beijing women conference, Nigerian women have continued to struggle for space in all spheres of life.
According to her, women are educated, trained and knowledgeable as the men, and can do well in governance if given the opportunity.
She said: “As the country marks its 60th independence, the way forward is for government to make sure that the 35 per cent affirmative action that women have been asking for is passed into law.
Let’s sign the affirmative action into law to reduce the struggle between the genders. We are not saying that women should just be picked from the streets; women who are well qualified should be allowed to seek offices or contest for the 35 per cent slot.
If government wants to appoint 100 ministers, we are saying that 35 per cent should be set aside for women, so that the men will know that this is no go area for them.
In some African counties, there are ministries and offices that are specifically set aside for women and I think we can also achieve this in Nigeria.
We appeal to the men not to feel that equal rights means taking over their rightful roles as heads of the homes. We just want to have equal opportunities; we want equity. If women are given the chance, they will do well.”
Shoda noted that since independence, Nigerian women had continued to struggle, adding that Nigeria was nowhere near half of the Beijing resolution.
She said that doors have been locked against women in Nigeria, hence the need for the signing of the affirmative action into law to ease the struggle for the women.
Shoda, however, urged Nigerian women to continue the struggle while urging them to come together in unity to ensure that the aims of the struggle were achieved.
She commended the governors of Kwara and Lagos and others who gave space to the women in their respective governments and urged others to do same.