Women underrepresented in politics despite their population ― JPDC

The Justice Development and Peace Centre (JDPC), Akure, the convener of Stop Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWIP) said women are underrepresented in politics, particularly as political leaders and elected officials despite their numerical strength.

The group, which stated this during a press conference in Akure, the Ondo State capital, said women have been sidelined and marginalised in terms of political representation.

It, however, said women should be encouraged and supported regardless of party affiliations in order to seek political office.

Speaking during a press conference, Austin Ogunleye, said: “In places as diverse as Croatia, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Timor-Leste, having more female lawmakers led to passage of legislation related to anti-discrimination, domestic violence, inheritance and child support.”

According to the group, the hope and momentum for advancing women’s full and equal political participation have never been stronger in Nigeria.

“Simply put, when women lead equally (as men) in the political arena, it makes for stronger decision-making and more representative governance. Women in politics work across party lines, even in the most politically combative environments, and champion issues such as parental leave and gender equality laws that strengthen communities now and for generations to come.

“Since the return of democracy in 1999, the Senate has been dominated by males. In 1999 there were only three women out of the 109 members representing 2.8 per cent of the members of the Senate. In 2007 the number increased to eight (7.3 per cent). However, there was a decrease from eight women members in 2007 to seven in 2011 which is 6.4 per cent and eight (7.3 per cent) in 2015. In 2019 it moved to 11 (10.1 percent).

“In 1999, the number of women in the House of representative was 12 out of 360 members which were about 3.3 per cent but increased to 21 (5.8 per cent) in 2003. It was 26 (7.2 per cent) in 2011, in 2015 the number of women in the House of representative decrease to 19 (5.3 per cent) and it further decreased in 2019 to 13 (3.6 percent) out of 360 members.

“The above statistics negate the tenet of democracy. Democracy is about fair representation of all interest groups in the society and the low representation of women is a violation of the principle of democracy. It does not also meet the 35 percent affirmation as contained in the Beijing declaration.”

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