Hajiya Zainab Maina: women & transformation

Hajiya Zainab Maina has called for immediate passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill as soon as possible. This has come up after the release 2012 Gender Report in Nigeria.
In her genuine concern for the fortune of women, she has committed to gender equity and the overall welfare of women in and out of government towards overall national development.
Her concern stemmed majorly from the poor performance of women in the 2011general elections

She emphasised on the political representation of women during the elections where only nine percent of those who stood for election into National Assembly elections were women and out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, only 25 are women representing six per cent compared to African average of 19 per cent.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu
The minister observed that lack of women in decision-making positions might be one explanation for Nigeria’s low investment in sectors that are crucial to human development outcomes, such as health and education. Women are underrepresented in all political decision-making bodies and their representation has not increased since the inception of democratic rule.

Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa
Maina explained that despite the fact that more women registered to vote than men during elections, “they are however still excluded from decision-making at all levels by male dominated patronage networks, the absence of agreed quotas, and a party system that fails to nominate women candidates for electable seats. Fear of violence and restrictions on mobility may also deter women in some instances.”
She however said that unless women are adequately represented in elected bodies where major spending decisions are taken, “it is likely that current patterns of expenditure will continue. Where women are more equally represented in parliament, intrastate-armed conflict is less prevalent and social spending is allocated more fairly and efficiently.”
Hon. Nnenna Ijeoma Ukeje
Hon. Uche Lilian  Ekwunife

The minister also pointed to the fact that violence both in and outside politics remained one of the major obstacles to women participation in national development. According to her, “violence against women and girls cannot be ignored. One in three of all women and girls aged 15-24 has been a victim of violence. Women who have never married are more likely to have been attacked than married women. These figures cry out for further analyses. It is vital to understand the underlying social dynamics and causes of violence.”
She added that research has suggested, disturbingly, that violence is endemic in some public institutions, including the police and certain educational bodies, where an “entrenched culture of impunity” protects perpetrators of rape and other violence.
These crimes are under-reported and very few cases are brought to court. Fear of violence hinders Nigeria’s development. It not only deters girls from going to school, it also impacts on almost every aspect of women’s lives as productive and active citizens.
Hon. Abiola Adebukola Aja
Hon. Khadija Bukar Ibrahim
With all these working against the development of the Nigeria women, Maina strongly believes that women have the potential to transform Nigeria, stressing that achieving balanced development places a responsibility for change in all institutions of governance and social structures.
“Girls and women have the potential to transform Nigeria. Investing in girls today will improve productivity and growth and also lead to a more peaceful, healthy and skilled work force tomorrow,” she added.
She further pointed out that, government, the parliament, the judiciary, civil society, development partners, institutions of faith and culture including all men and women have a role to play in enhancing women’s economic well being and opportunity to earn income through prioritising agriculture and rural development, granting women more access to land for security and collateral.Giving women more access to public sector positions/incentives, improved healthcare for women and children, ensuring that more girls stay in and finish school and thus delay early marriages and early childbirth, tackling the issue of gender violence especially in schools as a strategic step as well as stepping up campaign against child and girl trafficking and the National Assembly should domesticate Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the African Union Protocol of women’s rights by passing the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill as soon as possible.
 Source: Punchonline
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