Participants at a “One-day Workshop on Women Political Participation,’’ on Thursday in Abakaliki urged relevant authorities to ensure that women were given opportunity to participate in elective partisan positions in Ebonyi.
The workshop was organised by the International Republican Institute (IRI) with funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Participants included, female politicians, women political activists and members of civil society organisations.
They decried low level of women involvement in grassroots politics in the state and called for a change in the April 25 local government area election.
The gathering identified traditional /cultural practices, lack of funds, violent nature of Nigerian politics and poor inclusion of women in parties’ leadership among other structures as inhibitions to women participation in politics.
The participants, therefore, called for removal of factors that inhibited effective involvement of women in governance.
They noted that more involvement of women in various levels of governance would create gender balance and equity.
Mrs Ugo Nnachi, in a paper entitled: “Strategies For Increasing Women Political Participation in Ebonyi: Focus on Women Participation in Party Congresses and LGA Elections,” called for more quota to be allocated to women in party leadership structures and grassroots governance.
According to her, when women are elected into political positions, they make a difference for the girls and women, adding that women in elective positions strongly impact legislation.
She emphasised that women were more likely to pursue inclusive governance, and stressed that more efforts should be made to bring more women into politics at local, state and federal levels to address their marginalisation.
“Available statistics indicates gross under representation of women in elective position in Ebonyi politics at various levels of governance.
“The 1999 election culminated in the election of one woman into the House of Representatives and in 2003, one female lawmaker was elected into the Ebonyi House of Assembly.
“Till date, no female has been elected a senator from any of the three senatorial districts from 1999 to date,” Nnachi said.
She noted that between 2004 and 2007, only one female was elected as council chairman out of the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi.
“Between 2010 and 2013 only one woman was elected as LGA chairman; between 2015 and 2017 three women were elected chairmen out of the 13 LGAs.
“The above statistics shows low level of women participation in grassroots politics.
“We must come together to ensure that we throw up more women in politics.
“We may have achieved the 35 per cent affirmative action in appointive political positions in Ebonyi, but we hope that it will be extended to elective positions, ” she added.
Nnachi who was former Ebonyi Head of Service, regretted that despite global campaigns for gender equality, women’s political representation was just below 30 to 35 per cent.
Mrs Jennifer Adibe, Special Assistant to Gov. Dave Umahi on Inter Party Matters and Labour, advocated for girl-child education and mentorship to equip them with needed capacity to excel in politics.
She commended the governor for inclusion of more women in his administration.
High point of the workshop was the setting up of a 10-member Advocacy Group to interface with relevant authorities to enhance participation of more women in politics.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Obike Ukoh