Ex First Lady wants National Assembly to reconsider, pass Gender Parity Bill

Former First Lady of Kogi State, Amb. Dr. Aisha Audu-Emeje has called on women to collectively redefine their strategies and re-present the ‘Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence Against Women Bill’ to the National Assembly for passage into law.

She challenged women to ‘step out from the regular corridor of complain and employ correct strategies needed to solve their problems.

Women in position of authority should reach out to other women to do what women need to do, as such they would even command followership as does men, she said.

It could be recalled that in March 2016, the Senate at its plenary voted against and consequently dumped the Gender Parity Bill. The bill is for an Act to incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa and others matters connected therewith.

The Gender Parity and Prohibition of violence against women bill was thrown out amidst differing opinion by senators ranging from cultural to religious grounds.

In an exclusive chat with our correspondent, in Abuja, Emeje, who is the President of A3 Foundation, expressed shock that the bill did not scale the second reading at the National Assembly, citing low level of awareness as a factor responsible. She therefore called on women to redefine their strategies and restart the processes for passage of the bill.

People would not support what they know too little about,’ she said.

I was embarrassed when the bill was turned down because we did not advocate enough; we didn’t create enough awareness and advocacy on why the bill needs to be passed.

According to her, in other countries where similar bills were passed into law by parliament, ‘women created necessary awareness of the bill and sought for the passage, so we should re-strategize and restart the quest for passage of that bill into law.’

Male counterparts freely advocate for interests in their domain. Advocacy may have been difficult, but it would certainly have succeeded because those who tried it succeeded.

Women need to work more cordially with other women in order to succeed and end the inequality gap as well as the discrimination that comes with it.

According to the former First Lady, ‘men do not constitute treat to women.’

Men are our husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and so on. What you present to them is what you get. I have never heard or seen men rising against women saying they will not get positions or privileges due.

I believe that everyman sends his daughter to school equally with his son. So who is stopping who? So I think that assumption is a mental thing that has to stopped.

While saying that times are changing, she noted that ‘some things that did not work for our mothers are working for us now. I’ve been through many phases and I didn’t get any hindrance or encumbrances. I know there are natural norms but men suffer almost the same when it comes to poverty, lack, joblessness and some other challenges.

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