The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) heartily congratulates newly elected President and Vice President of United States of America, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory from the recent concluded elections.
We observed from the electoral process, the spirited determination of American people informed by undiluted patriotism to uphold core democratic principles and values, while demonstrating to the world, their increasing priority for social justice and gender equality.
We also saw laudable selection of a woman of colour as a running mate and subsequently first women Vice President-elect by the President-elect, as a demonstrated leadership capacity with renowned competence as well as genuine understanding of all-inclusiveness in the manifestation of people-oriented impact.
While we commend the courageous moment in American democratic history, we find it worthy of emulation as we call on political leaders across Africa and particularly Nigeria to follow suit in delivering of long-waited inclusive and participatory governance through full implementation of enabling policy in fulfilment of various declarations supporting women’s participation in appointive and elective positions.
The recent development in United States of America’s politics, has validated our most-reiterated position that gender equality is an imperative for progress on socio-economic emancipation and development in societies across the world.
In Nigeria, women constitute more than half of the population in most states, having their own right with potential, wisdom, talents and skill that they can contribute to develop the country in political and socio-economic spheres.
We are worried over the existing glaring gender gaps in political structures and processes including low numbers of women in political party decision making structures; limited involvement of women in household, community and political spheres; unclear rules and procedures on recruitment and conduct of primaries.
We further express our deep concern over the slow progress in bridging gender gap with the most recent Global Gender Gap report by World Economic Forum revealing that at the current rate of progress, it will take another 108 years to reach gender parity. Just as we observed constant dwindling consideration for Affirmative Action across key elective, appointive positions in both public and private spheres in Nigeria.
We are disturbed that despite all efforts to secure equal opportunity and development advancement for all Nigerian citizens irrespective of gender through the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, the legislative framework has continued to witness deliberate setback in the National Assembly.
We therefore call for adequate policy attention to address the huge differences in the types of inequality faced by Nigerian women—from cultural representation, political inclusion, socio-economic capacity, education attainment to domestic burdens and child marriage.
We call for sincere consideration, implementation of at least 35% Affirmative Action for Women at all levels to encourage their appreciable participation and involvement of women as leaders and decision-makers in households, communities as well as public and private spheres.
We call for the increased priority for the passage and assent into the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill by the National Assembly to demonstrate the legislature’s concern for the rights of women to equal opportunities with guaranteed appropriate measures against gender discrimination in political and public life.
Executive Director, MAMA Centre