Former Nigerian Federal Minister of Aviation, and the current National Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has released a statement unbehalf of Nigerian women on the controversial Gender Equality Bill.
On behalf of the entire PDP women, I join members of the civil society to express profound disappointment and displeasure over the dismissal of the Nigerian Gender and Equal Opportunities bill by the Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday March, 2016.
This regressive action ironically occurred at a critical time when the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference is currently holding in New York, USA.
The implication of throwing out the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill is that the incidences of rape, domestic violence, maternal mortality, poverty e.t.c, which have been ravaging our country will continue unchallenged. The dismissal of that bill essentially undermines the contributions Nigerian women are making towards our national development.
That bill is not just about women. It is centred around the survival of the family system in Nigeria. If that bill were passed, the greatest beneficiaries would have been the menfolk, who are undoubtedly the heads of families. Nigerian women have partnered with them in building stable homes and the society at large. Nigerian women have proved capacity to lead and capacity to follow in national development.
Nigerian women are very conscious of positive Nigerian cultures and tradition but however, they propose to eliminate those factors that slowpoke our socio economic development to comparable international standards. I watched the debate and I pay tribute to some of the male senators who made very positive contributions in support of the bill for which the female senators fought hard but lost the battle.
Women constitute more than 50% of the population of the country; unfortunately, they are only a minute minority in both the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly. It is therefore no surprise that that bill was thrown out. That bill was about humanity and not about women.
I therefore plead with the Senate to revisit this bill, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially as the Senate President has already promised to reconsider it.
PDP National Woman Leader.