A non-profit organisation, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), has launched SpaceForHer fellowship programme for women’s inclusion in politics and governance, in Kwara State.
Tolulope Theresa Gbenro, the Project lead for ‘SpaceForher’ made this known on Saturday, in Ilorin the State Capital While delivering a key note address during the virtual launch of the programme.
SpaceForHer programme is a 6-week intensive legislative and leadership development fellowship, specially designed for Nigerian women who are ready to kick-start their careers in politics.
According to her, For decades, there has been a concern over the very low participation of women in political leadership and governance. The aim is to create a safe space and encourage more women to take up leadership roles in Nigeria and break the bias.
Speaking on the available data, she explained how women constitute less than 5 percent of the total number of lawmakers in the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives).
“Of the 109 legislators in the Senate, only 8 of them are females, while out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, just 11 of them are women.”
“Across the country, we have a total of 990 lawmakers in the State Assemblies and only 40 of them are women. Of the 43 ministers we have in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, only 7 of them are females.”
She noted that women have not been fairly represented in political leadership positions in the state. Under the current political dispensation, the entire 24 seats at the Kwara State House of Assembly are occupied by men.
“It is worrisome and quite unfortunate that women in Nigeria constitute a small percentage of people in political decision-making and leadership roles.”
BBYDI called on the National Assembly to reconsider all the gender bills that were rejected by the lawmakers during the voting on a constitutional amendment on March 1, 2022.
Meanwhile, Many see women politicians as prostitutes, disrespectful and irresponsible. Unfortunately, there are women who hold these wrong notions as well; they show hatred for their fellow women who are into politics. This is wrong and should stop, she added.
She said “the cost for forms of interest should be largely subsidized for female aspirants in all political parties. Also, the Nigerian government should sign into law for the position of the state deputy governor to be automatically
reserved for women.”
However, She appeals to all Political parties to give room for active participation of women, rather than using them for campaigns only.
She went further to congratulate all the selected participants and urge them to take advantage of the important fellowship and actualize their political ambition.
The Executive Director of BBYDI, Abideen Olasupo, launched three documents, Assessment of women in elective positions, reasons for voter apathy in Nigeria, and Voters educational manual respectively.
Mr Olasupo gives gratitude to Global Youth Movement for the success of the project.
He said It is their hope to see Nigeria witness a critical shift in gender inclusion in political leadership, he added.