Preparing Women for Politics in Nigeria

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Preparing Women for Politics in Nigeria

Lagos, Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 – ElectHER, in partnership with AGS Tribe and African Women on Board, organised the Women for Women Conference themed Partnering for Parity which took place at Wheatbaker Hotel, Lagos.

ElectHer is a non-partisan progressive women political advancement group co-founded by Ibijoke Faborode and Abosede George-Ogan. Statistics have shown that there is currently only 6.7% of female representation in political positions, either by appointment or election, which is far from the 35% women representation minimum recommended by the Electoral Act. Thus, the mandate of ElectHER is to increase the participation of women in politics in Nigeria, seeking to empower 1000 women to run for office and directly back ’35’ women by 2023.

The conference, which also took place virtually, was attended by women across all sectors ranging from education, finance, technology and others. Inclusive of politics, The Partnering for Parity Women Conference involved a holistic conversation to generally advance and empower women participation in leadership positions in the society. The conference had four panel sessions. The discussions from each panel session were planned to provoke thought and force actions that will change women’s involvement in leadership within the society.

The first panel session titled Workplaces, Communities and Governments: Accessing Equality and Equity Across Board was moderated by Shade Anozie and had Mudrakat Alabi-Madey, Inem King and Toyosi Etim-Effiong as panelists. This session dived into a conversation to increase participation in areas where women’s presence are subpar and brainstormed ways to reduce gender-based violence in workplaces, communities and government. Inem King emphasised that violence against women in workplaces has a multiplier effect because it affects work efficiency, labour productivity, economic growth and sustainable development. Shade Anozie reemphasised the importance of having women in leadership positions to encourage organisations to include equality and equity in their corporate strategies and policies.

The second panel, titled Leveraging Strong Communities and Resilient Networks for Increased Participation, which had Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti as moderator and Blessing Adesiyan, Seun Alley and Foluse Gbadamosi as panelists, focused on the collective voice women can project through networking, which is powerful enough to instigate the change we want to see, starting from the home and onto workplace and society at large.

The third panel session which was powered by Sterling Bank, titled Empowering Women in Leadership through Financial Inclusion, engaged the audience on the financial empowerment of women through its One Woman initiative. It was very emotional when one of the panel members reminiscing on her own childhood, spoke tearfully about what could be achieved if women had the finances needed. Sterling Bank, through its One Woman Initiative, provides uncollateralised loans, financial literacy for intending and existing female business owners, business plan evaluation and agricultural participation of women in the whole process.

The final session themed WomenforWomen: Mobilising for Women’s Political Leadership ahead of 2023 moderated by Faborode had as panelists, CSR-in-Action’s Chief Executive, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Fade Ogunro, and Yanmo Omoregbe, and highlighted how the participation of women in politics is achievable through systemic change of the traditional orientation that women should be seen but not heard. This systemic change is achievable through of grassroots re-orientation, technology and crowdfunding for financing, the panelists argued. Masade-Olowola talked about how CSR-in-Action pursues systemic change in attitudes towards women through its various channels and currently has in the works a documentary and radio drama to stir up behavioural change that will result in a redefined vision and more involvement of women in decision-making in the society and ahead of the 2023 general election.

Ahead of the 2023 election, ElectHER is looking at facilitating at least 15 women into the House of Representatives, 15 legislators/lawmakers, 3 senators and 2 executives. How do they want to achieve this? ElectHER has launched the Agender35 campaign to advance women’s political leadership. The Agender35 campaign includes the $1million WomenforWomen fund and the $10 million fund which will empower 1,000 women to decide to run and directly fund 35 women to competitively run for elective office in 2023 and to advocate for the 35% women representation quota in elective and appointive office.

So far, ElectHER has secured a $100,000 grant from National Endowment for Democracy and Platform Capital Group.

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