In Nigeria, women’s rights took a new blow after senators rejected for the third time five bills that sought to promote gender equality in the country. We need to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women. Take action now and demand the National Assembly to reconsider all gender bills.
Nigerian women protested on Wednesday 2 March at the National Assembly to demand that bills sought to promote more opportunities for women in political parties, governance, and the society at large are reconsidered by the National Assembly. Those bills were part of the 68 legislations that will alter the Nigeria Constitution on which lawmakers were set to vote on Tuesday 1 March 2022.
Five of those bills were proposed to promote more opportunities for women in governance and the society at large. They were set to correct long-standing inequalities between men and women in the country.
One of the bills named ‘Expansion of the Scope of Citizenship by Registration’ seeks to alter the provisions of the Constitution to provide for citizenship by registration for foreign spouses of Nigerian women. In the current situation, only Nigerian men’s foreign spouses can automatically gain Nigerian citizenship.
Another bill named “Special Seats for Women” seeks to provide for special seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly. That provision would help women get a better representation in governance bodies. The current National Assembly is 95.9% male.
A third bill named ‘Affirmative Action for Women in Political Party Administration’ seeks to alter the provisions of the Constitution to ensure that at least thirty-five percent of the members of the executive committee of a political party at all levels are women. This would change in the long-term the representation of women in governance bodies and help move towards parity.
The other two bills are not specific to women’s rights only but would also benefit men if enacted. One seeks to provide voting rights for Nigerians living in the Diaspora. In many countries, a citizen wherever he or she is during elections can safely vote for their candidates and political parties. The other bill aims to confer the right for women to obtain indigeneship of her husband’s state after at least five years of marriage.
It’s high time that gender inequalities are removed from laws in Nigeria.
Join our members and supporters and demand to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House to promote gender equality in the country.