The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has called on African women to unite in the fight against gender inequality and marginalisation.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Mr Austine Elemue, in a statement on Sunday, said Aliyu made the call in a paper presentation at the 3rd Edition of Africa Women Conference (AWC) in Marakesh, Morocco.
She, however, expressed delight that in spite of the challenges, many women holding key offices in Africa have excelled in positions of authority.
The minister, who is also the President, Council of African Political Parties, noted the importance of women inclusion in governance and proposed means through which more women could be supported to take up political leadership.
Aliyu observed that certain steps should be taken to address issues affecting women in the continent.
“Aside the Affirmative Action principle, processes should be explored making it constitutionally mandatory on governments of African countries to set aside certain percentage of the membership of their cabinets for women.
“This could be for a specific period of time to enable the gender balance philosophy become internalised in the body politic of African nations.
“The constitutions of political parties in African countries should enforce the principle of Affirmative Action by putting in place institutional mechanisms at various levels of its organs that will set aside a percentage of elective positions for women.
“This would ensure that women have favourable access to nomination processes that will enable them contest elections into all elective offices.
“Reduction in the cost of nomination forms as a measure to encourage greater women involvement.”
She called on Electoral Authorities in African nations to enact stringent guidelines that would sanction political parties that failed to meet their party guidelines on access of women to elective offices.
According to her, education of the girl child should be pursued with greater vigour and cultural barriers and stereotypes which hinder the girl child access to functional education should be tackled.
“Knowledge is key to effective women participation in the political process, especially in a post-colonial Africa whose economy is becoming increasingly knowledge driven.
”Women must show compelling intellectual capacity to provide visionary leadership that will help African nations defeat poverty, create wealth, create jobs and enhance prosperity.”
The conference was organised by an Abuja based women group, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, in collaboration with other women groups to provide a platform for African women from the formal and non-formal sectors of the economy.