Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen has urged women groups to stand in solidarity and support women aspiring for leadership positions ahead of 2023 general elections.
Tallen made the call on Thursday at the 2020 Annual Women’s Conference organised by Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project and 100 Women Lobby Group supported by Global Affairs Canada and Actionaid Nigeria.
The event was tagged: “Formidable Force for Gender Equality, with theme: Women’s Leadership and Political Participation.
The minister urged women groups to support women particularly aspirants to enable them attain various leadership positions in political space and governance.
“I encourage women to keep pushing, don’t be distracted, remain focused until we get more women in elective positions,” he said.
Tallen further called for an end to Gender Based Violence (GBV) and a continuous advocacy among groups as the 16 days of activism against gender based violence had just ended.
She appreciated various non-governmental organisations and women groups for reaching out to people at the grassroots and providing justice to the voiceless, particularly women and girls.
The minister, therefore, appealed to the Ministries of Justice, Information, Humanitarian affairs among others to help towards eliminating violence against women and girls.
Similarly, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Chair and Founder, Fix Politics and a key note speaker who spoke through zoom, stated that research had indicated massive progress in political and economic spheres, when there was gender equality.
Ezekwesili decried lack of data which had largely affected lack of capacity building, networking and structural issues for women participation in politics and leadership positions.
“We need voter data which will capture all women at the ward level, and voters registration, which entails mobilising women across the country to ensure women participation,” she said.
She noted that partnership was the greatest resource for women in building social networks and not finance.
“Women must understand the gain in speed and scale, as the idea of every woman to herself cannot work, we must come together negotiate, strategies with the right attitude and willingness if we must achieve our goal .
“We must invest in gaining knowledge; we must research and be informed with empirical evidence and data.
“With partnership, data, financial literacy, we can achieve the numbers game and accomplish our goals as women,” she said .
On her part, Mrs Felicia Onibon , National Coordinator, 100 women Lobby Group, said the conference was geared toward preparing women for 2023 general elections.
She said the conference had provided a platform for women working in rural communities, government agencies and the political class to come together to network and discuss on issues that affected women.
“The discussions and various contributions and views from the conference would enable us make progress as well as building momentum toward 2023,” she said.
Mrs Zarau Ahamad, Kebbi State Coordinator, 100 women Lobby Group, said religion and cultural factors were the major barriers for women’s participation in politics in the state.
According to her, the challenge of discrimination and lack of support discourages women in participating in politics.
She said that the group will embark on advocacy, sensitisation and mobilisation in ensuring that more women in Kebbi participate in the 2023 election.
President, Women in Politics, Ms Ebere Ifendu said the conference was aimed at empowering women in the festive period to be advocates by speaking to other women to support each another.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister also launched the Nigerian Women Aspirants website to keep data of women involved in politics as well as dissemination of information on politics.
Also, a trust fund was launched by the minister where she supported the purse and promised to support it monthly as well as other women leaders, groups and organisations, pledging their support to the fund.