The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, on Tuesday, decided the low representation of women in leadership positions in the country.
According to her, the number of women in a leadership position is unacceptable.
She spoke at a roundtable organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.
The roundtable was co-organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Women in Parliament and French Embassy in Nigeria.
“My heart bleeds when I look at the great women we have in Nigeria.
“Women that are more capable to be there but we denied and that is why we have a big battle before us against 2023.
“We must start early,” she said.
Recalling when she contested for a leadership position, Tallen said: “when the result was declared, the result was upturned at the tribunal.”
“I went to the court of appeal, they went again and unturned it.
“I was threatened, my life threatened and my son was threatened, that we should withdraw that; we should not go to Supreme Court or I lose my Life.
“They said it wasn’t a judicial matter but political,” she narrated.
According to her, the injustice on women is so much.
The minister, however, encouraged Nigerian women not to give, “the struggle continues. The strength in us is too much because no man can stand the strength of a woman.”
He urged women to love and support one another.
“You must do something that touches your local community, identify with them, be with them, by the time they have confidence in you, they’ll campaign for you,” he said.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Women in Parliament, Hon. Taiwo Oluga (APC-Osun), appreciated the French embassy for their support.
She said that efforts made by PLAC and other civil society organisations were making the journey for women in politics easier and smoother.
According to her, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step; we have started and we will surely get there.
Oluga promised to follow up in the parliament to make sure more women were represented in the National Assembly in 2023.
The Chairperson, Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum, Prof. Oluyemisi Gbangboshe, said that the association was interested in issues affecting women across sectors.
She said that the association was willing to contribute to drafting a bill that would give a voice to women in politics and increase participation ahead of 2023.
On her part, Aisha Dukku (APC-Gombe) and Chairman, House Committee on INEC and Political Party, said that she believed in the synergy between stakeholders.
She said that there was a need to relax and bring out the best of ideas that would boost women representation in politics.
The lawmaker expressed confidence in the synergy, saying that “this time around, we will get it right.’’
The Executive Director of PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, said that Nigeria as a giant of Africa should set good examples for the continent.
He said that the record on the number of women in parliament and politics, in general, is not encouraging.
According to him, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa have taken the lead in the area of women representation in politics.
The executive director said that the killing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Woman Leader in the Kogi November 16 governorship election could discourage women’s participation.
Nwankwo said that in view of the fact that the number of women in politics was constantly reducing, there was a need for special measures to change the situation.
He said that there was a need for legislators to facilitate constitutional amendments and come up with a mechanism that would enshrine the quota system in the constitution.
The representative of the French Embassy in Nigeria at the event, Mr. Raphael Pont, reaffirmed the commitment of the embassy to supporting human rights and gender equality.
Pont said that gender equality and women empowerment were necessary for any meaningful development in the world.
He said that equal rights and empowerment for women were important for their social,psychological and economic growth.
Pont said that the embassy would continue to support PLAC and other NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to achieve gender equality.