Town hall meeting to address gender issues kicks off Friday

The Gender Agenda AIT TownHall would be hosting a gender-based town hall parley, in Abuja to commemorate the ‘16 days of activism against gender-based violence.’

It is an annual international campaign dedicated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The Town Hall meeting, with the theme, “5 Gender Bills, Review, Policy implementation and The Way forward, would take place from Friday, November 17 to December 1, 2023.

Some of the expected participants include, Dr. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, Mandate Secretary, Women Affairs, FCTA, Barrister Ebere Ifendu, President, Women in Politics, Mufuliat Fijabi, Executive Director, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative, Cynthia Mbamalu, Co-founder, Yiaga Africa, among many others.

According to the host and anchor of Gender Agenda, Dr. Adaora Sidney-Jack, “The Gender Agenda Townhall Series is designed to bring issues that concern women to the fore and also bridge the gap between policy makers and the people. 

“It focuses on the accountability of government and its institutions towards creating the enabling policies, laws and enabling environment as it concerns women in Nigeria and across Africa.”

One of the main objectives of this programme, according to the theme, is to bring back the issue of the five gender Bills that were rejected by the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives.

Those rejected five gender bills included, the Bill on Citizenship, which seeks to amend Section 26 of the constitution, to grant citizenship to foreign husbands of Nigerian women as is currently guaranteed in section 26(2)(a) for foreign wives of Nigerian men; The indigeneship Bill, which among other issues, addresses Section 31 and 318(1) to allow women to claim their husbands’ state of origin after at least five years of marriage and the Affirmative Action Bill which seeks to specifically amend Section 223 to ensure women occupy at least 35 per cent in political party administration and appointive positions.

Others are the Bill on Ministerial or Commissioner Nomination, which among others seeks to amend Sections 147 and 192 so that at least 35 per cent of the nominees are women; and Reserved Seat Bill, is to among others, amend Sections 48, 49 and 91 to create additional 37, 74, and 108 seats for women at the Senate, House of Representatives, and the State Assemblies, respectively.

But the Speaker of the 10th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, has promised that the House under his leadership would revisit the rejected Bills.

He said in a recent public engagement on the issue, “The 10th House will be revisiting the Bill as part of our legislative agenda, and we believe that working together with the women and stakeholders, we should be able to have a law that will benefit the women and all Nigerians and improve governance in Nigeria.

“What this means is that men must lead the drive for women’s inclusion in governance, after all, it is men who shut the door. They have to open it and allow the women to enter.

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“This is the import of the growing awareness across the globe of the need for men to lead the charge for the expansion of the governance, political and development space for the greater accommodation of women.

“On our part as members of the legislature, the 10th House of Representatives set up a legislative agenda committee, which has captured the issue of women prominently.”

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