The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has charged the Women Lobby Group of the All Progressives Party (APC) to seek innovative ways of remedying the ‘poverty’ gap among women, lamenting that this has remained a militating factor to most women seeking elective offices.
In a signed statement made available to journalists in Abuja by the Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry Olujimi Oyetomi, Tallen gave the charge when the lobby group led by Stella Okotete paid the ministry a courtesy visit to seek input on the Progressives Women Academy (PWA), a Digital Academy set up to effect and accelerate training and capacity building for more women in trades and skills in leadership.
According to the statement, the minister noted the poor economic capacity of women, saying this is the major reason they are easily bought over during elections.
Tallen added that virtually all issues women are seeking to address such as Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), poverty, quest for more political representation can be addressed, when they secure the buy-in of the men especially of the critical traditional and religious leaders.
“Women are not as rich as the men; that is why some of them can be bought over during campaigns for election. We have to work together; as we work together, we have to work to put all our critics to shame,” the statement said.
Leader of the group, Stella Okotete said the target of the digital platform is to empower 2 million women in Nigeria.
“This will unleash 4 million jobs and reach 12 million dependants of women in 2 years. For any woman to be a part of the digital academy (PWA), all that is required is ownership of a GSM telephone and a telephone number. Women through the PWA will share knowledge and learn from experienced business owners,” she explained.
Okotete further disclosed that through the Women Academy (Digital Platform), women will be trained in leadership capabilities, mobilized and supported to contest elective posts into local, States and national positions having realized through its research that women have been disadvantaged at seeking political offices in the democratic space in Nigeria.
She however painted a gradually changing picture disclosing the target of the Group for 108 elective slots in Nigeria’s House of Representatives which she said, ”Is achievable when women with one voice target 3 slots out of the federal representatives from 10 seats of each of the 36 States.”
She also disclosed that her group will among other things, influence legislation, regulate party decisions and governments’ actions and policies to the benefit of more Nigerian women.
“We seek equal opportunities to participate in emerging power and decision-making structures; we want more women’s contribution to all aspects of life recognised, rewarded and celebrated – in leadership, in care and in production; we don’t want any woman left behind”, she declared.