National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment and also a Nollywood actress, Ini Edo has said there is the need to make amendment of laws in ways to increase the number of women in elected offices.
Ini Edo who stated this in Abuja on Thursday during the unveiling as NDI Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment said women make up 50 per cent of the population in every country and are underrepresented in each eligible age group.
According to her, NDI is addressing two issues that are very important to me; the first is the low percentage of women who serve in public office, on average, in all the parliaments of the world, only one seat out of four is held by a woman.
She said this isn’t enough, further, only 16 per cent of parliamentarians are under the age of 40 and the larger percentage of these are also men.
She further said while women make up 50 per cent of the population in every country, we are underrepresented in each eligible age group.
In her words “In Nigeria, I am sorry to say ,the number of women in elected office is worse than the world’s average and even worse ,than some of our neighbours .’’
According to Edo ,women serve in only one elected seat out of 10 in Nigeria ,and in recent years the number has been declining ,adding that “we must do better.’’
“I won’t be alone; there are many who will be helping like prominent Nigerians ,eminent international leaders ,including former women heads of state,and NGOs.
“We will all be united in the cause of amending laws and addressing other barriers ,to level the playing field so women can compete successfully for elected office in our country.’’she said
Edo said that her second initiative as NDI’s ambassador for women empowerment would address the problem of violence against women, especially during elections.
She said women who run as candidates for offices were physically attacked and viciously attacked in social media and were subjected to horrible insults no person should have to endure.
She said that in some places in Nigeria threat of violence is so severe that women are afraid to go out and vote ;the deliberate attempt to silence and exclude women was intolerable.
She said that a country like Nigeria had a special duty to serve as an example for Africa and for the rest of the world so w
She also called on the need for centres to provide specialized assistance to women victims of violence and we must strengthen our laws to protect victims of violence, most especially women.’’
Edo said that she would carry out radio and television shows and posting supportive messages on her social media handles and shoot short films as way of campaigning for increased women participation in politics.
Also, the NDI /Nigeria Chief of Party ,Stephen Snook said that was a none partisan NGO that responds to the worldwide quest for popular civil participation and open competitive systems and representative accountable government .
Snook said that to comprehensively address the barriers to women’s equal participation, it needed strong advocates who would not back down from the challenge.