Women in West Africa have been asked not to relent on their advocacy for political power-sharing possibilities in order to comply with the United Nations’ recommended 35% Affirmative Action.
The appeal was made by Halima Ahmed, pioneer Secretary General of the ECOWAS Parliament and a significant figure in the founding of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association, ECOFEPA, in an interview at the close of a two-day Town Hall meeting conducted by ECOFEPA in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mrs Ahmed who was former ECOWAS Commissioner for Finance and also former Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security in the Commission called on women in the region to keep pushing for more opportunities to be giving to women in governance and the political sphere.
The First Vice President of ECOFEPA and a member of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Biodun Olujimi, also in an interview with Voice of Nigeria called for special quota for women in governance and politics.
Senator Olujimi who expressed disappointment over the low percentage of women elected in the next National Assembly of Nigeria, commended Senegal for its Gender Parity law.
She also commended Sierra Leone for recently signing into law the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment bill 2022 that guarantees the principals of inclusion, participation and more responsive posture on gender.
She expressed hope this will be replicated in all member states.
The National Coordinator Aspire Young Women Forum, Kahdija Bamali, noted that mentoring and capacity building programs for young women is crucial in closing the gender gap in leadership positions.
According to Bamali, “investing in skills development and capacity building programs for young women is crucial to closing the gender gap in leadership positions.”
The Town Hall meeting had a gathering of over 350 women and young people across the region who participated as a way of rejuvenating democracy by giving voice to Women and Youth with the theme: “Stimulating a regional Dynamics for Mentoring the Next Generation of Decision Makers”.