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IWD: INEC to Engage NASS on Affirmative Action to Guarantee Women Inclusivity in Politics

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The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has called on the National Assembly to introduce affirmative action as part of the
electoral reforms that will ensure greater representation of women, youths and persons with disability in elective offices nationwide.

Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the call at the commemoration of the International Women’s Day, held at INEC headquarters, Abuja.

Prof. Yakubu disclosed that the Commission will engage with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters on the issue and other areas of reform in the weeks ahead.

This move according to the INEC Chairman I in response to concerns raised by Nigerians about the low level of gender representation in elective positions nationwide.

He noted that the Commission shares this concern and have consistently been urging political parties to redress the obvious under-representation of women, youths and persons with disability by nominating more of them as candidates for elections.

He expressed delight in being part of the celebration, not in a symbolic way but as a practical affirmation of the commitment of INEC to deepening gender equality, representation, relevance, empowerment and a sense of belonging.

“The main theme of this year’s celebration is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” while the campaign theme is “Inspire Inclusion”. Inclusion, in particular, has been a focal area of our commitment covering gender, youths and persons with disability.

“For this reason, the Commission has since developed and validated its gender policy with the full support of all stakeholders. We have also been dutifully implementing the gender policy in a practical way.

“It is not by coincidence that the two successive Secretaries to the Commission are women. Furthermore, the present Commission deliberately created a whole Department of Gender and Inclusivity in 2021 dedicated to the promotion of inclusive representation in the workplace and the electoral process.

“Today, out of 24 Departments and Directorates at the Commission’s Headquarters, 11 (representing 46%) are headed by women. We also have women serving as Administrative Secretaries in our State offices and Heads of various Departments at State level. There is also no State in Nigeria without women serving as Electoral Officers (EOs) in charge of our Local Government Offices.

“In addition to Departmental and other responsibilities, the Commission has also built and equipped a Crèche for the convenience of staff of all categories who are nursing mothers. By coincidence, the Crèche will be commissioned shortly as part of the activities for this year’s International Women’s Day. Our intention is to extend such facility to our state offices as funds permit,” he said.

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