From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
xperts have identified factors they said are affecting the participation of women in politics, with Mrs. Lydia Shehu, director Women Affairs at the Ministry of Women Affairs in Bauchi, stressing that unfriendly political environment and barriers such as gender discrimination among others, continue to prevent women from playing active roles in politics.
Mrs. Shehu who was presenting a paper at a workshop organized for women by a nongovernmental organization, Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI), added that marginalized party policies, lack of confidence and self assertion, family values also combine to militate against the active participation of women in politics.
In her paper titled “Roles of Women in National Development”, she noted though that notwithstanding these challenges, women still have important roles to play in the political arena since, according to her, politics is a game of numbers.
The two-day training workshop which held yesterday in Bauchi, was organized in conjunction with the state Minisstry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for wives of commissioners and caretaker committee chairmen in the state.
While also identifying other factors to include; culture, tradition, religious belief and low level of education as some of the barriers militating against Nigerian women’s participation in politics, Mrs. Shehu urged Nigerian women to take advantage of their numerical strength to be take the centre stage in politics, adding that doing this would afford them the opportunity of entrenching honesty, transparency, judicious and prudent use of resources and good governance in Nigeria.
She, however, stated that for women to play prominent roles in the country’s development, emphasis must be given to the girl-child education, prejudices and religious sentiment had to be done away with, while there should be women empowerment and enlightenment.
She also called on women to rise against party differences, while government at all levels to make deliberate policy framework with a view to giving women prominence in the polity as well as for political parties to have gender inclusive operational policy guidelines.
In her remarks, the executive director, FAWOYDI, Hajiya Maryam S Garba, stated that the workshop was organized with a view to empower the wives of the state commissioners and local government caretaker chairmen in order for them to take development to the grass-roots level in the state.
Garba noted that her NGO was basically concerned about women and youths’ development, adding that the organization was being hampered by low funding, difficult terrain, donor dependence and low government support.