Government of Ekiti State, Nigeria.

Ekiti Women Demand 35 Per Cent Inclusion Of Women In Decision-Making

November 13, 2012

The attention of the Ekiti Women Stakeholders Forum (EWSF) has been drawn to the outcome of the Saturday November 10th public hearing on the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution, which took place in Ado-Ekiti and Ilawe, Ekiti State.

The EWSF represents a vast section of women in professional associations, grassroots organisations, political office holders, young women, market women, faith-based organizations and civil society organizations working on social development and gender equality issues from all the sixteen local government areas in Ekiti State.

At the November 10th meeting, it was alleged that representatives of various interests groups from Ekiti State voted against the inclusion of representation of women in decision-making in the new constitution.
We wish to state categorically that the consensus of participants at the hastily arranged hearing was not a fair representation of the views of the vast majority of the citizens of Ekiti State on many of the complex issues up for debate as part of the ongoing constitution review process.
For now, we will only concern ourselves with issues affecting us as Ekiti Women Stakeholders, while we believe other aggrieved stakeholders are already addressing some of the other highly objectionable outcomes of the November 10th public hearing.
Not only do we have serious concerns about the process, timing and dismal mobilization strategies used to convene the hearing, we are very disappointed in the lack of inclusion and qualitative engagement as experienced by the handful of women who participated in a process wholly dominated by men.

As women speaking for and on behalf of Ekiti mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, we are appalled that in spite of all the great strides Ekiti State has made recently in terms of creating an enabling environment for gender equality and women’s empowerment, a group of less than 300 people, 95% of them male, could claim to be making such a decision on behalf of the over two million inhabitants of Ekiti State, at least 50% of whom are women.
We therefore wish to state the following:

The Ekiti Women Stakeholders Forum, on behalf of the vast majority of Ekiti women, totally dissociate ourselves from the purported outcomes of the November 10th 2012 meeting, which took place in Ekiti.

We unanimously and unequivocally seek provision for a minimum of 35 per cent representation of women at all levels in the proposed new Constitution. In seeking the insertion of this provision into the new constitution, we are basing our position on the spirit and letter of the Beijing Platform for Action Declaration on Gender Equality (1995), Article 9 of the Africa Charter for Women (2003) and the National Gender Policy (2007).

We identify with the efforts of many civil society organizations and women’s networks who have worked tirelessly on the inclusion of women’s issues in the new constitution for many years now and we assert that their demands are in consonance with our position.

We strongly believe that the demands for women to have a voice in decision-making at all levels need to be taken seriously. It is impossible for any community or country to achieve development without the full and equal participation of women.
We have made many advances in Ekiti State as far as these issues are concerned, and while we know the way forward is long and difficult, we are determined that the one place we are not going is backwards.

Mrs. Rita Ilevbare
President, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ekiti State Chapter

Mrs. Christie Obatayo
President, National Council of Women’s Societies, Ekiti State
On behalf of the Ekiti Women’s Stakeholders Forum.
(Members of EWSF include FIDA-Ekiti, NCWS (Ekiti), Moving Minds, Forum of Women in Leadership, National Council of Market Women, Ekiti Development Foundation, Community Development Advocacy Network, Gender Empowerment Development, National Market Women Association of Nigeria, and New Initiative for Social Development)

Last modified: November 13, 2012

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