By Dorcas Jonah
Abuja, – Mrs Gloria Shoda, the National President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), on Monday described as unsatisfactory the level of involvement of Nigerian women in governance and politics.
Shoda told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the low participation had persisted in spite of the adoption of 35 per cent affirmative action, aimed at getting a balance in the society.
According to her, Nigeria needs to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Shoda said that the NCWS had come a long way, saying that the council would celebrate its 60th anniversary.
She said that the 60th anniversary of the Council would be marked with the theme: “The Change Leadership and Gender Balance: A Transformative Dimension to National Development’’.
“I am not satisfied with the current situation. If I am satisfied, we won’t be talking about balancing.
“If I am satisfied, we won’t be talking about having a political summit, where we will be asking for improved quota in the system.
“What is the percentage of women in the Senate, House of Representatives and the appointees of the executives?
“We are looking for more; we want to at least strike a balance.
“The question will not be 50-50 for now but at least, let us get to somewhere that we can look back and say yes we are getting somewhere,’’ Shoda said.
She said that the council, in the last two years had done a lot to advance the cause of women; through empowerment programmes, sensitisation and advocacy visits to critical stakeholders.
“We have just changed our constitution to include women governors and presidents as automatic members of the Council.
“Things are changing and we have reached a stage where we need to strike a balance.
“We want to know what is really our quota in the Nigerian political arena, because in all countries, why they have affirmative action is to make things balanced.
“It doesn’t mean that women in these countries are weak,’’ Shoda said.
According to her, in national development, when you develop a woman, you develop a nation.
“We need to develop the women, not only in their professional areas, which they have excelled but then, you wonder what is delaying these women from also being greatly involved in politics.
“There are many women in rural areas who don’t know what the SDGs initiative is all about, so we are going to increase sensitisation campaign.
“We want to reach out to every woman, so that we can balance power, knowledge and what everybody has. This will ensure that Nigeria will be on a better pedestal,’’ she said.
Shoda said that the council would not relent in encouraging women to be involved in politics.
She urged women to be focused, to learn and contribute to the development of the society.