Women groups launch campaign on 5 rejected gender bills 

The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Womanifesto, National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA), Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN), SAGE and Gender Mobile are set to launch an advocacy hashtag and signature campaign on the five rejected gender bills, Thursday. 

In a statement signed by Founder/Executive Director WARDC, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the campaign aims to address key gender gaps in the 1999 constitution to ensure adequate awareness of the deficiencies in the constitution and to draw the attention of lawmakers and the public to the need to have a representative constitution.

The five gender bills include Bill to Provide Special Seats for Women at National Assembly; Affirmative Action for Women in Political Party Administration – 35% of Executive Positions; Bill to Grant Citizenship to Foreign-born Husbands of a Nigerian Woman; Bill on Indigeneship, which would enable married women to have a choice on state of origin and  bill seeking inclusion of at least 10 percent affirmative action in favour of women in ministerial appointments.

Recall that in 2022, the 9th National Assembly threw out these bills, leading Womanifesto, a feminist non-political, women focused group with over 500 organisations across Nigeria, to protest against the National Assembly after the bills were rejected. 

The gender cluster group was formed after the rejection and has also continued with advocacy visits and media awareness on the bills and their impact on the Nigerian women.

“The United Nations has repeatedly emphasized that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a necessary foundation for a peaceful and prosperous society (UN Women). Yet here we are – half our population marginalized due to outdated laws and societal norms,” the statement said.

It noted that the overarching goal of this movement is to secure the passage of the gender bills through constitutional amendments by 2024, to foster women’s rights, while the campaign aims to ignite public discourse through the hashtags and signature campaign launch, targeting various stakeholders, including political leaders, legislators, women in politics, and the general public.