INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022: BREAKING THE BIAS
I join millions around the world to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) which is celebrated every year on March 8, today. This day provides the opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of our women, in addition to calling for action to be taken in the direction of accelerating legislation that will entrench women’s rights by policy makers.
This day also provides a time to self-reflect and collectively reflect on how far we have gone in empowering women to sidestep and scale all the hurdles society has placed before them, be it external or internal, real or imaginary.
This year’s theme, “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow,” focuses on creating a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, while creating gender equality where we work, live or play.
In Nigeria, although the attempt to have appropriate legislation through the Gender Equality Bill suffered a temporary setback at the Senate, it is my sincere belief and that of many that, the bill will be revisited with a little more push from stakeholders, so it can become law.
In our national clime, available statistics reveal that out of the 109 Senators in the National Assembly, only 9 are women, while only 27 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives are women. This picture clearly depicts a lopsided membership of the Assembly in favor of the men. Women are still under-represented in legislative and executive arms of government. This is regardless of the fact that a National Gender Policy has been in existence since 2006 to promote a 35 percent affirmative action for women – a policy that demands 35 percent involvement of women in all governance processes.
As the world celebrates our women today, I pledge to continue to challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination and bias in whatever form and wherever it may occur, with the hope that together we all can #BreakTheBias.
H.E Mr. Efiok Cobham
Calabar, Cross River State.
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