The Senate president, Sen Bukola Saraki has disclosed that it would take Nigeria 135 years to close the gender gap between men and women adding that it would take 99 years to close the same gap globally.
He stated this in Abuja, Friday at the opening ceremony of a 2-day Regional conference on ‘Women Political Participation in West and Central Africa: Comparative Perspectives and Experiences Sharing’, organised by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
While calling for collective efforts to bridge the gap, he regretted that historically that women have been marginalised and are still sidelined in public sector appointments as well as general elective positions.
According to him, “All over the world, women have proven track-record of quality organisational skills and excelling in challenging positions be it the private sector or public service because their strength and tenacity in multi-tasking various roles in the family and professional careers give credence to this fact”.
The senate president was optimistic that increased participation of women in politics would have multiplier effects on development outcomes as it would ensure public policies that would improve the economic power of Nigeria and the country generally.
He emphasised that the 8th National Assembly is still considering the Gender Equality Bill stressing that under-representation of women in lawmaking process remains a sticking point.
Saraki who was represented by the former deputy governor of Ekiti state, Sen Abiodun Olujimi pointed out that the cumulative federal representation of women is still below 10 percent as against the recommended affirmative action benchmark of 35 percent.
Also speaking, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christopher Thornley advocated for more women participation in politics in Nigeria saying that women would help to create more prosperous society.
On her part, the British deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs Harrieth Thompson stated that there is 32 percent of women participation in UK Parliament noting that championing women/girls education is a priority for the UK government.
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