… Says Give Women Level Playing Field In Politics
By Chinelo Chikelu
President of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), Senator Stella Oduah says the association is set to build a leadership training center for women in the region.
The center to be situated in Abuja, Nigeria, will educate women on leadership skills, “a requirement for emerging women leaders,” Oduah adds, who spoke at the Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
She highlights the participation of West African women in politics as very low, saying women are capable of contesting and holding political office in the sub-region. She urged women not to play the second fiddle but participate in politics to develop Africa.
Oduah says women make up 60 per cent of the region’s population, a number cautions should not be disregarded if west Africa is to attain its intended developmental strides.
She continues, “Involvement of women in both elective and selective offices is cardinal to the goals of ECOFEPA.” ECOFEPA, she states, is collaborating with other international agencies to anchor national and community development of women.
However, Sen. Oduah also called for gender parity and a level playing ground for women in politics, arguing that women should be voted because they are the right candidates for the job not because of her gender. “Women are saying give us equal opportunity, give us equal right; we want gender parity. Until this is done, West Africa remains a long way to the development it so desires,” says Oduah.
The lawmaker who runs a women empowerment programme in her constituency, which has trained over 1000 locals, largely women, concludes that the region must consider and recognize the important role women play in the family and a nation through the provision of the enabling required they deserve.
She therefore charged parliamentarians male and female to be advocates of women participation in their respective countries.