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"Break the Bias, please" Zainab Maina Discusses International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day 2022.
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Zainab Maina

Highlights

  • In the 2023 election cycle, we should demand at the very least the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and half of the candidates for all elected offices.
  • In politics and government, the female gender is marginalized and excluded. So, where is the gender parity?
  • It's past time for us, Nigerian women, to remind our male counterparts that they can't keep clapping with one hand and pretending to make a sound...
  • Members of the National Assembly's recent stance on the constitutional amendment process has sent a strong message to Nigerian women to rise up and organize.
  • Because politics is a numbers game, we must band together and use our collective might to demand a better deal.

On the occasion of the 2022 International Women's Day, IWD, Hajiya Zainab B Maina, FCIA, Con, former minister of women affairs and former national president NCWS-Nigeria, laments the continuing gender inequality, argues that female gender is marginalized and excluded in politics and governance, and calls for a holistic review to end the apparent marginalization of over half of the Nigerian population; the female folks.

Read the full text of her press release, which was sent to Periscope Global Publishers today, Tuesday, March 8, 2023...

I send warm felicitations to all women in Nigeria for being among the most hardworking, resourceful and resilient gender in the country. As mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters you carry a lot of burdens but keep faith in your role as the stronger gender.

This year’s theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” Unfortunately, in Nigeria today the female gender is marginalised and excluded in politics and governance. Where then is gender equality?

Without gender equality, there can be no sustainable tomorrow. As the stronger gender, we perform far higher natural roles that men can never perform. Yet, in politics and governance, we are excluded. Why?

This apparent marginalization of over half the Nigerian population most end.

Therefore, today, I cross my two hands across my heart to join other women all over the country to say “Please Break the Bias”.

Perhaps, it's time we the Nigerian women tell our male counterparts that they cannot continue clapping with one hand and deceive themselves that they are making a sound. Nation-building is a task that requires the contributions of all citizens regardless of their gender. To perpetually shut out a significant population of a country from political participation and governance processes is to deny the country full potential for a sustainable tomorrow.

Women suffer deprivations in many spheres of our national life, yet when we ask for equity, we are pushed back by entrenched patriarchy. We are not asking for equality because we want to take over the roles of our men, we are asking for gender equality because that is the only guarantee of a sustainable tomorrow.

Unfortunately, patriarchy has pinned us down as junior partners in a nation where equity demands equal participation in all spheres of life. The recent position taken by members of the National Assembly in the constitutional amendment process has sent a bold signal to Nigerian women to wake up and organise. We have a duty to rise and challenge the status quo. Since politics is a game of numbers, we must come together and use our superior numbers to demand a fairer deal.

The minimum we should demand in the 2023 election circle is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and half the candidates in all elective positions. For us, that is the only guarantee for a sustainable tomorrow. With our numbers, we can do it.

As I call on all Nigerian women to rise up to the challenge of ending the bias and enthroning equity in politics and governance, I challenge Nigerian men to see reason in ensuring equity and inclusion in our national life. This is indeed a task for all of us.

Happy International Women’s Day 2022.

Hajiya Zainab Maina, FCIA, FMR, CON was Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria, former National President NCWS-Nigeria. She lives at No 13, Albarak street, off Cairo Street off Adetokunbo Ademola Way Wuse II Abuja, Nigeria

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