The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has noted with displeasure the recent rejection of the Gender Equality Bill by the Senate.
It is further disheartening to note that this is the third time that the Nigerian National Assembly would be rejecting similar bills seeking equity for women.
The senators who led the debate for the rejection of the bill had cited constitutional and religious violations for rejecting the bill.
In view of the many advantages of this bill, It is the position of NAWOJ that the relevant sections of the constitution be amended to allow for the bill to be passed.
If the constitution could be amended to accommodate political issues, then the 8th National Assembly can amend the constitution to accommodate women who are their mothers, their sisters and their daughters.
NAWOJ wishes to commend the sponsor of the Bill, Sen. Biodun Olujimi for being a worthy representative of the women in Nigeria:
we also commend all other women and the very few men who supported the bill, even though they were in the minority.
The association particularly thanked the Senate Pesident, Bukola Saraki, who was visibly in support of the bill.
NAWOJ thanks you for the window of opportunity which you have given for the bill to be reintroduced.
However, we urge you to use your good office to lobby your colleagues on the importance of this bill.
All women groups should be actively involved in sensitizing Nigerians especially lawmakers to the importance of this bill.
On this note, NAWOJ pledges to use all women journalists and our male colleagues to drive the sensitization process through the media.
The Gender Equality Bill is not a battle of the sexes: it is not a bill that removes the submissiveness of women to their husbands: it is not a bill that seeks to erode the responsibility of the woman in her home: it only seeks to give the woman more opportunity to assist herself and the man in the home: it is a bill that benefits the man even more than the woman.
Men need to step up and act in support of gender equity. This is not a battle of the sexes but a struggle to ensure that both sexes have access to quality life.
Progress and development will be limited if we fail to recognise that there is an urgent need for women to be empowered.