Why Do Women Need Moustaches To be heard?

On Thursday, November 10 2016 the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC hosted an interactive ACTION at COP22 to highlight institutionalized barriers to women’s participation in climate decision-making at household, community, institutional, national, regional and international levels.

Despite women’s disproportionate vulnerability to climate change, women are marginalized from climate decision-making bodies and generally do not hold positions of leadership or authority. Women and other civil society groups demand that governments and institutions ensure women’s full and equal participation in all levels of decision-making, and reach the goal of gender balance through targeted resources and capacity building efforts.

Women and other civil society organizations from around the world  are  also demanding that structures of power are transformed with participatory, rights-based decision-making processes for climate policy that are inclusive of all peoples, particularly women and men in frontline and Indigenous communities in

wgc3

the economic South and North. Women demand to be equally and fully engaged in all levels of climate change decision-making! We should not need moustaches to be heard!

 

wgc3
Women demonstrating at the action

5 Important Things to know In Engaging Women to Develop Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan

In march  2016, the Centre for 21st century issues on behalf of Educational Coperative society  facilitated   a two day workshop for the development of a 5 year Gender and social development Action plan for Itamapako Community in Ogun state of Nigeria. It was a participatory strategic planning event  aimed at engaging community women to lead in planning and addressing community basic needs that are not yet attended to. The specific objective of the workshop is to promote communal processes, which can help expand the active presence of women in concerted processes of development in Itamapako area of Ogun State.

It was a highly interactive workshop that saw the women take ownership of the process. About 36 women drawn from the 6 Communities that make up Itamapako participated in the workshop.  The women were passionate and eager to work in solidarity to move their community forward

The 5 important  things to know in the process of developing a Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan were brought to the fore during the workshop and they are;

  1. Engaging women as a groups on their own terms to identify community needs helps to bring out the real issues that requires urgent  intervention in the community-The women showed in-depth knowledge of their community, they profiled their community by giving detailed information of water sources, festivals , state of basic amenities, major economic activities, religion  and other information. They identified their needs and ranked them in order of importance.  Some of the key issues identified for urgent action are, revitalization of their abandoned market, access to portable water provision of public toilets in the community, provision of clean cook stoves and women’s human rights training for political empowerment.
  2. Women have informed opinion about community needs– The women gave articulate justification for all the issues identified. On the market issue they gave vivid account of how miscreants used to scare them away from the market by placing  fetish sacrifices at the centre of the market. They know it was the handy work of herbalist in the community supporting some groups who wants the market taken away from their community to another place.
  3. Women have the capacity to self organize and  negotiate for changes -It was interesting to see the Itamapako women provided practical solutions to all the challenges identified in the community. One of innovative strategy they came up with was to form a negotiating team made of women leaders to meet with the traditional rulers of the communities. They sighted instances of occasions where women leaders had taken up the challenge to meet with traditional rulers to speak with herbalist in the communities to stop preparing sacrifices that are placed at the market square. They were able to organize themselves to access seedlings to introduce plantain cultivation in the community.
  4. Women are ready to contribute to the development of their community-Each woman participating in the workshop made at least one  commitment to towards the successful implementation of the action plan developed. Some women volunteered to identify areas where public toilet can be situate, some volunteered to raise awareness about availability of adult literacy classes, some decided to team up with the community Development forum to monitor the repairs going on in the community  primary school, others joined the team that will clean up the market.
  5.   Women are interested in learning more about women’s right and gender mainstreaming for political empowerment In as much as the women expressed fears about  the perception and resistance from men about their political aspiration they still  voiced the need for a systemic women’s right training that will galvanize them to take appropriate step to attain political decision making positions in the community. According to them knowledge is power . They are of the opinion that their  inadequate knowledge about women’s rights issues is a stumbling block to articulating practical strategies to participate meaningfully in the political space.

    A key lesson learnt in the process is  that its  is of crucial importance to provide the space  for women to be able to voice their needs and be drivers of change that will transform their community.

All Eyes on Governor Ambode To Appoint More Women In Lagos State

The 2015 General Elections in Nigeria has come and gone but for women in Lagos State and indeed throughout Nigeria, it will go down in history as the election that almost obliterated whatever gains they have recorded in elective positions since the beginning of this current democratic dispensation in 1999.
Women who contested in Lagos State recorded significant losses which saw the number of women at the Lagos State House of Assembly shrunk to 4 from 7 in the last House of Assembly while the number of women from Lagos in the House of Representatives reduced to 1 from 3 in last National Assembly.
Despite the electoral losses, many women are still hopeful that the losses can be mitigated by having more women in appointive positions. This is more so in Lagos state where the newly elected Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode by his utterances and actions before and after the elections have committed to ensuring gender equality and particularly committing to having more women in governance.
According to Mr. Akiwunmi Ambode on February 5, 2015 during the Town Hall meeting held for Gubernatorial Candidates in Lagos State by women at Muson Centre in Lagos, he said,
“Iam more for women’s right and equality. While I was the Accountant-General, I had six women directors and two male directors. We wish to see sometimes soon, women governors and women speakers of the House of Assembly in Lagos state”
He further committed himself by saying that;
“My commitment towards women in everything I do is very personal. No girl would be denied good education. You can hold me accountable for every word that I have spoken,” (http://saharanewspost.com/2015/02/lagos-women-drill-ambode-agbaje-adeniji/)

The most auspicious time to hold the Governor accountable for every word that he has spoken is now, when he is set to appoint his cabinet and reconstitute the boards and agencies which he dissolved immediately he stepped into office as Governor.
It is very important to set the records straight and awaken the consciousness of the new Governor to the fact that history beckons on him to achieve parity for women in the governance of Lagos State.
Historical review of appointments into Lagos State Executive Council since year 1967 when Lagos State was created revealed that, women’s representation in the council has not exceeded 21% either Under military or democratic government. The situation under this current democratic dispensation is worse off as the highest so far recorded is 11% ( see figure 1, 2 and Table 1 below), a percentage way below 35% affirmative action stipulated under the Nigeria National Gender Policy (2006)

Figure 1-page-001Figure 2-page-001

The position of the Deputy Governor remains the only position where women have had higher representation than men. Between 1979 and 2015, Lagos has had 6 female Deputy Governors compared to 3 male Deputy Governors (table 2)

TABLE 1-page-001

Figure 1-page-001Figure 2-page-001

In over 4 decades of the existence of Lagos State, men have been 14 times opportune to get appointed into Lagos State Executive Council than women. This is indeed a poor showing from a State acknowledged as the role model of good governance in Nigeria. It is unjust to say the least, that despite the active participation of Lagos women in politics, especially the women traders who are noted for their political mobilization and massive voting during elections, they hardly ever win elections or are given appointments in government.

Over the years, Lagos no doubt has shown considerable political will in the quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The predecessors of Governor Ambode; Governors, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola has helped to set the ball rolling by enacting and adopting gender sensitive Laws and policies such as, Child

<img src=”https://c21stnigeria.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/table-2-page-001.jpg?w=300″ alt=”TABLE 2-page-001″ width=”300″ height=”124″ class=”align TABLE 2-page-001left size-medium wp-image-386″ />

rights Law, Paternity leave, Domestic Violence Law and gender Policy. It is time to deepen the engagement and raise the bar on behalf of women by achieving parity for women in appointive positions in Lagos State.

It will be naïve to think that securing more appointive positions for women in Lagos State under the new administration of Governor Ambode will be automatic. It will definitely take a lot of lobbying and advocacy. Women have braced up for the challenge. Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) has been in the forefront of the advocacy for more women in Lagos State and have taken up the challenge.
.
Before the elections, LASGAT prepared the Gender and Social Inclusion Charter for candidates contesting elections in Lagos State to endorse. The charter brings to the fore the desires and voices of Lagos women, youths, people with disabilities, marginalized and socially vulnerable communities to the centre of political discourse. The charter made 7 demands referred to as” 7 Point Development Asks” by which government will be held accountable and responsive to gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusion in Lagos state. The 5th Development ‘Asks’ in the charter calls on Lagos State government to demonstrate Political will to Gender equality and inclusive governance by establishing a system of gender mainstreaming which incorporates 35% of women in all sectors of government (https://c21stnigeria.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/gender-equality-and-social-inclusion-charter-for-lagos-state/).

A few female candidates in Lagos State endorsed the Charter at an interactive forum organized by LASGAT for female Candidates contesting in Lagos state before the elections. After, the elections, LASGAT had a consultative meeting with elected female members of the Lagos State House of Assembly to strategize for the implementation of the Charter.

To show the commitment of LASGAT in supporting the appointment of more women, a list of credible, qualified and competent women who can be appointed into various appointive positions in Lagos State was complied and the list was sent to the Governor for his attention. This was done to foreclose any excuse that qualified women are not available or that women are not interested in serving the State. It is expected that the Governor will act on this list.

Judging by the recent appointment of 10 women permanent secretary out of the 19 newly appointed permanent secretaries in Lagos State, it appeared that Governor Ambode has began to make good his promises to Lagos women and he is set to redress the injustice of the past by appointing more women into Lagos State Executive Council and Boards of Parastatals and Agencies.
The appointment of more women permanent secretaries is welcomed and celebrated but efforts to see that more women are appointed into the Lagos State Executive Council and Boards of Agencies must be intensified until it is achieved. Afterwards, advocacy efforts to put pressure on the government to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Law wherein 35% of all appointments in Lagos state is reserved for women should proceed. The Governor should know from the outset that appointment of more women is not to be a one off thing. His vision of seeing women attaining the position of Governor and Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly can only materialize if it is recognized in a written Law.

Need it be emphasized that participation of women and men in politics is very essential to ensure that their rights and issues are addressed within the framework of governance. Significantly, increasing the representation of women in politics and governance provides the avenue through which they can change discriminatory Laws, policies, programs and practices that affect them.

Consequently, Governor, Ambodes must not shy away from exercising his power as the executive Governor of Lagos State in favour of women. He is better placed now than ever to redress the historical marginalization of women in appointive positions. He must stand with the women of Lagos and live up to his electoral promises. All eyes are on him to make it right for women.

By
Ms Gbemisola Titilope Ngozi Akosa
Executive Director
Centre for 21st century Issues
.

LASGAT Decries Poor Women’s Representation in Elective Positions

PRESS RELEASE BY LAGOS STATE GENDER ADVOCACY TEAM (LASGAT)

The Lagos State Gender and Advocacy Team (LASGAT), congratulates all candidates who contested and won in the just concluded 2015 general elections. LASGAT particularly congratulate all women who won elections into elective positions nationwide.

We are however  deeply concerned that the outcomes of the 2015 elections has produced less than 10% of women in elective positions nationwide resulting in a marked reversal in women’s representation in elective position compared to past years. This situation no doubt is discouraging and could lead to the further marginalization of women in politics and public life in future.

Nevertheless, LASGAT still believes that the low representation of women in elective positions can be addressed by giving women the opportunity to serve in appointive positions in government.

LASGAT hereby ,calls on the federal and states government to increase the representation of women in appointive positions by ensuring that women occupy  nothing less than 50% of all appointive positions in Nigeria.

LASGAT has a list of qualified women in all spheres of human endeavour who can be appointed to serve the country. LASGAT is ready to work with the Federal and States Government to recommend credible and qualified women for appointive positions.

Meanwhile, we call on all successful candidates   to leverage on the opportunities provided by their victory at the 2015 polls to pursue requisite measures to mainstream gender equality and promote women’s empowerment in all their undertakings as representatives of the people.

Dr Keziah Awosika                                  Ms Titilope Akosa

Chairperson LASGAT                             Coordinator LASGAT

.

Call To Adopt Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter

Engagement with Female candidates
Engagement with Female candidates

25th March, 2015

Press Release: Lagos

 

 

Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) Calls On Female  Candidates Contesting 2015 Elections  in Lagos State To Adopt The Gender Equality and  Social Inclusion Charter

The Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT), formally presented a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter signed and adopted by willing female candidates vying for elective positions in the 2015 General Elections in Lagos. The pact, which was signed on Tuesday, 17th March, by some female candidates of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People Democratic Party (PDP), is still open for adoption by more female candidates.

LASGAT, an ensemble of organizations and individuals working for gender equality, women’s empowerment and social inclusion, therefore, calls on the electorate to use the opportunities provided by the 2015 general elections to vote for candidates with demonstrable capacity for improving the lives and status of women, children, people living with disabilities, the youth, marginalized and   socially vulnerable communities in Lagos state.

Meanwhile, LASGAT will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to promote peace in the course of the 2015 elections, while engaging the candidates to ensure their compliance with agreement reached on its 7 Asks.  LASGAT expects that a viable collaboration on gender mainstreaming and inclusive participation will facilitate the enactment of the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill and increase women’s participation in politics from less than 10 percent to at least 35%.

As the nation slowly approaches the May 29 swearing-in of elected government at the federal and state levels, LASGAT asks that all elected candidates in Lagos State, commit to; (i) the implementation of the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025; (ii) inclusive education; (iii) investment in women and youth empowerment and livelihoods (iv) affordable health care services and social security; (v) gender equality and inclusive governance; (vi) providing basic amenities and infrastructural development, and, (vii) protecting and strengthening the enforcement of basic rights

Overall, the components of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter of LASGAT are desirable not only to gain the confidence of the people but also to ensure the integrity of the governance system in Lagos state. Knowing the Charter will undoubtedly speed up women’s active involvement and meaningful participation in building a Lagos for all, we look forward to a viable engagement with all elected officials on the cross-cutting issues of gender.

Signed

Dr Keziah Awosika                                        Ms Titilope Akosa

Chairperson LASGAT                                     Cordinator LASGAT