Throughout history, the central role of women in society has ensured the stability, progress, and long-term development of nations. It is on this note that this piece is anchored which is a plea for the inclusion of women in politics and the economy.
It is said that women make up over 48 percent of the total population of Nigeria but when it comes to the issue of politics and economy development the inclusion of women has not been given much thought. This is due to gender stereotype and marginalization giving men preference in politics and economy management than women. In spite of the introduction of the National Policy on Women in 2000 and National Gender Policy 2006, the number of women in politics and economic management and participation in leadership has not improved.
It is worthy of note that out of 109 senators in the National Assembly, we only have 7 women. Out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives we have only 22 women. There have been gross neglect and relegation of women to the background with loads of barriers to keep the status quo. We lose sight of the fact that while the men are out there trying their best to keep things running, the women have been playing the traditional role of educating the next generation, caring for the home, acting as administrators of the home as well as the financial regulator of the home. Over the years women have become dynamically good in these areas and if given the chance to handle the state of our national politics and economy they can do well or even better than their male counterparts.
Just to mention but a few names, Ngozi Okonji Iwuala the former Minister of Finance, Late Professor Dora Akunyili, former Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from 2001 to 2008. She was at the forefront of the fight against fake drugs and became the Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications from 2008 to 2010 because of her hard work. Akunyili, also won several awards both locally and internationally.
Diezani Alison Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum and others are women who have played exceptional roles in politics and economy. Okonji Iwuala served under President Goodluck Jonathan 2010-2015 likewise Alison Maduka. Okonji was able to provide a national economic plan, ensured transparency with financial management, increased national reserve under her administration, Nigeria was one of the fastest-growing economy in Africa just to list a few of her achievements although these did not come without challenges and oppositions.
She made it through in spite of the challenges likewise Alison who served as the Petroleum Minister, she ensured that the NNPC was not privatized, ensured transparency in the system, made sure that the revenue being generated from the NNPC was channeled into the nation’s account; our trade-in oil was on the boom and helped to stabilize the economy. Today these women are still being sought after by foreign institutions to maximize their potentials to move the world forward.
I believe that the government will achieve more and leave behind an outstanding legacy in the history of this great state if it can help remove the barriers limiting women participation in politics and economy in this state by appointing more women in the cabinet as well as create room for them to be elected into state assembly to be part of the decision-makers in the state.
Praying for wisdom and knowledge upon the government as it stairs the affairs of this state to her promise land even as I look forward to your positive reaction. Nkwocha Chibueze Prosper…is a Sociology student, Edwin Clark University, Kiagbodo, Delta State