Press Release by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund

Gender parity in appointive and elective positions is an indication of development in any nation. Previous administrations have received commendations for constituting an inclusive Federal Executive Council (FEC) that slightly fell short of the 35% minimum representation of women as enshrined in the National Gender Policy (2006).

Nigeria currently falls short of global and regional benchmarks like the Beijing Platform for Action and the Maputo Protocol to which the country is signatory with only 5.5% of women in parliament. This is a far cry from the 19% and 20% which is the average rate of female parliamentarians globally and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hence, the much awaited ministerial list came as a rude shock to Nigerian women and gender advocates considering the change mantra of the current administration and the support Nigerian women gave before, during and after the elections. With only three (3) albeit competent women out of twenty one (21) persons making the initial list of ministerial nominees at a mere 14.3%; it is evident that drastic measures are required to correct this anomaly.

This dismal index of Nigerian Women in appointive and elective positions necessitated concerned civil society organisations and other gender advocates to stridently advocate for gender parity and inclusion, a course the Nigerian Women Trust Fund primarily serves as a major protagonist.

We therefore urge President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, in his considerations for the selection of the subsequent ministers, to ensure that an additional ten (10) women make the list. This will bring the number of women in cabinet slightly at par with their male counterparts and by implication have met national, regional and international benchmarks for affirmative action. We also urge Mr. President to be mindful of other opportunities outside of cabinet in which competent, deserving Nigerian women can serve their country and make appointments accordingly. We have faith in our country Nigeria. We believe that Mr. President is a man of his word. We are therefore confident that Mr. President will do what is right and select more women from the pool of strong capable women leaders, which Nigeria has, in abundance.

While reaffirming total support for the President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR administration, we remain watchful, patient and hopeful that subsequent appointments would reflect gender equity and justice. We are confident that the next appointments will truly take Nigeria to its rightful place as a role model for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa.

The Nigerian Women Trust Fund
9th October, 2015.