This year, the theme for International Women’s day – March 8 2013, is Gender Agenda – Gaining Momentum. It is an opportunity to take stock of gains for women and girls and look towards opportunities for improvement, because there is always room for improvement.
Nigeria has made gains in terms of the political participation of women and their inclusion in government through elections and appointments. This is vital to ensure balanced policy and policy implementation which reflects the aspirations and needs of half of the population. Since 1960 when we had just one woman out of 36 in the Senate and no women in the House, we have moved to 7% representation of women in the National Assembly. While disappointingly low by African average of 19% representation, at the Federal Executive Council Mr. President has constituted a cabinet that has come closest to meeting the recommendation of the National Gender Policy 2006 for at least 35% representation.