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Nigeria claims gender equality days after Buhari gave women 16 percent ministerial slot

The federal government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, has reaffirmed its commitment to achieve gender equality in Nigeria.

This assurance came three days after President Muhammadu Buhari nominated only 7 women in his ministerial list which contained 43 names.

Buhari’s action has been condemned by over 150 Nigerian women groups, representing different regions, ethnicities, social and political allegiances and organizations for youths and persons with disabilities.

In a letter of protest to the Senate, the women expressed dismay and utter disappointment about the male dominated nominations.

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It read in part: “This list maintains and reinforces the historical exclusion of women in the country, ignores the youth and people living with disabilities and thus inhibits the critical goal of achieving meaningful, equitable and participatory national development.

“The list submitted by Mr. President reneges on the repeated campaign promises by his government and creates a crisis of confidence in the integrity of our elected political leadership.

But government insists it would continue to implement women-oriented policies, including the full declaration of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA).

Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu made the commitment at the Beijing +25 Inter-Generational Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.

The BPFA (Beijing Declaration) was adopted in 1995 with commitments to taking strategic and bold actions in 12 critical areas of concern.

The 12 critical areas include poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision making.

Others are institutional mechanisms, human rights, media, environment and the girl child.

NAN quoted Anagbogu as saying that BPFA “affirms that equality between women and men is a matter of human rights and condition for social justice.”

“It is also a necessary and fundmental prerequisite for equality, development and sustainable peace.

“The BPFA remains the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls; it set out on how to remove systematic barriers that hold women back from equality in both private and public spheres,” she said.

She stated that there had been tremendous progress toward achieving gender equality and the realisation of the rights of women and girls.

Anagbogu said some of the achievements include institutional arrangements, participation of women in public and political life.

Others integration of gender and social inclusion targets in economic policies, budgets and development frameworks, initiatives to partner with men and boys in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The official, however, listed challenges affecting the realisation of BPFA in Nigeria as gender stereotypes, social norms, cultural barriers and insufficient up-to-date gender disaggregated data.

Others are finding limitations, insecurity and non implementation and passage of some laws and policies, among others.

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