Chairman, Access Bank Plc, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika, has called for the active participation of women in political leadership in other to move the nation forward.
Awosika made the call at the Vanguard International Women’s Day Conference held on Thursday at Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos with the theme “Walking The Talk: Towards a Gender Balanced Polity – The Time is Now.”
According to her, leaving behind 50 percent of women who constitute the population of the country would translate to insignificant progress and development of the nation.
“It is illogical to neglect women in decision making when they represent about 50 per cent of the population.
“At the moment, women represent about 49.3 per cent of the Nigerian population. Will anyone say that is not a significant figure?
“Neglecting such number of your population in decision making will be at your own detriment because the level of progress will be very slow.
“What it means is that you have decided that this nation will not move forward. We, therefore, need a redistributive agenda which will help in leading to socio-economic development,” she said
Awosika noted that as the next general election approaches in February 2023, Nigeria cannot afford to leave Women behind.
She said getting women into positions of political leadership should be prioritized and treated with urgency.
The Access Bank chairman said that women are more positioned to lead than men, they just need to overcome biases against them.
“Women just need to overcome the systemic and cultural bias against them. They need to rise above that mental blockage and break through the glass ceiling. ”
“However, women will continue to face outrageous financial and social costs when they aspire to run for public office or succeed in obtaining leadership positions.
“You and I need to start the process. We understand the Bias. We also understand gender inequality and the drivers,” she said.
Similarly, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons said women in politics could change the nature of power and politics by bringing more accountable, collaborative, and transparent political practices.
Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim noted that working across party lines in parliamentary women’s caucuses and championing issues of gender equality like ending Gender-Based Violence, childcare, pensions, gender-equality laws and electoral reform are some of the ways women demonstrate political leadership in politics today.