ECOWAS - Economic Community of West African States

05/22/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/22/2018 09:20

EMPOWERMENT AND LEGISTLATION: KEYS TO GENDER INCLUSION IN POLITICS

The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Female Parliamentarians Association, Princess Stella Oduah has said that empowerment and legislation are key to ensuring women's participation in politics in West Africa.

Speaking at the launching of the ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework and Action Plan/ 1st ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) Regional Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on Monday, 21st May, 2018, Senator Oduah said that although some women in the sub-region have succeeded in politics, majority lack the necessary capacity to break the varied barriers that wedge women's participation in politics and inclusion in government.
Consequently, Princess Oduah, who represents the Anambra North Constituency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, called on ECOWAS Member States to promote and pass laws that deliberately aim at improving the plight of women, economically and politically, saying that 'legislation backed by implementation is the vehicle to creating an enabling environment for women to participate in politics and thrive'.

In her statement, the Royal Danish Ambassador to the African Union, Ambassador Mette Thygesen reiterated Denmark's commitment through its funding to ensure that women and men in West Africa enjoy equal opportunities saying that 'through women empowerment, we will create a more equal, just, peaceful and sustainable world'.

The Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne highlighted the need for Member States stakeholders to use the ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework and Action Plan as a resource for proactive engagement in national electoral processes.

Dr. Jagne similarly called on National Parliamentarians of ECOWAS Member States to develop their own Plan of Action for Gender-sensitive Parliaments following the best practice of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Action Plan 'as this will support parliaments' efforts to become more gender-sensitive institutions'.

The Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Moustapha Cissé Lo who presided over the ECOFEPA Workshop expressed delight at the efforts of ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians in ensuring participation of women in elections.

Hon. Lo pledged his commitment to help the women advocate for maximum gender inclusion in the ECOWAS electoral process.
The highlight of the occasion tagged 'Enhancing Women's Political Participation and Representation in Democracy and Governance in West Africa' was the launching of the ECOWAS Gender and Elections Strategic Framework and Action Plan by the second Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Aminata Tounkara who called on stakeholders to be sensitive to women issues.

The Workshop is holding on the sidelines of the 2018 1st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.