The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Senator Uche Ekwunife has presented a bill in the Senate to make provisions for gender inclusiveness in composition of government.
The bill entitled, a bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to make provisions for gender inclusiveness in composition of government and for other related matters seeks to amend section 14 of Nigeria’s constitution to allow that, for the composition of Government of the Federation, State, Local Government council, Ministries or Agencies, there must be not less than 40% representation of each of the gender groups (male and female) in the composition of such government.
The bill which has gone through first reading and has been referred to the constitutional amendment committee of the Senate, identified the need to ensure that each gender is given the opportunity to have a significant representation in government.
It seeks to provide a legal compulsion for gender inclusiveness in government appointments. This will ensure that the talents and uniqueness of both genders are explored in government.
It is important to note that countries such as Rwanda which ranks high in terms of women inclusion in ministerial positions has constitutional provisions reserving 30% of seats for women in its bicameral legislature, while South Africa’s Municipal Structures Act of 1998 requires political parties to ensure that 50% of the candidates on the party list are women, however Senator Ekwunife’s bill seeks to ensure the equitable representation of all genders in government, a move supporters of the bill believe will promote gender parity which is a critical component of the sustainable development goals.