It is becoming increasingly important to engage all stakeholders on the significance of the Women Policy Agenda and other Gender related policies/laws in the state. New Initiative for Social Development and Ekiti Women Advocacy Team haven engaged government at the state level saw the need to replicate the engagement at the local government. The Women Policy Agenda on the 35% affirmative action plan was a success considering the emergence of six women vice chairmen in Ekiti State and the chairman of the largest LGA Ado LGA also being a woman. There is then an urgent need to engage the leadership of women at that level to run with the women policy agenda and replicate same in their development agenda.
Details of the workshop:
The Gender Summit and Engagement was held at Delight Hotel and Suits, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, the one-day event was on 20th December, 2019, the program was organized by New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) with technical support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) and funded by UKaids and USAID.
The summit had 58 participants (females 38, males 20) in attendance, ranging from His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Gender Officer of Ekiti Sate Ministry of Women Affairs, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, National Council of Women Society, Representative of Ado Local Government Chairperson Elect, all the Six Female Vice Chairperson Elect, Female Councilors Elect, Members of Ekiti State Women Advocacy Team, Representatives from the Federation of International Female Lawyers Ekiti State, Representatives from Ekiti State House of Assembly Committee on Women, Women Leader of political parties in Ekiti State and the media personnel.
Objectives of the program:
The objective of the summit is to engage the newly elected LGA women chairperson and vice chairmen on the women policy agenda and the recently passed Gender Based Violence law 2019 and the equal opportunities law 2019, roles of stakeholders. The summit present NISD and EWAT the opportunity to engage the stakeholders on the successes recorded in the implementation of the WPA at the state level as well as the prospects for women contained therein the document. Also the summit will gather the commitments of the women group regarding the WPA through a clearly spelt out measurable action plans
Key Note Address:
The only key note address and paper presentation was delivered by His Excellency Ekiti State Deputy Governor Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi on the topic ‘strengthening women political participation and development in Ekiti State’. The Deputy Governors speech copy attached focused on the significance of women involvement in the political space. He applauds NISD for coming out with such a timely summit which will not only awake the consciousness of Ekiti women into registering their concerns in the sociopolitical space but also strengthen their sustained participation and development in Ekiti State. He said the Women Policy Agenda already contains the priorities of Ekiti women are being attended to by the government through series of social interventions, empowerment programs, multiple birth trust funds and free health scheme for aged women across the state.
In his words, a responsible and reasonable government will prioritize the needs of women and go further to institutionalize it. He enjoined the chairpersons elect and the vice chairpersons to ensure that the run with the vision, use the provisions of the GBV law 2019 and that of the Equal Opportunity Law 2013 to demand for their rights and that of the fellow women.
The presentation titled the Role of Stakeholders in the Implementation of Ekiti State Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law and Challenges was done vis-à-vis WPA by Bar. Rita Ilevbare: The presenter Bar. Rita Ilevbare is a gender advocate and a member of Ekiti Advocacy Team had her paper focused on the relationship the law has it with WPA and the need to adopt same at the local level. She said the women leaders are better positioned to serve as change agents. She confirms that this is the first time women in the state will occupy political space in their numbers, an opportunity which should be maximized. The vice chairmen promised to engage their leadership with the WPA and the GBV law 2019.
Presentation on Equal Opportunity Law 2013 vis-à-vis WPA by Bar Ebenezer Oluwaseyi: Bar. Oluwaseyi gave the principle of the equal opportunity law and focused on the provisions therein vis-à-vis the WPA. She linked some of the provisions of the law with the WPA as below: Quality and Affordable Health Care: Section 10: Measures to eliminate discrimination in the field of health care- all agencies, organ, bodies, authorities, public institution or private enterprise, families, communities or individuals shall ensure provision and access to appropriate services for pregnant women”, Commitment to 35% Affirmative Action Plan: Section 5: Measures to accelerate existing equal opportunities between men and women, Repair and Rehabilitation of Rural Roads and Provisions of portable and affordable water: Government: Section 11: Appropriate measures to prevent discrimination in economic and social life, Poverty Alleviation: Section 13: Rights to ensure roles of rural women in economic survival, Reduction of Gender Based Violence: Section 1: Prohibition of discriminations and inequalities generally, Section 4: Equal development and advancement for girls and women, Section 12: Prohibition of discrimination in marriage, Section 14: Rights of women in marriage and family relations, Section 16: Rights of women to seek divorce or annulment of marriage, Section 18: Rights to inherit parents’ and husband properties
Women Policy Agenda recommendations for Local Government Authorities
The following recommendations were made from the chairperson and vice chairpersons of the LGAs, which is aimed at improving the standard of primary healthcare facilities across state and local government by way of rehabilitation, re-equipping, recruitment and training of medical personnel, increase women participation in politics, increase women access to getting contract from the Government as a means of empowerment, increase the availability of farm inputs for women in agriculture, provision of social security scheme and the reduction of all forms of gender based violence through laws and policies reforms and implementation. The Women Policy Agenda was later presented to the chairpersons and vice chairpersons for adoption and replication at their local governments.
Commitments and Action Plans
The newly elected LGA leaders promised to take the WPA to their individual LGAs and develop an implementation plan. They promised to also adopt the WPA according to importance and considering the peculiarities of their LGA. They promised to invite NISD to their general meeting sometime in January 2020