The United Nations (UN) Women has called for protection for women to enable them exercise their franchise before and during the 2023 General Elections.
Mr Peter Mancha, the Programme Manager, Women, Peace and Security (WPS) UN Women, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Gombe on Tuesday.
Mancha made the call on the sidelines of a one-day training for journalists in Gombe.
The training is under the three-year Programme on WPS in Nigeria (Phase II) being implemented in Gombe State by UN Women in partnership with the Government of Nigeria and funding support from the Norwegian Government.
”Women play critical roles in the electoral systems in the country, hence more protection for them would enable them exercise their rights during the elections.
”It is important for all stakeholders to put necessary measures in place to ensure peaceful conduct of elections for women to vote and be voted for during the 2023 elections.
“No election will be successful if women are excluded because they have the voting population and play major roles during election,” he said.
Mancha also called for more support to enable more women participation in the 2023 general elections, adding that women inclusion in politics and leadership positions remained critical to national development.
“When it comes to decision-making and strategic positions, there is a connection between women in governance and peace and security.
“When women are included in governance or elected, they are able to create a balance and ensure that the needs of men and women are considered,” he said.
The UN Women official said women in Nigeria have potential that could be harnessed to help solve the challenges bedeviling the country.
Mancha said mainstreaming gender in all sectors of life was key to achieving sustainable peace and development for the benefit of citizens, adding that there was a huge gap in terms of women representation in all sectors.
This, he said, is the gap the UN Women is working to bridge in the country.
Newsmen reports that no fewer than 40 journalists based in Gombe State were trained on how to use their platforms to promote women’s engagement in peace and security.
Newsmen reports that on March 15, UN officials gathered with government and civil society representatives to draw attention to the scourge of violence against women worldwide who are involved in politics, which is increasingly seeing women parliamentarians, human rights defenders and electoral observers silenced, and intimidated.
The event brought together Vice-Presidents, Government Ministers and senior officials from more than 20 UN Member States, some of whom spoke from personal experience about the barriers to running for office as a woman candidate.
Speaking at the event, the head of the UN Women, Ms Sima Bahous, said that violence silences women, renders them invisible, pushes them from public space.
This, Bahrous said, in turn directly hinders progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which aims to lift people out of poverty and create a more equal, sustainable world.
Bahous pointed to hate speech as one of the drivers used to discredit women in the public sphere and noted that such violence is particularly difficult on young women, who may respond by simply shunning political activism altogether.
“Only when women are safe from violence and there is accountability, only then, can we make progress.”
The UN women said today, women occupy only 26.1 per cent of parliamentary seats globally, compared to 13.1 per cent in 2000, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The share of women parliamentary speakers, in charge of managing day-to-day business in legislatures, has also increased from 8.3 per cent in 2005 to 24.7 per cent in 2021.
Also, the UN deputy chief noted that concrete action is needed to address violence against women and girls.
Violence against women active in political life, she said, is a form of gender-based violence that manifests physically, psychologically and sexually, both in-person and online.