Increasing Chances of Nigerian Women to Equal Opportunities
V4C’s investment in the Gender Technical Unit (GTU) and support to NCAA has started yielding results. The gender and equal opportunities (GEO) bill has passed through first reading. This was made possible by collaboration between GTU and NCAA supported by the V4C programme.
How did the Bill get through first reading?
The GTU staff sought for information about the bill within the National Assembly and discovered that Hon. Nkem Abonta was pushing for a similar bill, which seeks to give legal backing to the campaign for affirmative action. This information was shared with NCAA and V4C. NCAA chair, Oby Nwankwo, suggested a meeting with Hon. Abonta to see if he would take on sponsorship of the bill and help fast-track the process of passing it.
The meeting with Hon. Abonta, was facilitated by GTU and created an opportunity for NCAA chair to present a summary of the content of the GEO bill and a history of the process undertaken so far with the bill. The Honourable member was excited that there was a similar but more comprehensive bill than his. He agreed to sponsor and push the GEO bill alongside his. It was agreed that both bills will be consolidated after gazetting and second reading.
The knowledge that he is not alone in increasing women’s chances in equality opportunities prompted Hon. Abonta to list the bill for first reading. On Tuesday 23rd of September 2014, Hon. Abontas efforts yielded positive results – the GEO bill passed through first reading on the floor of National Assembly.
If passed, the GEO bill will eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in private and public spaces and affirms women’s rights to equal opportunities to realise their full potentials and provide protection to their bodily integrity and human dignity.
It is a direct response to concerns over delays in the domestication of the gender focused international treaties and conventions.