Strengthening mechanisms that support gender responsive legislation
As the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEO) Bill is publicly heard on 9 December, V4C looks at the role of the Gender Technical Unit (GTU) in facilitating the progress of the Bill so far.
V4C Case Study:
The Gender Technical Unit (GTU) facilitated the passage of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the progression of the Gender and Equal Opportunity (GEO) Bill and has gained recognition as a facilitator of gender responsive legislative process at the National Assembly in Nigeria.
A critical aspect of creating an enabling environment for young girls and women in Nigeria are the presence of laws and policies that support girls and women’s empowerment (GEWE). For V4C, this has meant identifying potential legislature and finding ways to engage with the National Assembly – the main legislative body that governs the country – as effectively as possible in order for them to be enacted into law.
Rather than starting from scratch V4C revived the Gender Technical Unit (GTU) – an ‘in-house’ function set up within the National Assembly (NASS) with the remit to influence national legislative processes and engage with those already engaged in pursuing and contributing to gender-sensitive policies and laws. Prior to V4C’s engagement the GTU, which had originally been set up to work alongside civil society to boost their efforts to advocate for gender equality-related legislation, had a very low profile and was only known by a small number of stakeholders, thus minimising its impact.
Since re-launching in January 2014, the GTU has helped partners undertake a number of initiatives designed to enable the passage of the VAPP and move the GEO Bill to its current second reading stage. It has provided real-time monitoring of the processes; held meetings with NASS members to sensitise them on the issues and supported high-level delegations visiting NASS lawmakers and senior staff to solicit endorsement for the passage of the Bill. By acting as a facilitator, the GTU has built the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), NASS and development partners to understand each other better and work in partnership.
Following V4C’s investment, the GTU has been reinvigorated and now acts as vital bridge between all the key stakeholders involved in the passage of laws, including NASS staff, legislators, CSOs, and donors. As such, it has played a pivotal role in the passing of the VAPP Act in 2015 – seen as a watershed moment in Nigeria and commonly regarded as the most significant change affecting the legal framework for girls and women in the country. The GTU, along with others, is now turning its efforts towards the GEO Bill.