It has been said that women’s political participation is involvement of women in the governance of the communities they belong to, whether through elective, appointive or merited positions. It is, however, imperative to have both quantity and quality in the women taking part in politics and governance.
Therefore, targeting women and getting them interested in politics and governance, it has been stated, would bring impactful and desired changes.
The move was restated recently with the inauguration of Female Lawyers for Sanwo-Olu for Governor (FEMLSO), an initiative of the Independent Campaign Group (ICG) for Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu for Governor of Lagos State. The platform was to get women involved in political participation.
FEMSLO is a group of women lawyers who gathered to express interest in politics and to drum support for Sanwo-Olu as the All Progressives Congress ((APC) governorship candidate for Lagos.
In his opening address, director of Legal, Independent Campaign Group (ICG), Lawal Pedro (SAN), stated that studies have revealed that increased women’s participation has resulted in bigger economic benefits, increased cooperation across party lines and more sustainable conflict resolution.
“However, women are hampered by some reasons to attain their political goals at the local and community level all the way to the highest levels of government. They are often underrepresented in leadership positions and left out in decision-making but never ignored as the electorate, as a result of some reasons,” Pedro said.
He identified some obstacles to the political participation of women, which, according to him, need to be addressed urgently. They include lack of public and social support, lack of political party support, entrenched traditional views, lack of confidence, and lack of financial means. Others were lack of capacity building, lack of access to technology, gender discrimination, division according to ethnic lines, and violence and intimidation.
“It is, therefore, important to raise women’s engagement in politics by raising their awareness of opportunities available, building confidence and skills. Political parties are essential vehicles that could enable women’s participation in politics and governance. With more women participation in governance, decisions made will reflect the collaborative inputs from all members of the community without any type of discrimination in particular which is called gender discrimination,” he said.
Director-general, ICG, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, described the support of the female lawyers for Sanwo-Olu as very essential at this time, as it was the first time female lawyers were coming to the campaign house to declare their support for the APC candidate.
He described the women as reputed and learned people in Nigeria, adding that their impact and effectiveness cannot be over-emphasised at this time.
Abimbola Oladugba, coordinator of Female Lawyers for Sanwo-Olu, during her remarks, described women as focused, result-oriented and coordinated. She stated that the female lawyers in Lagos were passionate about Sanwo-Olu and the general public in the state, noting that was what necessitated their action.
At the event, Dr. Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of the candidate, was decorated as the matron of the group.
In her remarks after her decoration, Mrs. Sanwo Olu expressed pleasure over the interest of professional women in politics, unlike what it used to be in the past when politics was described as dirty.
She said issues like traffic and transportation, health, environment, and the construction of an entertainment village would be tackled by Sanwo-Olu’s government.
Hon. Jumoke Okoya Thomas, APC women leader in Lagos State, who was also present at the event, advised people to participate fully in the coming elections.