Women are urged to remain resolute and persistent in the pursuance of their inclusion in politics and civic life.

This is the view of interest groups following the under-representation of women in the 2023 election and most key appointive positions already made across board in the country.

They are worried about the under represention of women in the political space in the present dispensation despite the fact that Nigeria is signatory to International treaties which seek to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, CEDOW signed April 23, 1984 and ratified without reservation on June 13, 1985 is one of such laws meant to ensure fair chances for women in politics and civic participation.

In spite this law, many women still face all forms of discriminations in their efforts to ascend a higher level in life which place them in fear and disadvantage over their male counterparts.

These are especially in areas of gender stereotype, bias, education and discriminatory laws and policies.

The Chairperson League of Women Voters of Nigeria, Enugu State Chapter and Deputy Co-ordinator African Women Lawyers Association in the state, Mrs. Nnenna Anozie, said women were confronted with the fear of death, stigmatization, naming and shaming, cultural norms and practices because of the unfavorable political and civic terrain in the country.

Mrs. Anozie pointed out that Nigeria had failed to comply with treaties it signed to ensure women were free from all forms of discrimination.

The Deputy Co-ordinator African Women Lawyers Association in Enugu State described the 2023 election as an affront on the female folk, stating that Abia and lmo States had no female representatives while Enugu came down from four it had in the last dispensation to two and lost the deputy governor’s seat it had.

At the local government level, the legal practictioner expressed regret that only a female deputy chairperson emerged in the entire 17 local government area in the state.

This, she said, was not different from what had played out at the national level.

Mrs. Anozie, who envisaged greater work for her organization, however, advocated that more women should be appointed into key positions in the country as a way of progress.

The Chairperson League of Women Voters of Nigeria, Enugu State Chapter urged women to position themselves to building more capacity, strategising more as men do politically and get involved in political parties, contesting for key positions; as delegates and key nominations were made from such positions.

One of the two women who won the House of Assembly seats in Enugu State, Princess Obiajulu Ugwu, representing Enugu South Rural Constituency under the Labour party, explained that she was driven by passion since 2019 she first contested and lost as she continued engaging with her constituents, making an impact which made it easy to convince them during the last election.

Princess Ugwu called on women to lobby men and make them understand why more women should come into leadership and political space.

She equally called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to continue with their advocacy on government officials, faith based organizations, traditional rulers and other organizations that matter to find a way of ensuring women were included through the quota system just as in the case of Rwanda to increase the chances of women.

The role of the media in pursuing the success of women in politics and civic life is key according to the Chief Executive Officer, Women Radio 91.7, Ms Toun Okewale Sanaiya.

She said the media remained the most powerful tool in shaping perception and only the media could make the public perceive women more, by giving adequate media coverage, using more women as news sources, guests for analysis, and giving them prime time as their male counterparts.

Corroborating this view, the chairperson Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Enugu State, Comrade Ngozi Ngene, maintained that the media should be fair in ensuring accurate and balanced publicity for women who had made it.

This is to serve as an encouragement to others not to be afraid.

Comrade Ngene gave the assurance that NAWOJ would not relent in its advocacy and sensitization of women.

A development analyst, Dr. Andy Anarado, explained that women would be more confident to participate in politics and civic life when institutions in the country were made stronger than individuals to ensure justice for all.

Dr. Anarado called for more women to be allowed to come in through appointive positions and given key political office as a stepping stone to acquiring the capacity to contest elective positions.

This according to the development analyst, will go a long way in encouraging women to play active role in the development of the society and prepare them for the next level in the elective positions.

The UN women organization, in line with the 1995 Beijing Declaration on the 35% affirmative action, posits that women equal participation and leadership in political and public life are essential to achieving sustainable Development goals by 2030.

All the respondents are of the opinion that everyone in the society has a role to play in supporting this course for women for a better society.

This story is part of the African Women in Media (AWiM)/Luminate Young Women in Politics Media Project