By Olasunkanmi Onifade
The Society for Empowerment and Self Reliance (SESER), on Thursday advocated structural changes in the political framework to increase women’s participation to foster economic growth and development.
The National Coordinator, Mrs Rose Effiong said this in a media briefing in Abuja in preparation towards the All African Women Summit (AAFWOS).
She said one of the aims of the summit was identifying the power of women in politics and decision making: institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women in governance and gender responsive policy making.
“Women’s political participation has been recognised internationally as an important measure of the status of women in any particular country.
“Hence, in recent years, women’s participation in politics and decision-making has received some attention across the world.
“However, women remain seriously underrepresented in decision-making positions, despite the fact that more than half percent of the world’s population are women,” Effiong said.
She said women lack access to political decision making as compared to their male counterparts at all levels of governance.
Effiong said politics is not only a demand for simple justice, but also a necessary pre-requisite for women’s interests to be taken into account in the political process.
She said poverty, access to financial resources and unemployment are some of the challenges that are still affects women in the country.
Effiong said the forthcoming summit was scheduled for July 26 to 28 would bring together world renowned speakers and women leaders playing important roles in the society in government, business, social sectors and peace making.
She said the theme of AAFWOS is tagged “The Power of Negotiation:The Role of African Women in Political Leadership, Economic Development and Peace Building.
Effiong said the summit would stimulate dialogue, feature rich structured panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and breakout sessions,
“The Summit will be a great platform to amplify the voice of African women towards a greater vision for Africa’s future.
“The summit will also contribute towards a paradigm shift in the society: viewing women as important change agents and increasing awareness about the importance of women’s economic inclusion and empowerment.
“It will offer inspiration, motivation, networking, synergy, and build opportunities,” she said.
Effiong said Francis Duru and Bimbo Akintola, Nollywood celebrities have been appointed to recommend key strategies to re-position women to aspire for leadership position at all levels .
He said they would also create a platform for networking and mentorship among African women who can stand as mediators in conflict and peace building.
“All African Women Summit which would be the largest women’s summit to convene leaders from different sector of the African economy, leadership, peace and conflict resolution management from around Africa and beyond, ” Effiong said.
She said the three day summit would feature discussions on political leadership, business development and Peace Building management, saying it includes leaders, entrepreneurs, and captains of industry.