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The International Press Centre (IPC) in Lagos, Nigeria aligns with the global community in advocating for increased female political representation at both national and subnational levels within Nigeria.

Reflecting on the United Nations theme for this year, “Invest in women—accelerate progress,” IPC emphasizes the importance of empowering and investing in women by promoting their active participation in political leadership and decision-making roles. This is seen as a crucial strategy to swiftly address the democratic challenges facing the nation.

IPC draws attention to the inadequate representation of women in political positions in Nigeria, despite constitutional provisions and international agreements advocating for their inclusion. Persistent systemic and societal barriers hinder women’s engagement in politics.

The concerning trend persisted during the 2023 elections in the country, resulting in adverse implications for women’s representation and impact within the government. Notably, the proportion of women in Nigeria’s National Assembly decreased by 19% compared to the previous assembly. Presently, women hold only 3% of Senate seats and 4% of seats in the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of the IPC, emphasized the importance of acknowledging the significant perspectives and contributions that women offer to governance in Nigerian society.

He noted that empowering women in politics not only promotes fairness and equality but also enhances the overall effectiveness and legitimacy of governmental institutions.

“Through concerted efforts to address these disparities, by dismantling barriers and fostering inclusivity in political arenas, Nigeria can pave the way for a more inclusive and representative democracy that truly reflects the voices and needs of all its citizens”, he stressed.

He also noted that IPC’s initiatives in the realm of democracy have significantly contributed to enhancing the media’s pivotal role as a primary influencer in elections. These efforts have focused on enhancing the capabilities of both the media and female candidates nationwide, empowering them to effectively leverage the media’s influence in promoting democracy. Notably, these endeavours have yielded commendable results, with some beneficiaries, particularly female lawmakers, successfully securing seats in the States House of Assembly during the 2023 Elections.

To mitigate the high attrition rates of women in elections, Mr. Arogundade emphasized the importance of key stakeholders advocating for gender-equitable policies, initiating voter education campaigns on gender equality, and addressing feminized poverty through economic equality initiatives.

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