BAOBAB for Women’s Rights, on Monday called on the National Assembly to provide equal opportunities for women in the ongoing constitution review, to enable them realise their potential.
Miss Mma Odi, Executive Director of the group, made the call at a news conference on Gender Concerns in the 2012 Constitution Review in Abuja. Odi said that the call was necessary to guarantee equal rights to training and promotion for women without impediment from any quarter.
She said that the composition of the government of the federation should be carried out in a manner “that reflects federal character and gender balance. "Women shall be accorded full and equal dignity with their male counterparts, such rights include political, economic and social activities. "Laws, culture and tradition which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women which undermine their status, should be prohibited by the Constitution.
"The National Assembly shall as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact a legislation regulating the property right of spouses," she said. Odi said that special care should be accorded to mothers, during and after child-birth and that working mothers should be accorded paid leave. "Facilities should be provided in work and public places for the care of children below school-age."
Odi also called for a clear definition of what constituted discrimination against women in the ongoing constitution review, adding that non-discrimination must apply to all regardless of sex. In her remarks, Miss Anne Lawal, Senior Programme Office of the group, said that affirmative action of not less than 40 per cent should be reserved for women in all spheres of life.
Lawal noted that women should have right to affirmative action for the purpose of redressing the imbalances created by history, tradition and custom. "This is currently practised in countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa etc. Nigeria as the giant of Africa ought to set the pace while others follow."