The administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai has been rated best in gender equity and social inclusion in northern Nigeria and second in the country (after Lagos) premised on policies and laws that promote equity, inclusion and equal opportunity for all.
The rating was revealed during a two-day consultative meeting and capacity building workshop organised by Women Connect Initiative (WCI) and the Gender Policy Unit of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with support from RiseUp.
Presenting the research finding at the meeting in Zaria, a RiseUp Fellow, Timothy Elisha, noted that Kaduna is the most sensitive state in terms of its distribution of resources and opportunities across the different sectors adding that ‘women in the state are better positioned to achieve their potentials under the current administration.’
According to him, before now, Kaduna State had a long history of poor female representation both at elective and appointive positions across the three arms of government.
‘From our study, the state has had less than 16 women representation into elective positions within the last 20 years and this record has been the best in the entire region.
‘However, since the swearing-in of Governor El-Rufai’s government, women have been adequately represented in appointive positions across diverse sectors in the state making Kaduna State the second-best after Lagos State,’ he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, a senior lecturer with the Department of Local Government and Policy Development ABU, Zaria, Prof Muhammad Kabir Isa, urged the state government to sustain the current achievements through the review of the Kaduna State Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (KADGESI) policy.
‘Indeed, Kaduna State is the only state in northern Nigeria with a gender equity and social inclusion policy. This makes the governor the most gender-friendly governor in our region.
‘To consolidate the gains of this government in terms of gender equity, there is an urgent need to review the GESI policy to cater for new challenges debilitating women’s participation in politics, health and education in the state,’ he suggested.
On her part, the Coordinator of Gender Policy Unit, ABU, Zaria, Prof Eugenia Akpa, commended the Kaduna State government for putting relevant policy structures and laws to create equal opportunities for both men and women in the state saying, the state within the next eight to ten years would begin to reap the benefits of empowering women.
‘Kaduna needs to strengthen its GESI policy by reviewing the key strategic areas of the policy. Within the next 8 to 10 years, Kaduna women are projected to occupy at least 25% elective positions in governance while also leading the health and education sector,’ she noted.
Program Director of Women Connect Initiative (WCI), Hajiya Murjanatu Suleiman-Shika, called on civil society organizations to join hands with the State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development to commit resources to review the GESI policy.
‘One of the best ways to ensure that women continue to enjoy recognition in government is for Kaduna CS to work with government to develop better policies where they are lacking and to support government efforts in making Kaduna great,’ she added
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