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Gender gap: Only 40 out of 269 bills were sponsored by female senators of 9th Assembly

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This story has been updated

SINCE the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly on June 11, 2019, record shows that a total of 269 bills have been sponsored, 40 of which were attributed to eight female senators in the Senate.

The Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a capacity-building organisation, strengthening democratic governance in Nigeria and ‘OrderPaper,’ show this record from June 2019 to February 2020.

According to the record obtained by The ICIR,  five of the 31 bills passed by the Senate between June 11, 2019, and February 2020, were those sponsored by female members of the Senate.

Stella Oduah who represents Anambra North Senatorial District tops the list of female lawmakers who sponsored bills, with a total of 14 sponsored bills, three of which were passed into law, while Betty Apiafi, representing Rivers West, with a total of eight sponsored bills, had none of her proposed bill, passed into law.

 

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Uche Ekwunife representing Anambra Central, however, had to a total of six sponsored bill with one passed into law.

While Rose Oko of Cross Rivers North Senatorial District had none of her three bills scaled first reading, Oluremi Tinubu representing Lagos Central District, sponsored three bills with one passed into law.

A total of two sponsored bills each were attributed to Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti South Senatorial District; Akon Eyakenyi of Akwa-Ibom South Senatorial District and Aisha Dahiru of Adamawa Central District, respectively, with no trace of any, passed into law.

Unequal representation

Interestingly, the break down shows that the two leading female senators, Stella Oduah and Uche Ekwunife with the highest number of sponsored and passed bills, are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They are also both from Southeastern, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Also, the record shows that PDP has more representation of female senators with a total of six― three from the Southeast (Stella Oduah; Uche Ekwunife; Akon Eyakenyi), two from the Southsouth (Rose Oko; Betty Apiafi) and one from the Southwest (Abiodun Olujimi) respectively.

The All Progressives Party (APC), however, has two female representation in the senate from the Southwest (Oluremi Tinubu) and Northeast (Aishatu Ahmed) respectively.

The PDP has 75 per cent representation of female senators compared to the APC with 25 per cent in the ninth assembly.

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The break down also shows that about 84 per cent of bills passed were sponsored by male senators, and 16 per cent of the same were sponsored by female senators.

Male senators also dominated 85 per cent of the total sponsored bills, as compared to about 15 per cent of bills sponsored by their female counterparts.

Such disparity in the total number of bills sponsored and passed into law by the upper chamber of the national assembly shows that there is a need for an upsurge in women representation in politics.

The ICIR had reported that Nigerian women are yet to occupy 10 per cent of the country’s upper legislative arm of the government, and the participation of women in politics since the return of democracy in 1999 has not exceeded seven per cent.

Beyond politics, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its latest report, ‘Global Gender Gap’ noted that women participation has also regressed in economic participation, which pose a threat to attaining gender parity in one’s life down.

However, with this year’s commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) with a theme focused on equality, the Nigerian Senate has advocated for the amendment of the constitution to ensure women in Nigeria are given better opportunities to occupy desired positions in society.

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