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Saturday, 10 March 2018

2019: UK pledges support for female candidates

2019: UK pledges support for female candidates

British Government

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the United Kingdom has promised to support women to run for political office.

This is according to a report compiled by the British government as part of an event to commemorate International Women’s Day in Abuja on Thursday.

The report noted that there is a low level of women participation in the democratic process as only eight out of 109 senators are women while only 19 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives are women.

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Women also occupy only 59 of the over 900 seats in the 36 state assemblies of the federation while there is no female governor.

It read in part, “UK Aid will support federal and state governments to be more effective, transparent and accountable to their citizens, including through support to the 2019 elections and empowering women to be involved.”

The UK stressed the need for a review of some laws in Nigeria which promote discriminatory practices against women.

It noted that Nigeria needed to do more to improve the situation of women as the country currently ranked 125 out of 145 countries in the 2015 Global Gender Gap Index.

The report read in part, “Nigerian law is infused with discriminatory practices against women, including an implied legal backing to the assault of a wife and a lack of legal recognition for rape within marriage.”

The British government said women empowerment was the key to curbing poverty, disease and other social maladies.

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The report added, “Evidence proves that if all women went to secondary school, then infant mortality would be cut in half and three million young lives saved every year. About 12 million children would not have their growth stunted by malnutrition. The tragedy of child marriage would become less common.”

It said gender-based violence transcended religion, tribe and ethnicity with physical and sexual abuse affecting as many as 35.1 per cent of Igbo women and 34.3 per cent of Hausa/Fulani women.

The British government noted that at least 20 million girls and women had undergone genital mutilation, which represents 10 per cent of the global total.

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