Nigerian Women Demand 30 Percent of Seats

Nigerian women’s rights activists are advocating for a strengthening of the nation’s constitution by ensuring that 30 percent of all administrative, elective, and appointive positions of the government are reserved for women. According to the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Champion, women’s groups want to change the language of “He” in the constitution to read “He/She” and “Him/Her.” Activists are also calling for a section of the constitution to include the importance of reproduction and the right of every pregnant woman to have unconditional access to pre and post natal health care services, reports the Daily Champion. L

ast week, the president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, advocated for a reform that would require all registered political parties in the country to ensure that 25 percent of their candidates are women. Obasanjo said that he thought it was unfair that there were only three women among the 109 elected senators in the country, according to This Day in Lagos.

While Obasanjo’s calls for reforms are seen as a positive step for women’s rights in Nigeria, women’s rights activists are angered that women were only 7 percent of the 400 delegates who attended the national political conference initiated by the President that took place this week in the capital of Abuja.

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BBC News 2/21/05; Daily Champion (Lagos) 2/18/05; This Day (Lagos) 2/15/05; Voice of America 2/21/05

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