‘We need leadership’ — feminist group seeks to increase women’s participation in politics

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The Nala Feminist Collective (NalaFEM) says women need leadership and support to become more involved in politics and governance.

The call was made during the inaugural summit celebrating the organization’s first anniversary on Friday at the Sheraton in Abuja.

NalaFEM is a pan-African front of feminists whose mission is to foster, empower and mobilize women and girls from Africa and the Diaspora.

The organization’s board is made up of 17 women leaders under the age of 40 who are the youngest ministers, parliamentarians, activists and innovators across the globe.

Noting a lack of political will to bridge policy and implementation, Aya Chebbi, Founder and First African Union (AU) Youth Envoy, said the intention of the summit was to provide a space for advocacy, mentoring, solidarity and partnership.

She called on stakeholders to support young girls to participate in political activities, adding that there are gaps in the system that prevent young female activists from maximizing their potential.

Fatima Kyari Mohammed, AU Permanent Observer to the United Nations (UN), said there is recognition of the shortcomings by the AU, however, continued advocacy by young activists is the only solution.

“Everything you do should be based on the policies that exist. Now, where the opportunity exists, especially for civil societies, it is up to them to adopt these policies to ensure that they can implement and hold them, as much as possible, accountable. That’s the only way,” he said.

She advised against protests without a safeguard policy to avoid a “waste of energy”.

Contributing, Pauline Tallen, Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, said the ministry is currently filling policy gaps, building institutional capacity, promoting gender-equitable attitudes and providing quality services to ensure social justice for victims. of violence.

She applauded NalaFEM’s efforts to include women in nation building and assured the organization of ministry support.

Jaha Dukureh, board member and founder of Safe Hands for Girls, said the reason for the low participation of young girls in political leadership is due to a lack of mentorship.

She called on female political veterans to lead the way and create a path for young girls on the ground, adding that there can be no female succession without women involved.

Hailing the efforts of the collective, Beatrice Eyong, UN Women’s Representative in Nigeria, said intergenerational dialogue is a UN-supported effort.

“I am happy to see young women rising up to challenge the status quo. This shows that there is hope for Africa. Where we could not reach, we are assured that you will reach and know that the women of the UN stand firmly behind you,” she said.

Held under the theme “I am Nala”, the collective also launched a book bearing the same name as the theme – a compilation of seven stories by its council members, each chapter advocating for one of the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs).

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