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As part of Dinidari Foundation’s work in advancing equal opportunity for women, girls and youths and empowering them to use their voices as well as play an active role in democratic process with various projects which have advocated for inclusive political participation of women and girls and been an active voice in defense of the civic space. We announce our recent partnership with Heinrich Boll Stiftung, with a common goal of engaging Female activists and politicians of different generations in a public dialogue/ debate that will unpacks ways and strategies to strengthen women’s political power and participation in Nigeria for the promotion of a society based on social justice and gender equality.

Nigeria is yet to consolidate a culture of active citizenship in governance and equal opportunity between genders to participate in the democratic process. This is marked by regular crackdowns on female and male social critics, bloggers, activists and peaceful protesters challenging impunity, corruption and human rights abuses. But also by restrictive legislation, including the NGO Regulatory Bill, the Protection from Internet Falsehood Bill, the Hate Speech Bill, the Same Sex Marriage Act, and a constitutional and legal framework more generally that discriminates against women.

Throughout Nigeria’s history women have been fighting for a world with gender equality, freedom and free from oppression. Continually marginalized in government power structures – with a few notable exceptions – they have played a crucial role in Nigeria’s civic space and efforts for increased political accountability from the streets. Examples range from the Aba Women’s Revolt during colonial rule to the recent #EndSARS protests where young women and women-led organization’s played a crucial role in sustaining the peaceful protests.

All of this raises important questions about how to build a democracy in Nigeria that guarantees that political and decision-making processes are free from repression, are inclusive and enable all citizens to participate in an informed and autonomous manner towards building a society based on the principles of social justice and gender equality. Specifically, what is the impact and legacy of the leadership role women have played in the recent #EndSARS protests and civic space more generally? How could the leadership role women provide in the civic (and business) space be translated into more political capital? What are the opportunities and limits in increasing the representation of women in formal party politics and government structures to affect change in the current environment? What other avenues do exist to broaden the political space and increase women’s political power and influence? How is all of this threatened by attempts to shrink the civic space, and how are women impacted by this trend in particular?

To discuss these and other related questions, Dinidari Foundation will host a conference that will bring together notable and relevant women voices from the older and younger generations. Specifically, speakers and discussants at the conference will include young women that played an important role in the recent #EndSARS protests like Rinu Oduala and women that have been able to entrench themselves in the party political landscape like Oby Ezekwesili, among others.

The conference will be hosted live on African Independent Television (AIT) before a small live studio audience; will be streamed live via Zoom and Facebook and allow for direct interaction. At the end of the conference, a communique will be produced and published in a major national daily newspaper, published on Dinidari Foundation’s website, published on the AIT website and published across all social media platforms.

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