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Conversation: From The Streets To The Parliament: There are cultural and religious hindrances to Northern women – Lawyer and SGBV Advocate, Hassana Maina

Hassana Maina, a Lawyer and sexual and gender-based violence advocate stated that while there are cultural and religious hindrances that Northern women have to deal with regarding entry into politics, at the same time, there are so many that are breaking these barriers and doing what they need to do to ensure women’s voices are heard.

She said this in response to the issues of inadequate female participation in politics especially in Northern Nigeria at a conference hosted by the Dinidari Foundation Africa in partnership with AIT and with support from the Heinrich Boll Stiftung tagged “From Streets to Parliament, Strengthening Women’s Political Power in Nigeria”

She further stated that patriarchy affects every woman, whether from the North or the South, and we all need to break free from these barriers.

The conference was graced by several women who are currently thriving in their careers, they were there to speak on the challenges faced by women, young and old in the politics and governance sector. A recurring theme from nearly all the speakers was that the time has long come for more adequate female representation in politics in Nigeria.

Former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih remarked on how more women need to be in the legislative houses as they will then be able to influence policies that allow more women to attain these positions of power and leadership. She also highlighted how political parties since inception have been male-dominated.

At the same conference, media representative, Oluchi B. Nwosu highlighted the efforts of the media in championing women’s voices. She also stated that more can and should be done.

Other panellists brought up salient points throughout the conference; Omolara Oriye, the Executive Director at TIERS, spoke on how women equality must be a part of any democratic system. Rinu Oduala, a focal part of the #EndSARS protests spoke on how women “don’t need to wait for permission and will bring their own mats and create seats for themselves”

The conference ended with a closing speech by the Managing Director, AIT, Dr Tosin Dokpesi. She reiterated AITs commitment to championing women’s voices.

You can rewatch the conference on YouTube:

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