Women in Rivers State have been charged to change their nonchalant attitudes towards politics as political participation is a civic duty of every citizen. They should boldly step into politics and begin to contribute to governance at all levels.
The charge was given during a training on gender based civic and citizenship education organized recently in Nonwa, Tai LGA for women of Rivers South East Senatorial
District, Rivers state.
The training was organized by Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) with support from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Nigeria, Abuja. It was aimed at exposing the women to their rights and responsibilities as responsible members of the society.
The training focused on gender roles, human rights and how to assert them, responsibilities of a citizen, governance and participation in governance among others. It was noted that the absence of women in key strategic areas of governance and decision making has negatively impacted on decisions that are churned out, especially the ones that affect women most.
According to Lady Doris Onyeneke, a renowned gender activist and women’s right defender who facilitated the training, it seeks to build the confidence of women and embolden them to begin to assert their rights, including right to political participation.
Lady Onyeneke lamented that women have, over the years, succumbed to the several
factors that have hindered their participation in politics and governance, such as cultural impediments, fear, poverty and patriarchy among others. “Women have practically abandoned politics and governance for only men. Their attitude to politics is poor and
worrisome. There is need for change and that is why the training is organized”, she told this publication.
She noted that women have been silent for a long time, she charged them to raise their voices and participate in the Community governance systems. She emphasized on
women’s ability to speak out, raise petitions and mobilize for agitations where necessary.
On his own part, Styvn Obodoekwe. Programme Director of the organization noted that the essence of the training was to empower the women with knowledge and embolden them to become active and civically engaged citizens. “We want the women to begin to carry out their civic duties as responsible citizens. They should also know their rights and
how to assert them”, said Obodoekwe Styvn. He stated that the gender roles assigned to women by the society they find themselves have actually contributed to the apathy of women towards politics and governance, adding hat with determination, the women can end the age long domination and marginalization of women by the male folk.
At the end of the training, the participants, who were women from different communities in the Rivers South East Bayelsa Senatorial district, thanked CEHRD for opening their eyes to the need and how to become active citizens., saying that the training came at a right time. They promised to start early to prepare for the next season of political contests in the state and pass the knowledge to other women in their areas who were not opportune to attend the training.