Lois Auta, the President of Network of Women with Disabilities, said the percentage level of participation of women with disabilities in politics is at alarmingly zero level.
She made the assertion while calling for support to encourage women with disabilities inclusion in politics at the international conference on women in governance organized by the National institute for legislative and democratic studies.
Lois Auta said women with disabilities have right to participate in political space as a person with disability.
She said there are laws that grant women with disabilities right to vote and be voted for, however, some factors are responsible for their low level of participation in politics.
“In 2019, I contested for house of representative here in the FCT and I was told to go to my state of indigeneship, Kaduna State. In 2022, I ran for the same position in Kaduna State and I was told “you are married to Akwa-ibom, why are you here?” My husband is from Akwa-ibom, so you could see the diversity, factors affecting women. We are triple jeopardized, first as a woman, secondly as woman with disability, lastly the barrier that affects us from participating. It is either infrastructural barrier, institutional barrier, or attitudinal barrier.
“They are major factors. Ethnicity, religion, inadequate funding and the rest. We have the right to participate in political office. We want a Senior Special Adviser (SSA) on disability matters and it has to be a woman with disability.
“Mrs speaker, please we also want SSA with disability. It’s important. We are not appealing, it is our right and we want that to happen.
“We want an appointment in government, and it should start from the office of the Senate President by appointing a woman with disability in his high-level office, the same goes for office of the speaker”, She said.
Speaking at the conference, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, said sometimes men should consider stepping aside to enable women take front row seats in politics.
The senate president said the number of women in the upper legislative chamber is not encouraging.
“Despite my desire to see more women elected to the national assembly as senators and representatives, I still feel that it is easier to get more women into appointive offices than into elective positions in our current political space,” he said.
“This is because the dynamics are different.
“This is why we must collectively push for a bargain with the male folk to sometimes step aside for women to engage in the political process.
“For me, the number of women in the 10th senate is not encouraging and must be deliberately improved upon moving forward.
“There is the need, also, to raise awareness and challenge gender stereotypes by conducting public awareness campaigns to challenge gender stereotypes and promote the value of gender equality in governance.
“This is something this institute should do alongside fostering the development of supportive networks and alliances with women’s organisations, civil society groups and political activists to build solidarity and support for women in politics.”
Akpabio said there is a need for collaborative efforts to change the narrative by encouraging more women to get involved in politics