The Kogi Government is to establish Gender Desks in Ministries, Parastatals and Extra-Ministerial Departments as part of measures to address gender imbalance in appointments.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Usman Jimoh announced this at a one-day forum in commemoration of Public Service Day 2014 in Lokoja on Tuesday.
“We have discovered that there is serious gender imbalance in terms of appointments to political, civil and other public offices and it is to the disadvantage of womenfolk,” Mr. Jimoh said.
He said of the 37 permanent secretaries in the state, only three, or 8.1 per cent, were women, adding that in line with the 35 per cent Affirmative Action, not less than 12 of them were expected to be women.
Mr. Jimoh urged women to use their population advantage, presence and competence to compete for positions rather than write-off themselves on the grounds that men would not allow them.
“The hand that nurtures every human being from cradle to maturity is a woman. This can be replicated in nation building, let the women help us to build this nation,” he said.
The President of the Kogi state chapter of the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), Fumilayo Olowosegun, said “the quietness” of women over serious gender matters was rather frustrating their cause.
Mrs. Olowosegun said appointments, although based on merit and qualification, should be gender sensitive, urging government to accord women special slots.
Christie Adejumo, who represented the state chapter of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) at the event, called for sustained enlightenment for women on their rights and awareness on steps to take in vying for positions.
Ms. Adejumo suggested that government should allot certain percentage for women in all available vacancies instead of making them to compete with men on equal terms.