United Nations Women and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday launched a programme guide to prevent violence against women in the 2019 general elections.
The launch which was organised by UN Women and UNDP took place in Abuja.
Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the launch included 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls.
Lamptey said that after the political party primaries, it was a disappointment that women would be under-represented in politics, with increasing number of violence against them.
According to her, violence against women was not only physical; it also include harassment and intimidation, which are not limited to Nigeria.
“We know that in the South region, women participation in politics is among the best, we are still trying in West Africa in particular to make significant number of women participation in politics.
“I think in the West Africa sub region, women participation in politicis is about 40 percent; in the whole of Africa region is about 23 percent and the country with the highest representation in the world is Rwanda.
“Which is also an Africa country.So, we need to get to the bottom of why we are not able to get more women into political positions in West Africa.
“We are also dealing with issues of violence against women, who dare to go into politics, with women under represented,” he said.
Lamptey said that the UN had picked the right time for the Orange campaign against violence affecting women particularly in elections.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Abubakar, in her remarks, said that the 16 days activism to end Gender-Based violence campaign was observed globally every year.
She said that the theme for this year’s campaign was “Hear Me Too” which aimed to amplify the voices of women and girls from all walks of life, to be heard and protected from all forms of violence.
Abubakar, who was represented by Mrs Victoria Lar, Head of Women Rights in the ministry, said that the ministry was collaborating with UN, UNFPA and UNICEF to eradicate gender-based violence in Nigeria.
“The violence or threat of violence that women and girls face is a consistent thread, ranging from domestic violence, traditional harmful practices and fear of standing for elected office.
“Sexual harassment of girls and young women, among others, with consequences that constrain women autonomy, statistics indicate that one in three of all women and girls aged 15-24 years has been victim of violence.”
She said that the ministry would continue to work with relevant institutions to mitigate gender-based violence in elections.