The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill has been a subject of heated discussion since it was thrown out of the National Assembly on the 15th of March, 2016. There have been agitations that the bill should be re-introduced on the floor of the house. However, not many people know what the bill is about and what it purports to achieve. A lot of people have differences of opinion on why the bill should or should not be passed into law without having ever read or known its provisions.
Here are a few things, the bill proposes:
1. A minimum of 35% of all offices, positions, facilities or appointments should be reserved for women in both the private and public sector and the promotion of equality in all circumstances.
2. It made the following proposals for widows-
• They have the right to remarry and to a person of her choice;
• They shall not be subjected to inhuman practices or humiliating and degrading treatment;
• A widow automatically becomes the guardian and custodian of her children after her husband passes except such is contrary to the rights of the children
• A widow shall have an equitable share in her husband’s properties and will retain the right to live in her matrimonial home until she remarries unless the home is owned by her or if she inherited it from her husband.
3. Women and men have a right to equal shares in the properties of their parents.
4. Only a woman who has attained 18 years of age is fit to be married and she must give consent to such marriage.
5. A woman shall have the right to acquire her own property and manage it freely even while married.
6. It prohibits all forms of violence against women in the public, private or domestic sphere and trafficking of women and children.
There is the opinion that the bill is against the dictates of our culture and tradition, many of which affirm discrimination, inequality of women and violence against them. However, will our development and growth as a nation be forever limited by archaic customs and traditions that are repugnant to natural justice and good conscience?
Read the contents of the bill here and tell us what you think on the Gender Equality Bill? What are the reasons you support or are against the Bill?