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Development without women's participating inconcomplete -- Activists

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Abuja - Some activists at the ongoing Nigeria Women Strategy Conference in Abuja on Monday said that development without women's participation was incomplete.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that for Nigeria's economy to grow, there was a need for equal representation from men and women.

Dr Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director, Centre for Leadership and Strategic Development, said Nigeria had remained stagnated in development because it had excluded women’s involvement in governance.

According to him, gender equality and women empowerment are not favours done to women but the smart ways to go.

Igbuzor said that there was a growing recognition that women were agents of change in social, political and economic development.

"Women participation should reflect in all aspects of the society, studies have shown that when women are empowered and participate in issues concerning them, the nation benefits," he said.

He called on governments at all levels to respect the National Gender Policy by demonstrating commitment toward improving the number of women in governance.

Igbuzor also advised political parties to amend their constitutions to increase the quota of women

Also, Hajiya Saadatu Mahdi, the Secretary General, Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), said governments and civil society organisations should continue to empower women.

She said that it was unfortunate that there had been little improvement in spite of efforts by the civil society organisations to empower women.

She said female participation in politics still remained at seven per cent and described the situation as absolute under-representation.

"All stakeholders need to make concerted efforts to change this trend, women are trend-setters, we need to make use of this opportunity, " Mahdi said.

She commended states and local governments for creating opportunities for women to contribute to national development but added that more needed to be done.

The two-day conference has the theme: ``Building Bridges of Opportunity: 2015 and Beyond``.

The conference, convened by Rep. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, is aimed at assessing and agreeing on practical interventions for increasing women participation in governance.

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