On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, members of the Senate voted against the Gender Equality in Marriage bill which was sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi.
The bill was tailored to address women’s freedom of movement, female economic activity, girls’ access to education, equal rights for women in marriage, divorce, property/land ownership and inheritance, appropriate measures against gender discrimination in political and public life and prohibitions of violence to women.
As the debate for and against the bill went on, most of the senators voted against the bill when Senate President Bukola Saraki called for a vote to pass it for 2nd reading.
During the debate, senate leader, Ali Ndume stated, “This law that is being amended is very important, especially when there is clear conflict when it comes to dealing with widows, inheritance, divorce , even marriage itself in our society. There are various traditions. The problem we have is the combination of our traditions and new religious beliefs”
Senate Deputy President, Ike Ekeremadu, who also spoke in favour of the bill said that “only last night, I was going through a document prepared by George Bush of America. Those countries that are doing well are those who give women opportunities”
Encomium.ng did a compilation of tweets on the reactions of Nigerians on the voting out of Gender Equality.
“@Osi_Suave: I am Livid how can a Senate Vote against a bill that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women. In 2019 let’s vote out these people”
“@AndyMadaki: Their reason? The Bible has made women lower than men. This bill was rejected because the senate doesn’t want women to compete against them”
“@AndyMadaki: In simple terms the senate doesn’t believe women, disabled people, young people and poor people should have equal opportunities in Nigeria”
“@EditiEffiong: The senate over which @bukolasaraki presides has no regard for women. Women are either peppersoup garnish or nothing #AntiWomenSenate”
“@zimakoalice: Without gender equality,we have women in top positions. Why imitation?”
“@QweenFay: A colleague of mine once told me to not study too hard as I’ll only end up in the kitchen. Gender equality issue is deep.”
“@benediqtine: Gender equality is like world peace, we may never achieve it in its true essence but we must fight for a semblance of it @Omojuwa”
“@oyesileoluwafem: I’m shocked as to why any matter that promotes gender equality or helps widows should be legally debated.”
“@zimakoalice: Before now there’s respect for women and men. putting gender equality into law is an act of violating the divine law. We are not part of it”
“@OpeOkunbor: All these talks about you teaching your children on their perception of gender equality literally bores down to how you treat a woman”
“@musasuleiman84: I hv value for human rights.. But many things are impossible naturally. I e:- Gender Equality.”
“@Omojuwa: The Nigerian Senate officially voted today that women are human but they are less human than men and deserve to be discriminated against.”
“@JustNanaama: The Nigerian Senate refused to pass a Gender Equality Bill that protects the rights of women in 2016. Why are they so threatened?”
“@Sisi_Yemmie: Nigerian Senate, how can you turn down a bill aimed at elimination of discrimination against women? In 2016! This is a letdown!”
“@Maybeks: The Senate did what? You voted out a govt that promoted women and you want people to join you in criticizing #OurNASS ..Save me the wailing!”
“@Omojuwa: The most devastating blow against the freedom and dignity of Nigerian women was unleashed today by the @bukolasaraki led Senate”
“@wrexler: “In PMB tenure equal rights for women was Refused passage in the Senate”.. whether you like it or not, that’s how History would remember it.”
“@omoakin707: Congratulations Nigeria this Senate has successfully taken us back to d oyo empire where women were seen more as objects/items than human”
“@alagakemi: All said, the women in the Senate have been disappointing so far. Regardless of their numb they ve allowed men get away with prejudices.”
“@_Glowree: I’m not surprised too. I mean how many seats are occupied by women in the senate.”
@tinuolaJoseph for Encomium.ng