Women in Nigeria face many challenges to entering and remaining engaged in politics. Undemocratic party nomination processes and negative gender stereotypes hinder women from taking on leadership positions in public life. These are deeply entrenched in a patriarchal, male-dominant culture with minimal political will to make the changes needed to improve women’s political participation. Unequal skills and lack of financial capacity amongst other things are all barriers to women’s active engagement in politics. The 2019 polls recorded a decline in the number of women elected into national and state legislatures. For instance, the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) Report revealed that 2,970 women were on the electoral ballot, representing only 11.36% of nominated candidates. Only 62 women were elected representing 4.17% of the elected officials. This figure represents a decline from the 2015-19 period, when women formed 5.65% of elected officials and risks declining further without robust action to reverse the trend. Nigeria is entering into a critical stage of its election cycle, with only two years until the 2023 elections. Support for enhancing women’s participation and leadership in decision-making is critical to Nigeria’s development and recovery processes and ensures that gains made in promoting women’s political representation are not lost.
Against this backdrop, UNDP will be collaborating with UN Women to support legal reforms to promote women’s political participation in Nigeria.
UNDP is the United Nations’ global development network with the mandate of advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience, and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP has been supporting the government and people of Nigeria to address developmental challenges through strengthening and building institutions that promote inclusive sustainable development and democratic governance.
UN Women, on the other hand, grounded in the vision of equality as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates the United Nations System’s efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.
Women’s political participation and leadership is a priority area of focus for the UN Women Nigeria Country Office. In the same vein, UNDP focuses on the promotion of inclusive governance which entails active participation of marginalized groups such as women in politics and governance. Nigeria has ratified and is party to several international and regional instruments on women’s rights such as Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. However, critical challenges remain in the application and domestication of such frameworks, ranking Nigeria among the lowest in Africa for women’s representation in government.
In line with the above, UN Women in Nigeria is currently supporting the ongoing constitutional review process in Nigeria which commenced in early February 2020, to improve the normative framework and to strengthen and protect women’s rights. The Senate Constitutional Review Committee’s (SCRC) Plan of Action includes: (1) A call for memoranda which delineates scope of work relating to different thematic areas; (2) Establishment of a technical team of consultants to analyze all submissions and turn them into operations for the relevant sections of the constitution; (3) Virtual and physical outreach to collate views and opinions of Nigerians; (4) The SCRC is to present its report to the Senate Plenary by June 2021.
UN Women’s support to the review process to date has included a gender analysis of the 1999 constitution, highlighting discriminatory provisions and making formulations for amendments. Furthermore, UN Women has supported the development of draft bills to promote gender equality in consultation with key stakeholders such as civil society and the constitutional review committee. In January 2021, UN Women supported the senate constitutional review committee’s technical team of consultants to convene a retreat to analyze memoranda submitted by several interest groups. More recently, UN Women supported to mobilize women groups and male allies to participate in the constitution review public hearings in May 2021, to amplify women’s voices and the need for reforms to promote women’s rights and gender equality. UN Women has deployed a gender and constitutional technical expert who has been supporting the SCRC to ensure gender is mainstreamed in the process and the adoption of gender-sensitive reforms. The expert has so far been an invaluable resource to the SCRC, being the only female in a team of 20 technical consultants supporting the SCRC. The SCRC is currently at the fourth stage of the review process, a critical stage where amendment reforms are being adopted to be presented to the senate plenary.
UN Women has also made notable investments to advance the passage of the ‘Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill’ through the provision of both technical and funding support toward passage of the GEO Bill, including funding of the National Coalition on Affirmative Action to mobilize attendance from women’s groups for the public hearing on the GEO Bill in 2018. UN Women facilitated a consultative dialogue with the Senators’ Wives Forum, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal Onaiyekan and a coalition of women’s religious groups to examine and identify points of disagreement within the Bill and elicit support for its passage. Current efforts include support to a GEOB Technical Working Committee (TWC) established in September 2020 to drive the process of passing the GEOB into law.
Against this background, UNDP will be collaborating with UN Women to sustain the current support to the SCRC to ensure the final adoption of gender reforms to protect women’s rights and promote gender equality by the review committee. Furthermore, the collaboration with UNDP will be geared towards sustaining UN Women’s current support to the efforts by TWC to pass GEOB into law. This partnership between UNDP and UN Women is aimed at strengthening legal reforms to enhance women’s political participation. It is along this line that UNDP and UN Women seek to engage a gender and constitutional expert to provide support to the SCRC at this critical stage of the review process, to guarantee that gains made in the review process so far are not lost, and concurrently support efforts towards passage of the GEOB.
Duties and Responsibilities
Purpose and Objectives of the Assignment:
The purpose of this short-term consultancy is to support UNDP and UN Women to provide gender technical expertise to support parallel efforts of the ongoing constitution review process and passage of the GEOB through the engagement of a gender and constitutional expert.
Support the SCRC to mainstream gender in the constitution review process, particularly in the analysis of constitution review proposals and to make recommendations for the adoption of gender sensitive reforms.
To track progress of gender bills in the constitution review process and work with the senate legal draftsperson to strengthen existing bills relevant to women’s rights and gender equality, particularly around women’s political participation.
Develop a strategy for engaging CSOs and other key stakeholders to advocate for the adoption of gender reforms in the ongoing review process.
Support advocacy efforts towards passage of the GEOB.
Liaise and share information with the UN Women Consultant supporting the review process in the House of Representatives to synergize efforts in both houses of assembly.
Main Tasks: The consultant will support the constitutional review committee of the National Assembly, and perform the following tasks:
Support to the Senate Constitution Review Committee
Be a part of the technical team of consultants supporting the work of the Senate Constitution Review Committee.
Attend all meetings of the senate constitution review committee and make presentation and provide strong justification for the adoption of gender-sensitive reforms.
Work closely with the lead consultant of the SCRC, clerk of the committee and legal draftsperson to analyze proposed bills from a gender perspective and track progress of gender bills.
Advocacy for passage of the GEOB
One-on-one outreach to technical consultants of the SCRC to sensitize them and advocate for the adoption of gender reforms in the ongoing constitution review process.
Package of background and reference materials on the constitutional review process including the SCRC plan of action to inform advocacy initiatives.
In collaboration with the consultant supporting the HoR constitution review committee, conduct consultations with CSOs and other key stakeholders to develop a strategy for engaging the National Assembly to ensure adoption of gender sensitive reforms.
Presentations on the constitution review process and proposed gender reforms to selected opinion leaders, such as the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), etc.
Presentations to key stakeholders on the GEOB process to create awareness and correct misconceptions.
Provide monthly updates on all SCRC and joint meetings with the HoR.
Mid-assignment report highlighting achievements, challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for improved engagement on the gender-sensitive constitution and passage of GEOB.
Provide end of consultancy report of UN Women/UNDP’s support to the HoR constitution review committee and on GEOB with compilation of lessons learned from UN Women’s support to the constitution review process and efforts to pass the GEOB.
Monthly updates on all HoR and joint meetings with the SCRC.
End of consultancy report.
Hiring Agency and Specific Consultancy Requirement:
UN Women in collaboration with UNDP is seeking the services of a national consultant with strong experience in legal framework, the development of gender-sensitive laws in Nigeria, policy review and development and strong knowledge of the Nigerian 1999 constitution. The National consultant should have a background in constitutional law with strong linkages with the Nigerian National Assembly.
- Integrity: Demonstrates consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UNDP and UN Women in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.
- Professionalism: Demonstrates professional competence and expert knowledge of the pertinent substantive areas of work.
- Respect for Diversity: Demonstrates an appreciation of the multi-cultural nature of the organization and the diversity of its staff. Demonstrates an international outlook, appreciating difference in values and learning from cultural diversity.
- Ethics and Values: Demonstrate and safeguard ethics and integrity.
- Organizational Awareness: Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.
- Development and Innovation: Take charge of self-development and take initiative.
- Teamwork: Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.
- Communication and Information Sharing: Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.
- Self-management and Emotional Intelligence: Stay composed and positive even in difficult moments, handle tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and have a consistent behavior towards others.
- Conflict Management: Surface conflicts and address them proactively acknowledging different feelings and views and directing energy towards a mutually acceptable solution.
- Continuous Learning and Knowledge Sharing: Encourage learning and sharing of knowledge.
Appropriate and Transparent Decision Making: Demonstrate informed and transparent decision making.
Required Skills and Experience
Education and certification:
PhD in legal studies
Special focus on constitutional law/studies is desirable
At least 15 years of experience in law and legal research.
Experience in combination of gender analysis and legal frameworks/constitutions is mandatory.
Proven experience in conducting legal research and drafting bills.
Experience in presenting research papers and facilitating working sessions.
Strong ties with the National Assembly and the GEOB TWC
Experience with UN Intergovernmental processes including those related to women’s empowerment, gender mainstreaming and gender equality.
Proven experience working with the National Assembly on law reforms.
Strong knowledge of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution.
Experience of working with multi-stakeholder organizations is essential: governments, CSOs, and the UN/ multilateral/bilateral institutions.
Excellent analytical and reporting skills
Fluency in written and spoken English is required