The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) is a professional cum trade union organization registered as a labor union in 1979, the union has over 40,000 organized members.
Apart from the Nigerian union of teachers (NUT), this trade union holds the record in Nigeria as the union with the highest number of female members. It is estimated that over 80% of the union membership strength rests in the women folk. However, when it comes to leadership positions at the state and National level, women do not hold up to 15% of the key decision making positions of the union. Since creation, NANNM has recorded only 2 females as president from 1979 to 1985. From 1986 onwards, participation of women in union leadership began to dwindle rather than increased.
However, at the 8th quadrennial National Delegates conference in 2008, a memorandum was passed calling for priority to be placed on gender issues. This provided the much needed fulcrum for the Association to focus on equality and gender mainstreaming. From 2009, the Association conducted series of gender and leadership trainings for female members and eventually developed its gender policy document in 2010.
NANNM national gender policy document has proven a highly effective tool which the union has used to deal with some of the challenges hindering female members from involvement in union activities. Since the policy’s adoption by the union’s highest decision making organ, National Executive Council (NEC), in October 2011, its effects is gradually being felt in the union as gender activities have now been provided with a budget line in union’s annual budget. The union has also provided a well equipped crèche for nursing mothers at the union office in Abuja and also provides mobile crèche facilities for nursing mothers who attend union’s major national meetings or training activities. Most importantly the policy document has equally created an opportunity for the inclusion of a gender clause in NANNM’s constitution. The inclusion of a gender clause in NANNM constitution creates an opportunity for more women in leadership.
In August 2012, NANNM, made a milestone achievement of conducting its first ever National Women gender conference attended by over 140 female members in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. This conference gave birth to a National women’s committee with 5-member steering committee leadership. This committee has the mandate of supporting the women to conduct its first election of female officers.
As part of the gains of the union gender mainstreaming campaign, there are at present three women holding key positions as National Administrative Council members and the number of women holding leadership positions at state level in NANNM has sharply increased by 114 women compared to what was obtainable before 2010.
Report prepared by Moradeke Abiodun-Badru, National Associaiton of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Gender Officer and PSI intern.