1.1 Background to the Study
Nigerian women have encountered a number of problems while venturing into politics. This is as a result of large scale marginalization both in voting exercises and in allocation of political offices. Political violence and the social stigma that politics is a dirty game is a further stumbling block for women to become actively involved in the politics of this country. These are the major causes for the low representation of women in Nigeria’s politics and policy making of this nation. It has been established that the development of any country requires the participation of both men and women. There is global recognition that gender equality in political participation is a fundamental aspect of modern democratic governance. It is expected that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities to participate fully in all aspects and at all levels of political processes. But in practice, women face challenges and the number of women in leadership and decision making positions is abysmally low. Meanwhile, it has been proven that countries with increased women’s participation in politics and leadership positions tend to be more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.
More often than not, men constitute a larger percentage of the party membership and this tends to affect women when it comes to selecting or electing candidates for positions. Since men are usually in the majority in the political party setup, they tend to dominate the party hierarchy and are therefore, at advantage in influencing the party’s internal politics.
Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, Nigerian women have tried to gain access to political policy making positions by contesting for elective positions at various levels. Their efforts however have not translated to appreciative gains as subsequent elections since (Maryam, 2016)
Women usually constitute a smaller percentage of political party membership because of the social, cultural and religious demand of different Nigerian societies that most often tend to relegate women to the background. Another problem facing women is lack of adequate education. Women constitute a larger percentage of the illiterate group in Nigeria. This could be attributed to the fact that in most families, parents prefer to send their sons to school, instead of their daughters whom they feel will eventually get married and get incorporated into another family. Thus, a larger percentage of the girls remain uneducated and unexposed. Lack of adequate finance is a crucial hindrance to effective female participation in politics in Nigeria. A large portion of the Nigerian female population is not as financially strong as their male counterparts. Education as a major issue in human endeavour cost a lot and when the financial provisions are not met, the educational aspirations and visions are cut short abruptly. Pointer, (2016).
Over the years women have been relegated to the background in issues of the overall development especially in the developing nations like Nigeria. This is borne out of the sentimental attachment on feminine gender. Historical evidences are available to prove that the Nigerian women have for long been playing crucial role in political life of the country and, don’t have up to 40% access to policy making in government, this has contributed in no small measure in shaping the political system of the nation. For development of any kind to be successful, a vantage position should be accorded the women, as they constitute larger proportion of the population. In this regard, they should not be left out in the issues of policy making that bothers even on their lives as a people.
There is no doubt that women have some potentials and rights to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country. Therefore, the Nigerian government should work towards achieving gender equality in democratic governance, increase women participation and access to politics. It must be realized that the role of women as home makers cannot be down played in that it equally has an extended impact on their responsibility in service, the women touch anywhere cannot be matched Rita (2010).
Peter Mac Manu, (2015) also spoke and noted that “women’s political leadership and governance was critical to societal and human development and that the systemic entrenchment of practices aimed at the continued marginalization of women in the political process must stop.” This gender bias in Nigeria’s political system is often traced to the onset of colonialism in Nigeria. Thus the western cultural notion of colonialism woven around male superiority reflected in their relations with Nigerians.
In 2009, the Nigerian Government adopted the Vision 20:2020 and in order to implement the Vision, it devised a new medium-term strategy (i.e. former president Jonathan’s “Transformation Agenda” 2011-2015) which was aligned with Vision 20:2020. Thus, this paper therefore seeks to ascertain the efforts of Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan’s administration in reducing gender inequality in Nigeria with a view to advocate for more improvement by the newly installed government with its “Change Reform”. Arguably, women have comparatively been marginalized, and were made to participate less in both politics and top decision-making positions in Nigeria. The Millennium Resolutions underscored the importance of eliminating all forms and shades of discrimination, exploitation, social harassment and gender bias as well as all situations that encourage the infringement of the rights of women through government policies and decisions, and Jonathan through his transformation agenda was able to increase the numbers of women in cabinet to at least 31 per cent (African Development Bank, 2012), but a lot more commitment and a pragmatic approach that will translate into concrete actions are still desirable in Nigeria to spread the transformation to parliament, judiciary and other key areas.
In discussing the phenomenon of gender issue and the problem surrounding it in Nigeria, it will be imperative to firstly understand the nature of Nigerian State itself. The major challenges facing the task of executing gender-sensitive and gender-parity policies in Nigeria today is the patriarchal cultural norms, attitudes and practices which have been accepted as the natural order of things. Nigerian society, being patriarchal, power is obviously tilted in favour of men. This male-dominated culture accords women an inferior and secondary position in society. The patriarchal culture of male supremacy still remains embedded, obscured and protected within traditional institutions and structures held in abeyance and relative utmost sacredness. This culture is still in-grained in men and it is demonstrated both consciously and unconsciously, despite the general drive for a meaningful change in gender relations through policy initiatives and actions as well as sundry international conventions and accords to which Nigeria is a signatory (Ejumudo, 2013).
Generally speaking, and from contemporary perspectives in Nigeria, it would appear that women had never been influential in the realm of Nigerian politics. In the past, and even in the present democratic dispensation, there has been and there is still some fair share of recognition of the increasing role of women in the Nigerian society, be they social, economic or political. (Erunke, 2009)
1.2 Statement of the Problem
An emerging contemporary challenge being faced by Nigerians today is the inadequacy of Nigeria women in politics (elective positions and other political appointment) all over the country which is against the international standard of at least 35% women in political offices.
Several reasons have been the cause of these challenges. These include gender inequality, high rate of poverty and illiteracy among Nigerian women due to some religious and cultural beliefs.
Oluremi Tinubu also observed that Men have always been a very dominant character, the women find it difficult to know where they are placed, men expect women to even beg for their own right, and that the country has a very long way to go. (Adams, 2016)
It is against this background that this study seeks to find answer to the following research questions:
1.3 Research Questions
This study is guided by the following questions.
- i) What are the factors that affect perception of Nigerians on women active participation in politics?
- ii) What are the probable impacts of Nigerian women’s active participation in politics and policy making in Nigeria?
iii) Does education have any effect on the political empowerment of Nigerian women?
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the work is to examine properly the ways and angles in which Women active participation in Politics and Policy Making in Nigeria could be improved: Specific purpose of this work includes.
- i) To examine the significant factors affecting women active participation in politics and policy making in Nigeria
- ii) To Evaluate the impact of women active participation in politics and policy making in Nigeria
iii) To determine the effect of education on Nigerian women political empowerment
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research work is of great relevance to the society at large. This is applicable to the government, the readers of this research work and to the researcher.
The benefit of this research work to the government is that by the end of the research, the weak-points and short – comings of all the sectors of the nation would be pinpointed and displayed based on findings, thereby proffering solution to the problem.
To the reader, they will be upgraded intellectually and also will be highly informed of the up and doings of the current administration. It will also give the reader’s insight on how the women participate in politics and policy making of the nation, also partake in the political affairs of the country geared towards the achievement of national development.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The essence of this research work is to study Gender and Participation in Election in Nigeria:
. The research intends to focus on the A Comparative Analysis of 2015 And 2019 Elections.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
In the course of writing and carrying out this project work, the research encountered many difficulties; some errors in the results of the research and from external sources of data collection. These are factors standing as constraints thereby limiting the effect of the research result.
Among these are, time finance , scope and use of wrong statistics in data analysis, due to time limit, the research work is a time consuming one. A lot of time is taken to observe the subjects.
Most times the behaviour of the staff changes even when they are aware that they are being observed by the researcher, this is by taking their behavior. The researcher also observed that these senior staff some time give true and false information in order to cover their branches.
At sometime the research work lasted over two months due to large scope of area of the study.
1.8 Operationization/Definition of Terms
For the purpose of clarity, the concepts of politics, Women participation and power will be used interchangeably in the discourse
Etzioni (1970) opined that politics stands for the competition (and in most cases such competitions could be fierce and unhealthy) for the control of the public policy making process within the organized framework of government.
Okuosa (1996), further argued that in a democratic society, power acquisition and control is achieved privately or collectively, irrespective of gender through a process of active participation and representation, which then means that the question of gender discrimination is ruled out in terms of contestation or even nomination of persons or groups into political offices.
Women Active Participation
There cannot be political power without women active participation and adequate gender representation and by extension, political participation connotes a variety of ways in which people try to (and of course are supposed to) exercise influence over the political process, the kind of political process which has the potential of attracting best brains cutting across all gender, whether male or female Thus when this is the case, for sure, there will be the likelihood of equity in the level of participation and representation of the opposite sex in the scheme of things, thereby clearly and conspicuously integrating diverse human potentials in the political arrangement in the society (Omodia et al., 2012)
In terms of women in politics, particularly, in Nigeria, there are few occasions you would witness women participating in any political activity, especially during elections, few contest for political positions and very few women vote. Some factors that hinder women participation are further discussed below.
By the concept of power, it means the capacity to overcome part or all the resistance to introduce changes in the face of opposition and this includes sustaining a course of action or preserving a status quo that would otherwise have been discontinued. The concept of political power or powerlessness is applicable when the capacity to overcome resistance is related to the control of public policy. Consequently, the political power that women or any group of persons in a society have would be linked directly to a degree of their participation in the political process of that society Maclosky (1968)
Refers to the female gender, the opposite of male gender. There is the dependency syndrome that women are known to have being dependent on men. In order words, their roles are that of helpers to men Adams, (2016).
1.9 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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