Gender Politics In Nigeria
Despite the advances towards recognition of women’s political, economic and social interaction with men during the 21st century, there is a continuing lack of women policy-makers in Nigeria. Women are largely absent from positions in the local, national and international institutions that govern our daily lives. This observation is that women tend to be discriminated against when it comes to participation in political activities or decision-making processes. Women’s continuing absence from key positions in the political, economic and social institutions is not only disappointing but also nauseating. This problem seems to be acute in Akwa Ibom State, our area of investigation and also in Nigeria in general. This work investigates in-depth female gender and political participation and their involvement in the decision-making processes. Problems confronting women in their political nature have been highlighted and solutions proferred.
1.1 Background of the Study
The marginalization and brutalization of women in the Nigerian society especially in Akwa Ibom State has instigated academics interest in gender-oriented issues. Gender and political participation in Nigeria vis-à-vis Akwa Ibom State has been in issue of concern to many women activists.
Women constitute more than fifty percent (50%) of the total population in every society, yet events appear to have moved to a pedestal that can no longer be accepted by the female sex success, it is accepted, should be achieved through hard work and competition, but the society has made it impossible for “other sex” to compete favourably with men. Although women participation in political activities, though, it is still difficult to find a situation where females are nominated during elections for higher positions in government. This has continued to happen because party chairmen is a man and the men hold other important positions in the party.
Although women play vital role in campaigning and mobilizing support for the individual parties, it is rare to find them where power belongs. Where women are to be relegated at the back, religion, tradition and beliefs are brought into solidify the society’s ground for treating women as “second” class citizens. Inspite of many female organisation that have been established fore sole purpose of fighting for women’s rights, it is still impossible for the women to acquire up to five percent (5%) position in policy making institution in Akwa Ibom State.
It is on record that women fight poverty here in Akwa Ibom State. The establishment of many cottage industries such as cassava frying industry, soap making industry, pottery industry, fish smoking industries and others, can testify to the policy initiatives of women in the state. Women in Akwa Ibom State are good at mobilization and formation of co-operative societies and these are run effectively.
Besides, in any political scene or system the paramount objective of political participation is interest. Again political participation has as its micro analysis focuses on individual behaviour. Both men and women exhibit political behaviour, but highly seen in men. However, women’s participation in political activities at the community, national and international level is still very low. The political participation here include not only right to vote and actual voting, but also the candidacy, election and appointment of women at all levels of government and within the party structures.
In this research work, women and political participation shall be discussed, social status and participation shall be discussed, barriers to women political participation shall be succinctly discussed, Gender and socio-cultural constraints and finally, the women’s role in greater participation shall be examined.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Politics or political activities can not function without individual participation. It is the masses that are mostly expected to participate because the power comes from them. Apart from ordinary voting exercise women are not given chance to vie for political position in any level of government. As such men are more preferable in sensitive political offices and positions to women counterpart, claiming women is weak, fearful, incompetent and passive. By this women can not attain equal status with men. People in disadvantaged position, such as women are considered not useful or important constituents when important political decisions are made. Repressive structures never focus on the many people they have disadvantaged, but on the few they have given support. The arrangement which make women and women’s issue invisible or very marginal are based on a power system that is not only undemocratic but also works at continuing the dominance of men over women. It is possible for women to change the order that keeps them in positions that seriously limit their development both as individuals and as a groups. This raises these pertinent questions:
- Has gender sensitization led to increase participation of Akwa Ibom Women in the State of House of Assembly?
- Is there any significant relationship between socio-economic status and women participation politics, especially in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly?
1.3 Objective of Study
The objectives of this study are:
- To examine the level of equality in gender politics.
- To examine the restriction of women in political activities.
- To access the factors that will lead to progress and improvement of women in politics.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
- H0: there is no level of equality in gender politics.
H1: there is level of equality in gender politics
- H02: there is no restriction of women in political activities
H2: there is restriction of women in political activities
1.5 Significance of Study
In view of the recurrent nature of politics in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria as a whole, this study is significant in number of ways. The study will broaden the theoretical understanding of the subject matter of gender politics and how women are marginalized in political field.
The study will contribute new ideas as well as fill lacuna in the stock of existing knowledge and literature in the area of gender politics.
Again, this study will service as guidelines and reference document to future researchers who will be able to improve up the findings therein.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The major focus of this study is on the gender politics Nigeria as it shows greater levels of inequality gender wise. Attention will be given to Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly between 2003 and 2007. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational Privacy:
Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 Definition of Terms
For better understanding in this research work, it is pertinent to give operational definition of some important or key words used in the research work.
Constituency is an electoral district or area demarcated by the electoral commission from which member or members of parliament are to be elected.
Citizen is a legal member of a state with full constitutional or legal right in a country which he or she resides. He performs his duties and owes allegiance to the government of the state and he is entitled to protection by the state in which he resides.
It is the status of individuals who live in a particular state and possesses a full legal and political right in that state. It is a relationship between the individual and the state.
This is the forceful overthrow of civilian government by the military. This is when military come to power through the barrel of gun.
Gender is the different and unequal perceptions, views, roles and relevance, reward which a society assigns to men and women through its culture.
Democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people. It is a government ruled by the majority or people. A democratic government must on the consent of the governed, and its policies must be responsive to their desires.
This is the authoritative allocation of value in the society. It entails the making of decisions regarding what society should do, when, how and why it should do it and who should determine these things.
This is a state of being less concerned or interested in political affairs.
This is the positive attitude one has towards politics or political matters.
This is a state of taking active part and involvement in government, state and political matters.
This is the pattern of individual attitude and orientation towards politics and among.
Power is the ability or the capacity to force another person or group of persons to obey whether the person likes it or not. It is the ability to compel compliance.
1.8 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 (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology 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.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain gender politics in Nigeria
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of gender politics in Nigeria
This study was on gender politics in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised which included:To examine the level of equality in gender politics, to examine the restriction of women in political activities, to access the factors that will lead to progress and improvement of women in politics. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff ofAkwa ibom State house of Assembly. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up secretaries,computer operators, security men and junior staff was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
The transition from military to democracy in 1999 has tremendously improved the stake of women in politics in Nigeria than any other time in its post-independence existence. It is no doubt that women still remain highly marginalize in all spheres of the socio-economic and political life of the nation. This is more obvious when the proportion of men to women in politics and decision making position is compared. Several challenges such as lack or inadequate finance, cultural and religious discrimination, political violence, illiteracy and inadequate education, marginalization in political party hierarchy among others has been identified as responsible for this state of affair.
In spite of these challenges, women have made considerable in-road into the political landscape of the country since 1999. The tremendous energies of women activism and advocacy groups, the track records of achievement of women in politics and decision making, the increasing number of educated and professional women, the positive disposition of successive government towards women political empowerment and the growing interests of women to participate in politics have place women as important players in the Nigerian political topography with bright future prospects. To consolidate on the current gains, women leadership organizations, government and relevant stake holders should continue to advocate for the revision of legislations to favour the protection of women from abuse, empower them economically and politically especially through the strengthening of affirmative action and allocation quotas for women in politics and decision making position
- Make commitments to address challenges holding women and girls down
- Implement the Gender Policy immediately and ensure that women constitute at least 35 percent of women appointment and increase it gradually to 50 percent by 2030.
- Amend the constitution to provide for affirmative action for women
- Abrogate all laws that are discriminatory to women and are repugnant to natural justice
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