Women Empowerment And Political Participation In Nigeria: Appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five)

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Women Empowerment And Political Participation In Nigeria: Appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five)


Abstract


This study examined women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria (appraising sustainable development goals 5.

The study adopted qualitative method and historical/analytical design was used in analyzing its data. Data were collected through secondary sources which include newspapers, archives, books, conference proceedings, etc.

The findings revealed that; Women empowerment programs like Forum of Nigerian Women in Politics (FONWIP) is a good example, whose central objective is to promote women empowerment and eradication of all forms of violence and discrimination against women;. The quotas and proportional representation is also a strategy which has been positive in granting quotas allocation for women to assist in the promotion of gender balance;. Women level of participation in politics is witnessing a significant increase;. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be reviewed;. NGOs and women as the grassroots should render support and advocacy for one another;. Policymakers should ensure the formulation of policies that will bring about the empowerment of women and promote gender equality;. Job creation or work opportunities can help create more empowerment for women.

The study concluded that, Women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria has turned out to be an issue of great importance, simply because of the great roles women have played as mothers, home makers, producer, social and political activists, and community leaders, etc. The SDG 5 has provides the need for women to be given the room to exhibit their leadership skills and not just seen as a wife or having the core responsibility at home or to the family, but to be given the opportunity to contribute and development the community at large.

The study further recommends that; Economic empowerment of women should be vigorously pursued;. The National Assembly as a matter of state policy should implement Affirmative Action involving the reservation of 30% elective posts for women on the basis of quota system between competing candidates;. “Godfathers” should be extended to women political aspirants in relation to sponsorship;. Financial institutions should ensure that credit facilities are made easily accessible for women so as to get them empowered in their various communities;. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should ensure that, the rights of women are in place and to ensure that the discrimination of women in the society be prohibited;. A coalition of NGOs and grassroots women unions should be harmonized;. Policy makers should formulate policies that will enhance women empowerment and bring about gender equality in all spheres of public affairs;. Government and other agencies should ensure there are work opportunities for female in the society.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Globally, participation of women in politics and administration has been one of continued debate. This has been due to the attitude of men towards women considering the religious placement of women as men’s companion and not as figure heads, women are therefore regarded as ‘Weaker Vessels’. For this reason, some duties which hitherto concern development, achievements, decision making are left for men to handle, while lesser jobs like cooking, taking care of the family, typing and teaching are given to women (Ghali, 2018). Women activities have been relegated to the background acting as a supportive agent to men, fulfilling the adage, ‘that behind every successful man there is a woman’. Due to the above reasons, society still negates them in doing some jobs with the feeling that as weaker beings, they can only be reckoned with after the men (Ghali, 2018). This has greatly affected the participation of women in most developmental programmes, administration and politics in particular (Kebeer, 2016).

In recent times, development has made it possible for women to participate in those activities which were exclusive reserve of the men. And considerable attention have been focused on making women more prominent in terms of contributing to the politics, economy and development of their countries, hence their participation in politics has been viewed to be of a major purpose-nation building (Hamala, 2014).

In Africa, it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the woman has been down trodden and cannot he heard. African derogatory ideologies on women are inhuman and unjust. Women are perceived to be properties and thus have been thoroughly enmeshed in the people’s mind (Adu, 2018). Within the countries of Tunisia and Zimbabwe, women business owners worked in time intervals throughout the day. The time involved in maintaining a business with little pay was undesirably restrictive and directly conflicted with their family responsibilities. Hence, many women are not empowered in the countries (Adu, 2018).

In Nigeria, the issue of marginalization of women within the economy and gender disparities in the provision of education, employment and general recognition in other spheres of life still generates a healthy debate. The woman has been the most exploited, the, most underprivileged, the worst abused and the most relegated segment of the society (Idowu, 2015). Although women comprise a majority of the population`, they nonetheless are often treated like a minority group assigned a definite place in the societal order, denied access to careers and power in the public arena and viewed as dependent, weak and submissive by nature (Brill, 2015). Afonja (2007) traced the origin of female subjugation to men as not deriving from any nature inferiority but in the age-old dominance of men. The author argues that only a woman is compelled to define herself as a woman in every circumstance, whereas a man takes his manhood for granted.

A careful examination of Nigeria’s political history shows a great marginalization of women in politics and appointments. Right from the period after independence up to the present political dispensation in Nigeria, the domain of politics seem unfeminine because of the fact that women substantially do not participate in politics. With politics engaging the consciousness of the nation’s leadership, women found themselves in arms against a political system that sought to promote the interest of only the male on the false assumption that the women’s role was in the kitchen, and in the tending of family (Ogunyemi, 2016). However, the researcher is of the opinion that improved political participation of women would have being a useful instrument towards women empowerment globally and in Nigeria.

According to Okemakinde (2014), women empowerment in Nigeria is an economic process that involves empowering Nigerian females as a poverty reduction measure. Empowerment is the development of women in term of politics, social and economic strength in nation development. It is also a way of reducing women vulnerability and dependency in all sphere of life. It can be noted that the aggregate of educational, political, health and legal empowerment are key to women empowerment in Nigeria (Okemakinde, 2014). Like many African women, Nigerian women have a subordinate role to their male counterparts. There are twice as many women living below the poverty line than men, and up to 19 times as many men in executive positions than women (Okemakinde, 2014).

At the core of Nigeria’s social imbalance is a distorted power dynamic in determining family size (Chinekezi, 2014). This male centered focus points to a critical population problem. Women are eliminated from the decision making process of how many children they are going to have and when they are to have them (Chinekezi, 2014). There are very few population control guides that targets men to reduce the high fertility rate. In order for anything to work as far as population control, men and women must both have equal power in the household. There are imbalances within marriage, religious and government institutions and access to good health program (Chinekezi, 2014). The United Nations, as well as a majority of nations across the globe, have developed and organized programs which aim to ameliorate gender inequalities.

There have been experimental techniques to expand women-led businesses in Nigeria such as advocating start-ups and productivity through grants, mentoring and business technical training. A program by the name of YouWiN! gave insight to young men and women on how to carry out their business ideas and conquer certain challenges that come with starting a business, despite these efforts, many women remained not empowered.

Women’s development was adopted as the third millennium goal in 2000, the world conference on women in Benjin in 2000, and many others. Although, with more people embracing education, the situation gradually changing and more women are participating in politics and are also being empowered (Akudo, 2013), Nevertheless, it important to carry out a study on women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria which is being done by the current researcher with focus on appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The level of women participation in Nigeria politics is very low especially at the federal and state levels. Male domination of decision-making and violence has led to women not feeling free and comfortable enough to engage in political matters. Additionally, successful political advisors are not likely to support female candidates so it could be difficult for them to pave a path in politics. There are major differentiations when it comes to starting businesses and getting credit loans for men and women in Nigeria. Most women in business have fewer employees than men, this has also made the gender gap to become even wider, hence, a sizable number of women are living below poverty line.

In Nigeria, the relationship between women empowerment and political participation can be measured using indices such as education, literacy rate, employment and leadership roles. The available studies on women empowerment and political participation focusing on appraising sustainable development goals are very few. Based on the foregoing, the current researcher is examining women empowerment and political participation focusing on appraising sustainable development goals.


1.3 Objectives of the study

The general objective of the study is to examine the relationship between women empowerment and political participation focusing on appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five).

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Examine the strategies through which the women are being empowered in line with SDG Five in Nigeria.
  2. Analyse the extent of women participation in politics in Nigeria as stated in SDG Five.
  3. Identify the factors limiting women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria.
  4. Determine strategies to improve women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria.
  5. Assess the impact of SDG Five towards ensuring equal right, access to resources and opportunities for women.
  6. Examine if SDG Five has eliminated gender-based violence and discrimination against women.

1.4 Research questions

As a result of the objectives of this study, the following research questions are raised to solve the research problem:

  1. In what ways and means are women being empowered in line with SDG Five in Nigeria?
  2. To what extent do women participate in Nigeria politics as stated in SDG Five?
  3. What are the factors limiting women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria?
  4. What are the strategies to improve women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria?
  5. What is the impact of SDG Five towards ensuring equal right, access to resources and opportunities for women?
  6. Has SDG Five eliminated gender-based violence and discrimination against women?

1.5 Significance of the study

The outcome of this study will enlighten government, policy makers, stakeholders in the political sector and the general public on extent of women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria, and how it can be improved.

Findings from this study will also educate the general public on the strategies through which the women are being empowered in line with SDG Five in Nigeria and the extent of women participation in politics in Nigeria as stated in SDG Five

The findings from this study will constitute a basis for future research and also contributing to the body of knowledge since it will be used as empirical literature. Outcome of this study will also be a guide for policy formulation both at state and national level towards improving women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria.


1.6 Methodology

Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily descriptive qualitative as it is based on women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research will utilize both primary and secondary data. Five respondents will be selected purposively in this study and interview method will be used for the collection of primary data. The respondents will include women in politics, experts and researchers. Content analysis will be used for the secondary data.


1.7 Scope of the study

The study will cover extent of women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria, and how it can be improved. It will also focus on appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five). It will also cover the ways and means through which the women are being empowered in Nigeria, the extent of women participation in politics in Nigeria and the factors limiting women empowerment and political participation in Nigeria. It will cover the duration of 2015 to 2020.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Women Empowerment:

This is the means of allowing and including women into the decision making process.

Political Participation:

This is a means of including and making it easy to women to hold elective and appointive positions at all levels

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

It’s also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Politics:

The activities associated with the governance of a country or area.

Empowerment:

Authority or power given to someone to do something.


Women Empowerment And Political Participation In Nigeria: Appraising Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Five)


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