Women In Politics (A Review Of Common And Islamic Law Provision)
Issue of gender equality (men and women) are equal in all ranks, which also includes politics, which is aimed at women rather than men, these debates degenerate and disintegrate into discordant posturing, grandstanding, sweeping, generalizations and misrepresentation. I do not intend to throw my hat into the ring. I only wish to add my voiced to the discourse. Before women participation in politics remained a contentious but neglected area in dedicated academic discourse or forum such as the instant one. This, thus long essay is but an attempt to shed light on some darkened areas with the hoe that the eager picture will be clearer and with the realization that Islam, rather than dehumanize, it actually enhanced the status of women.
In this long essay, an attempt is made to analyze and examine the divergent views and arguments of both proponents and opponents of women participation in politics. On the other hand, women in politics, although with a caveat, that should not be at the expense of the family and dewomanizing the women. This long essay further seeks to address the need of open mindness and accommodation there on from both sides of the divide.
Summary Conclusion and Recommendation
The principle of equality is entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution. It is enshrined in its preamble fundamental rights, fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy. Hence references abound regarding the non- discriminating and equality between men and women in the Nigerian constitution.
Politics is all about services. It entails placing the right thing correctly and providing basic necessities of life to the populace. The central duty of governments everywhere and at all times is to provide the greatest good number of its subjects. Ideal democracy has been recognized as a system government in which the people through consensus or representations, exercise equal control over issues affecting them as the citizen. Nigeria has a democratic setting with the executive, legislature and judiciary as the three arms of government.
Statistically, after the general polls from 2003-2007, the President and 36 States Governors were all men, with only 3 elected women deputy Governors. Among them, one became the Governor by default, albeit, for a brief period. During the stated period, out of the 109 Senators in the Senate at the National Assembly four were women and out of the 360 members of House of Representative, only 23 were women members in the House of Representatives out of the 360 members. In the court of Appeal of Nigeria, as at September, 2010 there are 21 female Justices out of a total of 65.
Politics, leadership and governance in places such as Nigeria, like most other things in life are not exclusive preserves of men. They involve partnership, joint efforts and holistic team work. It is certain that Nigeria is not an Islamic state neither is it a secular state. It is a pluralistic, multi-religious state. It is branded that Muslims are the majority, though Christians do not concede to this assertion and the last census exercise did not help to clarify the position as it left out last issue of religion in the gathering of its data.
It has been said, that realism is facing reality. If we as Muslim combat, condemn and confront the emergence of a Muslim leader on the basis of gender, we will be faced with a situation ,if non Muslim female political leader should emerge and rule over us whether we like it or not. Assuredly we will be left stranded in our own web and filled with regrets. This is more so because political freedom of choice which is availing and available to all, embodies the right of any person female or male to run for any office in the land and any political post, provided they are tested and competent. Islam teaches and recognizes that political leadership in such a setting as ours should be determined by free and fair exercise of political choice. The choice in question is not the Hobson’s choice, which is as good as no choice Islam abhors discrimination, imposition and monopoly in virtually all things.
Leadership entails responsibility for the welfare of others and that is why public office is a public trust, so who says that men are more trustworthy than women, just by the mere fact that they are men. Men consider themselves to be privileged. It is not surprising because “it is an historical fact that privileged people / group seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.
One of the basic problems of women in Islam is men and men are by no means intrinsically better than women. The only recognized distinctive factor, that make any person regardless of gender, class or race to be better than another is Taqwa, piety (Q49:13).This is the time for us to resist and review both our approach and attitude to this vexed question of political leadership of women in Islam, which would we rather have, a female political leader or a non-Muslim female head. So, if the best man for the job is a woman for goodness sake let her do it. Piety and men should distinguish one person from the other and not such things that are purely accidental such as birth or gender.
Martin Luther King Jr.
We need to be wary and avoid unnecessary bigotry. We should be bothered not only with the present but also the future and today and tomorrow. It would be paradoxical or ironical, if Muslims reject to resist the emergence of a Muslim female political leader, only to end up being saddled with a non female political head. The scenario may seem far fetched but it has already strung us directly in the face.
Contemporary Muslim scholars argued that Islam is not vehemently against the notion of active participation of women in politics. The reservation of cautionary note is the notion of active participation of women in politics. The reservation and cautionary note is the dire need to protect the ideal Islamic home front, since the organic institution of family cannot and should not be neglected. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says: “People are all equal as the teeth of a comb”.
In my opinion, after the long essay, is that women should not feel that they have been given upper hand and they should now forget their primary roles that they are wives, mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters etc to some people who needs their love and support. They (women) should play their roles in a perfect way, they should establish their homes first before diverting to anything, because if she cannot perform her primary role as a wife, how will she be able to perform her secondary duty which she is clamoring for?
The ball is now in their court, so it depends on how and why they want to go for it without affecting her primary roles. Some believe that house-maids are there to feel in, when housemaid, starts to take the primary role of a wife and also a mother, then there is trouble in the house. So we (women) should sit tight before clamoring that we want to venture into politics, without affecting our primary roles, so lets think about the people we are going to affect negatively for life. So its time for us to wear our thinking cap before deciding.
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