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Keywords:GENDER AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA’S FOURTH REPUBLIC
The low rate of female participation in politics compared to that of their male counterparts in Nigeria’s fourth republic creates a need to examine the situation in this study, “Gender and political participation in Nigeria’s fourth republic”. The study was focus on political representation and participation of women in the fourth republic. This study examines the problems, first, defining the importance of women to participate in politics. The survey research method was employed in this study and questionnaires were used for data collection, then the hypotheses were tested using chi-square statistical procedure to reach a definite conclusion.
The findings suggests that educational background affect women’s participation in Nigeria politics. Also, the study noted that the political parties’ setup in Nigeria affect women’s active participation in the fourth republic and that the fear of intimidation impedes women in contesting for political posts in the fourth republic.
Finally, in conclusion, the study emphasizes that no sex or gender is more important than the other because in politics, intellectual ability counts more than physical energy and clamor for the actualization of the 35% affirmative action of political participation and representation of women in the National Gender Policy of 2006.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background of the Study
Statement of Research Problem
Objectives of the Study
Aim of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Limitation of the Study
Definition of Terms
2.2 Gender Inequality
2.3 Women and Education in Nigeria
2.4 Women and Political Participation in Nigeria
2.5 Women’s Political Empowerment in Nigeria: Beyond the Affirmative Action
2.6 The Theory of Sexism
2.6.1 Ambivalent Sexism
3.0 WOMEN AND PARTY POLITICS IN THE NIGERIA’S 4TH REPUBLIC
3.1 Women in Governance (Representative Government) in Nigeria’s 4th Republic
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.2 Respondents’ Characteristics
4.3 Analysis of Data
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary of Findings
- Background of the Study
Political participation is the degree and forms of involvement of citizens in governance and related institutions of society such as the economy and culture. Igwee (2002). It entails the participation of the citizenry in political campaigns and debates, attending strategy meetings of political parties, voting during elections, contesting as aspirants for elections and holding of important government and political party positions (Douglas, 2014). It is germane to democracy and fundamental to the stability and legitimacy of every political system (Agbalajobi, 2010) and a society cannot be truly democratized without the full, active and equal participation of both genders.
In democracy, equal participation, fairness and equal treatment of all citizens – male and female is vital in the representation and control of power of a society. Political participation is good for democracy but all democracies are plagued by systematic inequalities in participation Galston (2001).
Hilde and Catherine (2011) posits that one of the most persistent inequalities has been based on gender such that women are found to participate less than men, which suggests that half of the population’s interests are not well represented.
A number of scholars have observed complexity and disparity in the relationships between gender and political participation (Akinboye, 2004; Rai, 2000; Farzana, 2005; Hederson, 2006; Anifowose, 2004). The participation and representation of women in public and political institutions have been reported as low in several countries.
There are only twelve countries where women hold 33% or more seats in the parliaments, despite the pronounced commitment of the international community to gender equality and to the bridging the gender gap in the formal political arena, reinforced by the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform of Action (UNDP (2005). Women’s participation in legislatures around the world is 15 percent (Farzana, 2005).
The nation Nigeria was ranked 152 out of 187 countries and was classified as a low human development country, according to the United Nation’s (UN) Human Development Reports (2013).
Women have been politically considered endangered species and their low participation in Nigerian government and politics is often associated with culture, religious, economic constraint and male chauvinism, as sexism has become a major problem in Nigerian politics. Most of the leadership roles have been placed on the men folk in the African society in general and Nigerian society in particular, which necessitates the championing of the course of gender inequality.
However, the traditional society did not recognize the contributions of women in any decision making process, as some feminist perceive women’s marginality in the conduct and management of the public affairs as arising from their entrenchment of the globalized capitalists relations of production. The women are carefully ignored in any important meeting of the family, community and even in government establishments (Farzana, 2005). Till today, some community development meetings are always held at night thereby making it impossible for most women to attend.
Nonetheless, feminists have failed to fundamentally unravel in their explanatory analysis to the feminine gender self-emulating attitudes. Feminine gender-self-destructive factors is the decline of women participation in government and it is often lay in exist analysis, for instance, the 1991 population census put the number of Nigerian women at about 44 million which is almost 50%, and by implication, half of the Nigerian electorates (National Population Census Commission). This electoral power has not been converted to assertive feminine electoral and political advantages over the years (NNCC Report, 1991).
Up until the fourth republic, gender is still a major issue in political participation, however, in recent general elections, many women have risen up to the challenges of the time. Many women have come to assume leadership positions at different levels politically, which is a welcome development and a good step in the right direction as it will help against gender inequality and male chauvinism in Nigeria political settings.
Even though a slight improvement was noticed in the fourth republic that commenced in 1999, however, women participation in the political system was still characteristically low. For instance, only 181 position (1.5%) were occupied by women out of the 11,881 available positions throughout the country (Akiyode-Afolabi, 2003). Out of the 109 senators elected into the Senate in the same elections, only 5 (4.6%) of them were females while 13 (3.6%) females were elected into the House of Representatives out of the 360 seats (Ajayi, 2007). No female was elected into the gubernatorial seats throughout the country and out of the 990 seats that were available for the states House of Assembly nationwide, only 12 (1.21%) females were elected (Adu, 2008). It was also noted that out of the 774 local government Chairpersons that were elected in the same election across the country, only 9 (1.16%) were females and out of the 8,700 Councilors, only 143 (1.64%) were females.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are at the heart of many national and international commitments, including the UN Millennium Development Goals. Obviously, developed countries have recorded some measures of appreciable progress in mainstreaming gender issues. However, developing countries are yet to mainstream gender issues in their economic, socio-cultural and political affairs. In this regard, development across the world has been visibly uneven.
- Statement of Research Problem
Several academic reviews have showed that Nigeria political settings in the fourth republic is still gender based as majority of women are having difficult challenges in venturing massively into politics. Women have been marginalized and relegated to the hidden corner of politics, which is largely due to social and cultural factors, thereby enriching men to dominate the public spheres. Observably, women are not only marginalized, they are also alienated from serious political activities as critical information is withheld from them. This has been a major problem in the fourth republic. In the recent general elections in Nigeria for example, it was observed that many women aspirants were kept off at the nomination stage, they are seen as male extension; as people who cannot stand on their own politically but have to be guided by men (Daniel, 2012).
According to Aluko (2011:41), the absence or under-representation of female gender in decision-making and implementation processes undermines the fundamental concept of democratic form of governance which assumes that participation and representation in all areas and levels of public life will be equally available to women and men. However, politics and political arrangement in Nigeria has undermined female gender legitimacy resulting into political powerlessness for female folks. Akiyode-Afolabi (2010) submits that women’s overall political representation and participation in government is still at 8%, which is however worrisome in the fourth republic. Thus this study aims to examine the gender and political participation in Nigeria’s fourth republic, thereby attempting to suggest possible strategies that can be used to enhance equal gender participation in politics.
- Objectives of the Study
Generally, the objective of this study is to examine gender and political participation in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Explicitly, it intends to:
- To assess the nature of gender participation in fourth republic politics in Nigeria
- To identify the factors that lead to the low participation of women in politics when compared to their male counterparts in fourth republic
- Investigate the structures and procedures that underpin the subordinate positions of women in political privilege.
- Make probable recommendations that can increase gender equality in political participation in Nigeria’s fourth republic
- Research Questions
This study aims to seek answers to the following questions:
- Does educational background affect women’s participation in Nigeria politics?
- Do you agree that 30% affirmative action of political participation and representation of women in the national gender policy is achievable?
- Does political parties’ setup in Nigeria affect women’s active participation in the fourth republic?
- Does the fear of intimidation impede women in contesting for political posts in the fourth republic?
Significance of the Study
Both gender participation in politics in the fourth republic is a contentious issue in the Nigerian political life, as the issue of inequality has been perceived by different people especially the women folk as an attempt to erode their fundamental rights. Significantly, this study will not only determine the extent of participation of women in Nigeria’s politics but it will also explore the possible factors that hinder women’s active Participation in the fourth republic. The fact that the study is focused on the current democratic dispensation and the analysis of women’s participation in the recent general elections in Nigeria which further authenticate its significance. Expectedly, the data generated from this study would be helpful in formulating policies that will promote gender equality in all public and leadership structures. Thus, the data will be useful to policy makers, scholars and as well, add to the scanty literature on gender participation in politics in Nigeria’s fourth republic.
- Scope of the Study
This study is aimed at examining gender and political participation in Nigeria and it shall be narrowed to the fourth republic. The study will investigate the political involvement in the fourth republic and it will concentrate on gender and party politics.
- Limitation of the Study
The researcher was faced with a number of constraints in the process of carrying out this study. Some of them are discussed below:
Time: Time is one limiting factor of the study. This relates to the fact that this research work is one out of a number of different courses.
Inadequate Finance: The price of most of the materials needed for the study had been increased in the recent past. This constrained the researcher to strict conservation of almost everything at the expense of presenting a better work.
In gathering data for this study, the researcher used the survey research method. The primary source of data will be collected through questionnaires which will be administered randomly using the general public and male and female involved in politics.
Okoye (1996:51) opines that: survey is a method which is geared towards the study of people, their attitudinal frame of mind, and their systems, opines motivational range and manifestation. Survey method which was used is adopted to counter-check the already existing ideas and knowledge known and seen which concerns this study. The research is restricted to the simple random sampling procedure. According to Osuala (1982: 104) random sampling procedure refers to as method of drawing a portion of population so that each member has equal chance of being selected.
In determining the sample size for this research work, the systematic sample method was used. The researcher administered a total of hundred and ten (110) questionnaires to respondents while a hundred (100) questionnaires is collected by the researcher.
The method of data analysis that is used is simple percentage and frequency tabular presentation in which descriptive analysis was used to infer meaning to the data in the table. Also, the chi-square of goodness of fit test is used to text some selected hypothesis.
The secondary source will include books, journals on gender inequality and also publication on electronic media. In collecting data, statistical tools will be used such as percentage and diagrams.
- Definition of Terms
Gender: Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities, and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women.
Gender Inequality: Gender inequality refers to disparity between individuals due to gender. Gender is constructed socially through social interaction as well as biologically through chromosomes, brain structures and hormonal differences (Wikipedia).
Woman: Woman is defined as an adult female person.
Women Right: These are inalienable, integral and indivisible parts of universal human rights.
Women Violation: These are gender-based violence, which may likely result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in private or public life.
Women Empowerment: This refers to the provision and availability of opportunity and services which enables women to actively participation and contribute to political, economic, social and cultural development of the nation.
Discrimination against Women: According to the new edition of Oxford Advance Dictionary, discrimination is the practice of treating somebody or a particular group in the society less fairly than the others. Discrimination against women therefore, stands for the practice of treating women less fairly than men in the society.
Women Participation in Politics: According to Ibrahim and Salihu, the marginalization of women in the society can be traced back to humanity’s history. It is not restricted to specific culture and people, variations often occur in its nature and manifestation. However, it is by no means inherent in man’s nature but social phenomenon that reveals itself through relationship and the emerging culture values and norms often affirmed through existing institutional and legal structure of the society. It is in the light of the foregoing that Odofu and Omojuwa posited that, women worldwide are in a disadvantageous position and that the above statement currently situates the negative plight of women in global and historical context.
Keywords: GENDER AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA’S FOURTH REPUBLIC
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