Dept: POLITICAL SCIENCE File: Word(doc) Chapters: 1-5 Views: 7


Some elections showed a decline in the performance of women and this is very troubling given the ground swell and campaign for popular participation by women. Explanation for the factors which constitute impediments to women’s efforts at winning elective offices and enduring genuine political representation are legion. It is the contention of this paper that explanation for their dismal performance should be sought to serve as lessons for women’s future endeavour at political representation. The researcher offer in this paper a multi-layered structural, institutional and social explanation, drawing on concrete example of exclusionary politics based on gender relations. I will contend that the more women agitate for inclusion through their various platforms, the less democratic the spaces for inclusion open to women.




Background to the Study

The concern and desire that women should occupy their rightful position and role in society is not only a core discourse in development studies but in societies like Nigeria a desperate necessity. Historical evidence indicates that African women but particularly Nigerian women had and continue to immensely contribute to the economic growth of their societies, though, formally unrecognized. Women in Nigeria have always played politically crucial roles but with an overwhelming majority of them at the periphery of politics in modern Nigeria. Though, constituting half or more of the Nigerian population and contributing to the development of its economy, political decisions affecting them, their families and communities have dominantly been made by men from the colonialism period. The United Nations organization recently confirmed this stance when it stated that “the world can only witness rapid progress when the world women, who because of their numerical strength, (more than half of the world population), are brought into the developmental process”, Ballington, (2012), this invariably means that for as long as Nigerian women continue to remain at the periphery of the political sphere actual development will continue to elude Nigeria. Thus, the actual progress and development of Nigeria is tied to the political situation of Nigeria as the UN argument goes, “the whole can never be understood by a mere presentation of a part”. Equality before the law and equal opportunity for equal, fair and objective representation for all citizens in the political sphere is a cardinal point of the democracy. The exclusion of majority of the citizens (women) also implies that as a democratic nation Nigeria cannot talk about human rights as an essential part of the democratic process which requires that opportunities for participation in decision making should belong to all equally. The situation in Nigeria however is one in which society conspires to continue to exclude women from full participation in the decision-making process (Guzman, 2014). The achievement of development in Nigeria therefore requires that the nation must focus efforts on cultivating the full potential and particularly the leadership potential of the other half of her human resource. Cultivating this potential involves making crucial the political participation of this large marginalized group. The concern of this paper, thus is an examination of the many and varied factors that conspire to hinder the full participation of women in politics there by hindering the development of Nigeria. Also exposed are the natural, social and political strengths in women that would culminate in the stabilization and growth of the democratic system in Nigeria, which so far left unexploited have resulted in waste and the deterioration of the democratic system of Nigeria. The paper begins by conceptualizing the issues of politics, laying the historical background of women’s participation in politics, what went wrong, and how women can as a group move forward utilizing the much natural, individual and collective strength available to them to serve their society.

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