A report by the Gender Strategy Advancement International, GSAI, has disclosed that women political participation in Nigeria falls below the world and African continental standards.
According to the report, the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria remain at 6.7 percent in elective and appointive positions, which it said, is far below the global average of 22.5 per cent, Africa regional average of 23.4 percent and West African Sub Regional Average of 15 percent.
Explaining why Nigeria ranked low, the report said, “The under representation of women in political participation gained root due to the patriarchal practice inherent in our society, much of which were obvious from pre-colonial era till date. Given the several talks, initiatives and policy directions of government, one would expect greater progress in Nigeria’s quest for increased women’s political participation.”
The report added that Nigeria ranked 181 of 193 countries on the Gender Equality Index, for countries with low women representation in governance.
It stated: “The country currently, ranks 181 of 193 countries on the Gender Equality Index for reasons such as poor resource allocation in the economic and social sectors, frequent conflicts, forced displacements and inadequate inclusion of women and girls’ perspectives in policy-making decisions.
“Other reasons include low representation of women in governance and politics; and inadequate legal framework and limited capacity to support women’s empowerment and equality efforts, (UN Women, 2020).
“Despite all efforts to promote the contribution of women in the domain of politics and decision making, women have continued to record low representation at all tiers and levels of governance although they constitute almost half of the electorate.
“Findings reveal that males constituted 94.2 per cent of the members of the National Assembly in the periods from 1999-2015 (on average) while female participation remained low at 5.8 percent (National Bureau of Statistics, 2019).”
On her part, Executive Director, GSAI, Adaora Onyinchere, asked the federal government why certain policies on gender inclusion have not been considered.
Onyinchere spoke at a two-day capacity building workshop with the theme: “Capacity Building Workshop for Reporters and Editors on Media Independence to Promote Women’s Economic Inclusion and Gender Accountability in Governance,” in Abuja.
According to her, “Statistics of women from 1999 to date both in governance, in politics and the way government has tailored their implementation of gender budget has totally been null and void, for a population with over 49.2 percent, it is a serious problem and the need to evaluate and look at what government has done, is very important.\
“From our investigations, there are no sense of duty to women’s inclusion at the community level. So it seems as if there’s not enough effective implementation of policies at the grassroots rather we are asking government accounts of some of the funding that were designated to help bring women’s emancipation through political party inclusion and sensitization which has not been done.”
The project is a collaborative engagement supported by MACArthur foundation in partnership with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.