Estimated reading time: 25 minute(s)
Despite the 105.57 million female population against male population of 107.83 million male population in Nigeira, only 6 percent of the female gender represent the people in the Nigerian parliament, according to Statista.
As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day in grand styles and appraisals, the Nigerian atmosphere pronounces a sardonic homophone of indifference, as the role of women in national affairs drastically dwindles.
In the spate of the International Women’s Day, Nigerian women, however hopeful of a gleaming light at the end of the tunnel, expressed confidence in the uprising of the female gender against the male in ramification of their professionalism and career prospects.
A female broadcaster at Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Lagos, Ayomide Tella, told PLATFORM TIMES, that the narrative is changing from the old ways of sidelining certain professions for he male gender.
She explained that women are now doing well in fields of men and budding to surmount the male gender on world records.
Sha said, “Women are beginning to have a stand in Nigeria in terms of many things. Professions for instance; certain professions have been taken as male-professions but the narrative is gradually changing because women are taking that position up and doing well.
“There are great women in the tech world that are doing well for themselves. It may not be equalised with that of the male gender but, to an extent, I believe women are carving a niche for themselves in the world of today and it’s a great thing,” she submitted.
However, the argument has been raised that women are now in the race to amass wealth, qualifications, honorariums and status as the male gender, but the question remains thus: how well are the women/female gender represented in the Nigerian political scene?
… Only 6.1 Percent Of Nigeria’s Parliament Is Occupied by Women
Data obtained from Statista.com from a December 12, 2022 data analysis in a publication titled, ‘Gender representation in National Parliament in Nigeria 1993-2019’, indicated a deplorable ratio of gender representation of men to women in the Nigerian parliament.
The ratio of women to men in the country’s law making arm is incredibly too low.
The deplorable decrease from 7.2 percent, which is obviously low but better off the later, from 2007 – 2011 indicates a creeping danger of underrepresentation.
According to the data obtained by PLATFORM TIMES, between 1999 – 2003, there were 454 male to 15 female in the parliament; 445 male to 24 female between 2003 – 2007; 435 male to 34 female from 2007 – 2011; 438 male to 31 female between 2011 – 2015; similarly, between 2015 – 2019, the ratio remained constant from the previous administration.
Meanwhile, in 2019, there were 440 male and 29 female in the Nigerian parliament, indicating a decrease from the precedents.
… Low Women Representation In Politics Hinder Development – Minister
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, expressed concern over the low number of women in politics and leadership positions in Nigeria.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the minister identified the gender gap in decision-making positions as a major setback to the country’s development.
Tallen stated that the insufficient representation of women in crucial sectors had contributed to the slow progress and low investment in human development outcomes.
She further highlighted the sustained gender imbalance in critical areas, calling for a change in the narrative.
The minister emphasized the need for increased women’s participation in governance, both at the state and subnational levels.
She urged the government and relevant stakeholders to take action towards improving women’s inclusion in decision-making processes.
Tallen’s remarks come amidst growing concerns over the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles globally. The call to address this gender gap has gained traction in recent years, with many advocating for equal opportunities and a level playing field for women in all spheres of life.
“For instance, currently in the House of Representatives, out of 360 members, only 18 are women, representing about 4.61 per cent; Senate has eight women out of 109 members, representing 7.34 per cent.
“The same trend, even worse, runs down all levels of governance in the states and local government areas. Available data from 12 out of 36 states are a clear demonstration of the injustice perpetuated in the election and appointment of women.
“It is evident that women have been short changed. Out of 36 states of the federation there are no female governors, only two female deputy governors.
“Statistics from the 12 states show that we do not have a female secretary to government; of 287 state assembly members in 12 states only 23 are women; of 2,050 special assistants only 425 are females.
“Of 325 local government chairmen, only 31 are females, 73 vice chairmen and 368 females out of 2,075 councilors of LGAs. This cannot continue.
“According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report Ranking on Women Political Participation, Nigeria is worse off in 2019 (102nd) than nine years ago when it ranked 99th worldwide. This is a growing concern to Nigerian women,” she said.
She claimed that in the general elections of 2023, women would not support or cast their votes for any candidate who was unable to provide them the respect they deserved.
According to Mrs. Tallen, women would only support political parties that were prepared to fill at least 35% of the elective and appointed seats with women, as well as include women in their party structures and manifestos.
… How Presidential Female Aspirant Stepped Down
Millions of Nigerians tuned in to watch the presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on June 8, 2022.
However, one of the aspirants, Uju Ken Ohanenye, made a surprising announcement during the contest. Ohanenye, who was the only female candidate among the 23 aspirants, decided to withdraw from the contest and endorsed the eventual winner, Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party.
“I have decided to step aside for the lifesaver who is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Ohanenye said on national television. This decision raised concerns among some Nigerians about gender equality in the country’s politics.
“[Ohanenye] might have believed she was not going to win because of the financial and political limitations she would have to surpass,” said Antoinette Lecky, a Lagos-based media personality and former projects lead at ElectHER, a nonprofit organization focused on getting more women into political leadership.
However, it gave her a chance to publicize herself as a lot of people did not know who she was at the time.
Despite being home to 105 million women, only one woman has ever held one of the top four positions in Nigerian governance, and that was for a five-month stint as speaker in 2007 since the country’s independence from Britain in 1960.
Nigeria has one of the lowest representation rates globally for women in federal lawmakers, with only five percent. Aljazeera reported.
Ohanenye’s decision to step aside highlights the challenges that women face in Nigerian politics, but it also sheds light on the need for more women in leadership roles. With the hope of changing this representation, organizations like ElectHER and many other nonprofits continue to encourage and support women to seek political leadership roles in Nigeria.
Women’s political engagement in Nigeria, according to experts and leaders of the civil society, falls short of international norms.
In January, author Chimamanda Adichie observed, “There is… something melancholy about the fact that we haven’t had a woman governor in this nation. Why has it taken so long, though? It’s great that we’re celebrating the prospect of having one soon.
… NGOs Proffer Solutions
There are numerous organizations that are dedicated to helping women enter politics by providing fundraising and support to female candidates running for office as a solution to the women impoverished system.
These organizations, including OSIWA and ElectHER, are also focused on creating awareness and ensuring security for women who are seeking to enter the political sphere. However, despite these efforts, there is still much work to be done to overcome the barriers that exist for women in politics.
One of the initiatives that ElectHER has launched to support women is the Agender35 program, which uses documentaries to tell the stories of women who have run for political office.
In addition, ElectHER has partnered with the National Assembly to offer a program that teaches young women about the workings of parliament.
These initiatives are aimed at helping women gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in politics.
Another organization that is working to support women in politics is STER. STER has partnered with Kasala, an emergency alert and tracking app, to help women seek emergency support services. This partnership is aimed at addressing the safety concerns that many women face when running for political office.
Despite the efforts of these organizations, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity in politics. In particular, many are calling for the leading political parties to give more major tickets to women.
Some are suggesting that gender-inclusive policies be drafted in parliament and political parties, with women playing a key role in the development of these policies. Only by continuing to work towards gender equality in politics will we be able to ensure that women have the same opportunities to participate in the political process as men.
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
FOOTNOTE: Do you want to share a story with us? Do you want to advertise with us? Do you need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp +2348183319097 or email: email@example.com