Global Resources

Challenges to women active participation in politics in Nigeria

Author: U Nwabunkeonye
Publication Date: Jan 2014

The poor participation of women in politics and governance has been a major concern at the global level. In Nigeria, the number of women participating in politics is not proportionate to the 50% of the nation’s population which they represent, and has not translated into equal representation in political leadership positions. Rising global focus on issues of gender equality, aided by calls such as that of goal three of the Millennium Development Goals, is bridging the gap created by long-term discriminations against women, and helping to make women more visible in politics. In this context, Nigeria has recognised women in the political sphere, and included them in both appointive and elective positions.

Yet, the poor participation of women in Nigerian politics persists, and the number of women in political positions is growing at a slow rate despite efforts to accelerate the trend. This paper examines the challenges Nigerian women still face to actively participate in politics, such as: discriminatory socio-cultural and religious practices; insufficient financial resources; the under-representation of women in governance; an unhealthy political environment; political party discrimination; false perceptions of women in politics; lack of support from family, fellow women, and the media; and the indigenisation of women political aspirants.

The paper recommends measures to guarantee women active participation in politics in Nigeria, including a review of discriminatory practices; economic empowerment; support from family, fellow women and media; equal representation in governance; a healthy political environment; and efforts to correct negative and stereotyped views of women politicians.

[adapted from source]