Participation of Women in Politics and Electoral Process in Nigeria is the Worst in Africa - Business Day
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has recorded the worst performance in terms of women participation in politics and electoral processes.
According to the Global Gender Gap index data of the World Economic Forum (WEF) analysed by BDSUNDAY, the country was ranked 135th out of 144 countries, scoring 0.052 in 2017, where score 0.00 means imparity and 1.00 means parity.
The index measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making through the ratio of women to men in ministerial and parliamentary positions.
Based on the data, Nigeria declined to 0.052 in 2017, from 0.097 in 2016, representing a 46.4 percent drop.
“The gap in political empowerment shows what we know already that Nigerian women are not participating in the political process anywhere near the rate of men,” Oreoluwa Lesi, executive director of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), said in an emailed response to BDSUNDAY inquiry.
There are also concerns from women about the unhealthy political environment which is a major challenge for women in politics.
“We don’t have a healthy political environment for a lot of women to participate because our system is full of violence, fraud, manipulation, etc,” Edobong Akpabio, executive director, Living Green Farms and Garden Foundation, said in a phone interview.
Also supporting the statement on the obstacles, Alison Phido, executive director, African Radio Drama Association (ARDA), said the poor performance of women in politics stems from poor access to finance, difficulty in accessing membership forms, sexual harassment especially from political godfathers, and the perception of women in politics.
The Beijing Platform for Action prescribed by the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China in 1985 has a benchmark for women participation in politics. But the country is not up to the benchmark.
“The Beijing framework said that every country should aim for at least 35 percent of women representation in politics, but in Nigeria we are not even up to 5 percent in that aspect,” Phido said.
The data also captures the best and worst African countries in terms of women representation in politics. The top five African countries include Rwanda which scored 0.539, South Africa scored 0.399, Mozambique scored 0.340, Namibia scored 0.318, and Burundi scored 0.255.
“Why other countries are above us is based on the certain measures put in place to include women in politics. For example in Rwanda, the head of state and political parties have made agenda to include a level playing ground for women to participate more in politics,” Phido said.
Also, the worst five include Nigeria which scored 0.052, Benin had 0.065, Burkina Faso scored 0.075, Botswana scored 0.079, and Chad scored 0.087.
The 2007 polls witnessed a slight increase in the number of women in the federal legislature which was 34. This reflects on the data where the country was ranked 106th, scoring 0.0519. But the figure went down further to 26 in 2011, causing the country to drop to the 121st position with a score of 0.0384.
“There is a recent framework that is going on in the national assembly and senate where women who have run for two terms will be asked or mandated to step down from their leadership positions so that the party royalty can go to the senate. That explains the decline,” Phido said.
As the country approaches elections in 2019, women are hoping that the government tackles all the obstacles on their path to allow for more women in both elective and appointive positions.
“The obstacles are many but if the government and political parties can show a good example of fairness or level playing ground for women, more women will come forward,” Phido said.
Lesi of W.TEC also said the government should develop strategies to get more women involved in political process and develop more policies that will prioritise the best interests of women, which would in turn benefit society as a whole.
Over the weekend, I joined my children to watch the
much talked about ‘Black Panther’. It was a good film, and I was happy they
took me to see it. However, I came out of the movie theatre a little upset. When the first scenes came up, and I saw “Sambisa Forest”
I was unhappy that the only reference the film makers could have for Nigeria
was a negative one, but I was later encouraged by the thought of Africans
solving African problems. That is a good thing, the kinds of things we used to
do. For young people who may not remember, Nigerian civil servants and indeed
most able citizens used to contribute money every month to support the struggle
against Apartheid in South Africa. Nigeria was the single stabilizing force
across West Africa. Helping to restore peace in Liberia and Sierra Leone are
examples of the gigantic status we once had.
The maiden edition of the 'my phone photography exhibition' held on the 23rd of March. The Shehu Musa Yar'adua Centre located in central area, Abuja, played host to this event. It was an atmosphere filled with calmness but you could also hear the joy and excitement in the voices of the over 100 people who came through the exhibition doors. The idea of the exhibition was born by one of the exhibitors (Omofuoma Agharite). Haven taken numerous pictures with her phone, she wanted to share those pictures with others and at the same time support a charity organisation. It was then that the idea was born and given to Ivy Events to nurture. After months of planning and execution, a group of exhibitors came together to showcase some of the amazing pictures that they had photographed with only their phones.