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GENDER INEQUALITY AND WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS: THE NIGERIA EXPERIENCE
1.1 Background of the Study
Gender inequality has been an issue for several centuries, the world over. Though history has it that fewer women have been in power even before colonialism. Instances are the Queen of Daura, the Sarauniya of Zazzau in pre-jihad, the Angwu Tsi who was almost the counterpart of the King, with her own Palace, in the middle belt, Iyayun the Queen who ruled in fifteenth century in Oyo, after the death of her husband (Modupe, 2001).
Though from the foregoing, it will be seen that very, very few women have had the opportunity in a leadership position, yet in every one or single case of women, there are several hundreds of the male counterparts.
Sexism has become a major problem in Nigerian politics. Women have been politically considered endangered species and their low participation in Nigerian government and politics is often associated with culture, religious, economic constraint and male chauvinism. The African society in general and Nigerian society in particular has placed most of the leadership roles on the men folk, thereby championing the course of gender inequality.
Economically, some feminist perceive women’s marginality in the conduct and management of the public affairs as arising from their entrenchment of the globalized capitalists relations of production. The traditional society did not recognize the contributions of women in any decision making process. The women are carefully ignored in any important meeting of the family, community and even in government establishments. Till today, community development meetings are always held at night thereby making it impossible for most women to attend.
A relationship, which ensures that majority of Nigerian women are peasants and home makers. Nonetheless, feminists have failed to fundamentally unravel in their explanatory analysis to the feminine gender self-emulating attitudes. Feminine gender-self-destructive factors is the decline of women participation in government and it is often lay in exist analysis, for instance, the 1991 population census put the number of Nigerian women at about 44 million which is almost 50%, and by implication, half of the Nigerian electorates (National Population Census Commission). This electoral power has not been converted to assertive feminine electoral and political advantages over the years (NNCC Report, 1991).
In recent past, however, especially in the wake of the millennium and also in the 2011 general elections, many women have risen up to the challenges of the time. Many women have come to assume leadership positions in both politics and religion. This is a giant step in the right direction as it will go a long way in breaking the jinx of gender inequality and male chauvinism in Nigeria society.
The 2011 general elections presented women with good opportunities to navigate the way to power, those in attendance were female legislators, representative of various women’s groups, women and male gender activists, the market women’s association, professional associations and media practitioners. All these groups of women are after the actualizing the 35% Affirmative Action Committee by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The 2011 general election was seen as a good platform to authenticate the voting pattern of Nigerian women. It is truly evident the active participation and the support of women to the 2011 campaigns and elections, hence the need for reflection and focused advocacy for the conscious and quality inclusion of women in the structures of the newly elected government and parliament through clear pronouncements and action (AIT’s Focus Nigeria, 2012).
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Gender inequality especially in the political arena is a serious challenge being faced by women in Kaduna State.
The statement of the problem therefore, is the issue of economic disadvantage which might have impacted negatively on the women’s participation in the 2011 general election in Kaduna State.
1.3 Research Questions
1 What are the roles of women in Kaduna State politics, past and present?
2 Why has there been this near absence of women in politics?
This study analyzes the gender inequalities in Kaduna State politics and redefines this problem in terms of the present political situation. The questions to be answered by this research work include the following:
i) What were the measures used by the government to improve women’s participation in politics during the 2011 general election?
ii) To what extent did women’s participation improve the politics of Kaduna State?
iii) Are the primary roles of wife and mother too demanding to permit women’s other kinds of activity in politics?
iv) What were the factors that combined to enforce discrimination against women in the 2011 general election?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objective, which this research work seeks to achieve includes:
i) To assess the nature of women participation in politics in Kaduna State 2011 general election.
ii) To identify the economic disadvantages associated with the women failure in 2011 general election.
iii) To identify the cost of running electioneering campaign which was high in the 2011 general election.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Women’s participation in Kaduna politics is a contentious issue in the Nigerian political life. The issue of inequality has therefore been perceived by different people especially the women folk as an attempt to erode their fundamental rights. This research work therefore will address the following:
– To proffer an enduring solution through its findings and recommendations.
– Contribute to the bulk of knowledge in the existing literature. Nevertheless, the project will also serve as a guide to future researchers who intend to investigate in this area.
H1: Women’s participation in politics is hindered by cultural, religious and economic factors.
H0: Women’s participation in politics is not hindered by cultural, religious and economic factors.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is aimed at women participation in politics and it shall be narrowed to the 2011 general election. The study will investigate the electoral process general elections and it will concentrate on gender and party politics.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The researcher was faced with a number of constraints in the process of carrying out this study. Some of them are discussed below:
1) Time: Time is one limiting factor of the study. This relates to the fact that this research work is one out of a number of different courses, the researcher is pursuing for first semester examination for the final year.
2) Inadequate Finance: The price of most of the materials needed for the study had been increased in the recent past. This constrained the researcher to strict conservation of almost everything at the expense of presenting a better work.
1.9Definition of Terms
– Gender: Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities, and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women.
– Gender Inequality: Gender inequality refers to disparity between individuals due to gender. Gender is constructed socially through social interaction as well as biologically through chromosomes, brain structures and hormonal differences (Wikipedia).
– Woman: Women is defined as an adult female person.
– Women Right: These are inalienable, integral and indivisible parts of universal human rights.
– Women Violation: These are gender-based violence, which may likely result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in private or public life.
– Women Empowerment: This refers to the provision and availability of opportunity and services which enables women to actively participation and contribute to political, economic, social and cultural development of the nation.
– Discrimination against Women: According to the new edition of Oxford Advance Dictionary, discrimination is the practice of treating somebody or a particular group in the society less fairly than the others. Discrimination against women therefore, stands for the practice of treating women less fairly than men in the society.
Women Participation in Politics: According to Ibrahim and Salihu, the marginalization of women in the society can be traced back to humanity’s history. It is not restricted to specific culture and people, variations often occur in its nature and manifestation. However, it is by no means inherent in man’s nature but social phenomenon that reveals itself through relationship and the emerging culture values and norms often affirmed through existing institutional and legal structure of the society. It is in the light of the foregoing that Odofu ad Omojuwa posited that, women worldwide are in a disadvantageous position and that the above statement currently situates the negative plight of women in global and historical context
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