International Women’s Day  is significant, not only to women but to men as well. Women are vital in the home-front, economy, politics  and all spheres of life. They are mothers, sister, Aunts, teachers, soldiers, Engineers , pilots, administrators, preachers and what have you.

Women political participation is fundamental  and a pre-requisite for gender equality  and genuine democracy. This is to say  that it gives women the nerves  to engage themselves in  public decision –making  for a better accountability  to the women fold they represent  and the nation at large. Political manliness of women start with increasing  the number of women in decision-making offices but does not  stops  there.

Many things are required  among which are gender – sensitive governance  reforms  that will prop  all elected offcers  to be more effective and efficient  in promoting  gender equality  in public policy  and be assured  of its implementation.

In the Western Countries, women participate more in governance  and hold  vital political  offices.

 

In Africa fifty-four (54) countries, Nigeria  is at the lowest rung  being the fifty-forth(54) with a 5.45% of female  representation  struggling with Rwanda  taking  the back bench of 47.95%. The point here is  that we need  more women  in decision –making , in all sectors of governance.

 

In 2022, Independent Electoral Commission(INEC) precisely on the 8th of March(co-incidentally International Women’s Day) made the world to understand  that only 18b women made  the cut’’. According to INEC, ‘’the poor showing  of women  at the polls was not strange  as we saw it in the number  of women  candidates that contested  for elective positions.

 

For the record, 1553 of women  who contested  for positions  in 2023 elections, 72 emerged  at the Federal and State  levels. Out of the 72 women that emerged, 7 of them were elected  as deputy governors; 18 elected  to the National Assembly, 3 in the Senate and 15 in the House of Assembly. We can vividly say that this is not so good ;poor showing; We need more than that.

 

One of the pillars  of UN Women’s  work is advancing  women political  participation  and good  governance o ensure  decision-making  processes  are participatory, responsive , equitable  and inclusive’’. Efforts should be  more focused  on this strategic goal entry  point  to advance  the status  of women participation in governance and not to scare them.

 

The national average of women  political participation  in Nigeria  has remained minute ;about  6.7% in elective  and appointive positions. This  is far  below the global  Average  of 22.5% .African –Regional Average  of 23.4%  and  West  African Sub-Regional Average  of 15%.

 

Brief statistics  shows these: 7 Senators in 2015  and 2019, House of Representatives in 2015 was 22(68%) out of 360 members  and deflected to mere  11 in 2019(3.5%)

 

Nigeria , according to inter –parliamentary Union , women  in politics  Report 2022, ranked  184 out of 192 for women’s representation in the national parliament, only 21 women in the  9th National Assembly out of 469 members!!!

 

At the sub –national level, data from Invictus Africa shows  that there are only  45 women  out of 990 State Houses of Assembly Members, 15  of the States have no FEMALE MEMBERS!!

 

However, Nigeria Women  are excelling  in other spheres  apart  from political paticipations. We have our women spread everywhere as captains of Industries, in NGOs, oil and gas sector, education  and many more. They are  to be encouraged  to do more.

 

In the entertainment industry, women have made their marks and have their fame spread across the globe like wild fire in the harmattan. Veteran Nollywood actresses abound like ‘’Iya Rainbow’’, Omotola Jalade –Ekeinde, Mercy Johnson, Ini Edo, Funke Akindele a.k.a. Jenifa, Tonto Dike, Rita Dominic Genevieve Nnaji, Regina Daniels and a host of others.

 

In the arena of Music, we have female Artists  and Award Winners  like Tems, Simi, Sinach,  Asa, Waje, Tope Alabi, , Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Onyeka Onwenu, Chioma Jesu,Stella Monye, Salawa Abeni to mention but a few.They are all proving their mettle in their callings with the contents of their musical genres.

 

 

Back to Women participation  in politics  and political governance. There must  have been  some reasons  making  women  to be  drawing back   from contesting into various elective positions in government in Nigeria. This aspect  should be focused upon  and taken care of.

 

I am suggesting  the following  as panacea:

1. There should  be a legislation to ensure  political participation  of women  , otherwise,  the male counterparts will continue  to use  the avenue like religion , environmental culture, and Macho figure  to edge  out our women in participating in politics. Nigeria is not Afghanistan.

2.Campaign  for women participation  in politics  should not be reinforced  only during the election  periods-a fire-brigade-approach. It should  be a continuous  thing-a top-bottom  and bottom =top –approach for good development.

 

3.Loopholes  preventing them should be expunged.

 

  1. There should be a collection of programmes  aimed at  building  he capacity  of women to  play  effective  roles as partners  in progress  and nation builders and not as rivals.

 

  1. Rural women also should be targeted since development  at the grassroots is what  development is really is.
  2. Public Seminars on Women participation in politics and gender responsiveness should be emphasized.

7. Conduct Voter education  and workshop  at the village level (this is one of the herculean tasks of Minister for    Women Affairs)

  1. Train women in campaign skills-art of good presentation

9  Make use of the Media  to mobilize women  in order to increase women participation in politics(Media education-jingles ,short drama, playlets)

 

  1. Women leaders should try to work  with multiple stakehoders , women organizations, churches and mosques, governments  at all levels , private sectors etc to bring  more of them  into governance.

 

  1. Women leaders should be trained to boost their innate skills to be effective and efficient at elections as candidates and voters.

 

Nation building  should not be restricted to  men alone. Women  are sine-qua-non to development of democracy and governance all over the world.

 

Nigerian women  are coming up gradually  and should be allowed  to thrive.

Happy International Women’s Day 2024.

 

By-Idowu Akintunde

 

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

The Interviews Nigeria

By TheInterviewsNigeria

Publisher/Editor -in Chief with more than a decade of working in the media production industry, Our preoccupation is Development News and rooting for innovation locally and internationally. We are British trained Business English PRO. We edit manuscripts for book publication, translation(English/Yoruba/French). We cross your 't's' and dot your 'i's. We are also into speech draftsmanship and photography; Business reports, and proposals, with minimal cost. Meeting the deadline is our watchword. We would cover your Social /Public events with precision. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Call-08144956897, 08057355037 E-mail- theinterviewsng@gmail.com, akintunde.idowu@gmail.com

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