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Keywords: EFFECTS OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS ON THE DEVELOPMENT
The goal of this paper is to examine whether socio-economic factors strongly influence the participation of female gender in politics more than other factors. In view of the fact that the dependent variable of our model is binary on nature we used simple percentage analysis for evaluating the model. Our results show that socio-economics factors like involvement in public organisation or community project, patriarchy, income or investment level and education influence the level of political participation in Nigeria. However, the positive influence of a patriarchy implies that gender discrimination is a major cause of women’s abstinence from political participation in Nigeria. We recommend that women should encourage one another in social capital development as this has a twin advantage of social mobilization and economic empowerment.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Politics could be seen in its broadest aspect as the adjustment of effort of human’s attempting to co-exist in an inter-dependent relationship. It means that every form of human society would have some form of politics.
In every society, there are political resources needed to be shared among the people in the society and some set of people among members of the society are put in charge of the sharing of these political resources.
According to David Easton “politics is the authoritative allocation of values” (system analysis of political life, David Easton). What David Easton was saying here is that there are values (resources) in the society and it’s allocation or sharing has to be with authority, those in position of sharing must have authority backing them. This authority must be respected by all the members of that society because those in power were their representative. The adequacy of functioning of a political system may be decisive for the happiness and well being of members. Thus, these people constitute the government of that society.
Since the manner in which citizens participate in their political process integral to the manner in which the system functions, the question of why and how persons becomes involve in politics is crucial.
People relates to their political system in a variety of ways, some have passive relationship in the system while others are actively involved. Women have been at the receiving end because of their passive attitude towards their political structure. Only few of them have been given actively involved in politics and out of these few, small number of women have been given significant role to play in the political process have been critically looked into by different scholars both male and female as well and many reasons ranging from cultural, economical, religious as well as social reasons have been given.
Cultural, there are cultures and traditions in the past which forbids women participation in politics. Women have been in charge of taking care of their husband and children. Economically, in some parts of the Africa continent, it is women that goes to the farm, do the planting, harvesting and selling of the farm products. The money gained is used for the upkeep of the family. Because of these economic reasons, these sets of women hard have time for themselves nor to talk of participating in the decision process of the society. Most of the time, they have the political process of their husbands who have more time for it. Some religion also forbids women participation in politics because of the religious doctrines and ethics societal attitude towards women who participates in politics have been discouraging rather than encouraging. Most women have been throwned at by men who monopolizes the political process of the society saying that the women wants to challenge their authority in an issue that is exclusively theirs (mens). Worst still is the fact that among women of themselves, majority sees politics as men’s affairs and tagged the few among them who dare venture into politics as those that are not responsible.
The analysis of women’s role in Nigeria’s politics should be examine from the pre colonial period can be understood from the nature of the economic, socio and political actions, they were engaged in that period.
I should also perhaps state very clearly here, that before 1990 that none of the societies is currently make up Nigeria was static, the dynamics of change varied in intensity from one society to another. In Southern Nigeria for instant were no formal separate and explicit political institutions and roles.
This no description of any society in Southern Nigeria just before 1990 claim to represent a model of the pre-colonial traditional social structure. It can only offer a tentative description of that society at that point in time. In both old Oyo and New Oyo, the Oba, known as the Aladin, developed a highly centralized and complex palace administration which the Ogboni chiefs and Oyo mesi kingmakers in the background. (Atanda 1973:4; Babyemi, 1974).
Right from time, the woman have always maintained a prominent role in Nigeria politic. So, the place of women in Nigeria’s political and social firmament has always been a strong one.
In history, myths and legends across the country notable roles have been ascribed to them in the past and they have served as agents of change to bring positive verve to the tone of life in the society.
Over the years, women have been relegated to the background in issues of overall development especially in developing nations like Nigeria. This is borne out of the sentimental attachment of ferminitive gender.
The Nigerian women have always played crucial roles in the political life of this country, to a large extent this has helped in no small measure in shaping the political system of this nation. For anything good to happen to Nigeria, the women should be given great opportunity to serve as they constitute a larger portion of the population. The women should be seen participating in decision making of this country.
It must be made clear that the Nigerian women are now more politically conscious. They now play active roles in the politics of Nigeria. This is so because they have been politically reawakened. Although they could be said to have recorded some measures of appreciable political achievements in other political fields of endeavours, they are yet to produce a female president for the country.
Some Nigerian woman were seen to be political activists based on their strong voices and were strong forces to reckon with in the politics of their various regions during the pre independent era. The late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransom Kuti made a mark in the politics of the Western region. Another notable forces was Haija Gambo Sawaba who waged a fierce battle for the political and cultural emancipation of women in the North.
The Ibrahim B. Babangida era marked a turning point in the history of woman struggle in Nigeria, when Maryam Babangida institutionalized the office of the first lady in 1987 she became the first lady and launched the Better Life for Rural Woman Programme.
Other woman who have made impact in the country’s political scene, include Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala former Minister of Finance, who saved the nation records of billions of Naira as a result of her hard-working nature as a public officer. Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili also laid a landmark in the history of Nigeria politics.
Prof. Dora Akunyiliu the NAFDAC boss has also perfumed creditably, leading the fight against adulterated pharmaceutical drugs. Her name can never be forgotten in the annuals of history. There are myriads of woman in politics even presently that have done well and are still performing excellently well.
It is quite unfortunate that even as many countries across the globe are making frantic effort to bridge the gap between the men and women in politics. Nigerian women are relegated to the background. Even though their representation has improved more than before, it is still very low compared to what obtains in other nations of the world. Particularly in the developed nations. The representation of women in the last republic 2003 election, was poorly only 3 women made it to 109 members senate house, while 21 were elected in 360 members lower house representatives as it were, the number of serving female ministers is still very few.
The belief that women have some potentials and rights to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country cannot be ruled out. It is my earnest expectation that Nigeria should work towards achieving gender equality in democratic governance, increasing women participation and access to politics. It must be realized that the role of women as home makers cannot be down played in that it equally has an extended impact on their responsibility in service, the women touch anywhere cannot be matched.
Despite the fact that women constitute about 49 percent of the total population, they are discriminated against in the political process. The marginalization of Nigeria women is more pronounced in the democratization process. The present National Assembly in Nigeria has an appalling low average of 0.05 percent of women in both houses.
It is true that the limited conception of the political relevance of women is responsible for their political marginalization. While it is important to increase the number of women in public offices, the more fundamental question raised is about the character of democracy in Nigeria. Is it gender sensitive?
The women for change initiative (W4CI) which was the pet project of the first lady of Nigeria Dame patience Jonathan was launched on July 16th, 2010 with about 2,000 Nigerian women coming together to say “yes” we can, has been visiting some states to flag off the massive awareness campaign.
Recently, the efforts of the Nigerian women and Africa – American women were lauded by the outgoing, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders when she highlighted the achievement of the women like Funmilayo Ransom Kuti and Grace Alele Williams as well as those of African American standard bearers. Like Mary Meleod Bethune, she called on women to be involved in Nigeria’s cornerstone and transformative 2011 election as it is a must do for Nigeria to get it right as regard election credibility and transparency.
Women in Nigeria face a lot of odds when they contest against men. Our politics has never been on merit or issues; rather it is about those who have all it takes to force their way into office. The parties often want those who can match violence with violence, those who can coerce people to vote for them, they are widely held to be more prepared to engage in violence than women.
I am in total support of the first lady in the sense that her pet project aimed at advancing strategies for gender equality, equity and promotion of affirmative action principles and mechanism for effective resource management and accountability. It is also to develop a mechanism which could enhance the legislative process in Nigeria including domesticating international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This research is borne out of the belief that Nigeria women have not been participating actively in the decision making process of their society. Even after it has been stipulated in the constitution of Nigeria in 1979 that “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community… sex, religion or political opinion shall not by any reason be subjected either expressly by or in the practical application of anti-law enforce in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, sex, religion or political opinion are not made subject” (section 39 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Publicity of Nigeria 1979).
On the eligibility to register as voter in any elections, section 71 (2) of the same constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979 as amended provides that every citizens who has attained the age of 18years residing in Nigeria, the same time of the registration of voters for purpose of election to the legislation house, shall be entitle to be registered as a voter for that election.
Despite all these law, Nigerian women are still been discriminated upon by men. Women are seen as power behind the throne while the men are meant for the throne. Rural women had been neglected in the administration of their political system.
The fact that rural women are not educated does not meant they are not eligible to participate because they pay taxes just like any other women in the urban centres. The level of mobilization of women themselves, the government and other non-government association is low. The issue of some cultural and religion belief that women are meant for a particular role also hindered the level of participation of most women in politics.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This research purpose is to examine the effect of women participation in politics, essentially, quest for democracy are demands for empowerment of some sort, it economic, social or political. Most often, this empowerment appear in form of recognition of rights and entitlement through different forms of legislation, or through granting certain financial and economic concessions or even through facilitating access to a range of resources and positions.
The experience of post-colonial Nigeria has been that of unchecked development of political machinery and abuse of power by the state power as a relationship between the state and the citizens as well as among citizens themselves, needs to be redefined and negotiated. This redefinition of power also means that a broader and more diverse political playing field is possible. Women can effectively bring a different perspective into politics, based on experience. They can also enable a politics of difference. In other words, the more the gender dimension asserts itself on the political scene, the more it is possible to see a different horizon for identity formulation, one that may go beyond traditional frameworks based or ethnicity, religion, age, caste or class. Currently women remain a less privileged section of any society, no matter what their religious or ethnics affiliation, tribe or class. The broader the possibilities for identification, the greater the option to form alliances across traditional political lines in theory and to some extent in practice. Women can come together across party, ethnic, tribal and religious lines, because they are able to see commonality of purpose that transcends these divisions.
Challenged by the progress made by women globally, Nigerian women are currently engaged in the struggle and advocacy for political inclusion. Women have through various coalitions efforts, on Affirmative Action, CEDAW, Gender and Constitution, addressed the issue of political marginalization, as only three percent of Nigerian women hold an elective of appointive position at the federal, state and local level.
Historically, women played various important roles in the palace administration. The women of the palace were called in general AYABA meaning… but they were of various ranks and grades, highest in rank were those of the grade Iya afin, who were usually wives of the preceding alafin, next the ayaba of the present alafin then the female Ilori (slave officials) and then the ordinary slave women.
A similar tradition among the Igala of Northern Nigerian holds that the Igala kingdom was mounded by a woman, Ebele Ejaunu. There were also female sovereigns in Northern Nigeria, prominent among whom was Queen Amina of Katsina in the fifteenth century, who extended her influence as far as the Nupe, built many cities and is still held to have been responsible for introducing the kolanut to the region (Lebeuf) 1963-94.
In other societies, however, there was much greater sex differentiation. When this sex differentiation resulted in women forming their own strong organisation, as among the Igbo and Ibibio, women controlled their own affairs and possessed political influence on the basis of their collective strength. Where such female organisation was lacking as among the Ijo, Kalabari, Efik, Edo, and Itsekiri women, their political power as a collectivity was negligible though individual women of high status could exercise political power as a collectivity. Though individual women of high status could exercise political power either through the office of the queen mother (Benin) or through their personal relationships with the male rulers. In socially stratified societies women of high ascriptive status always occupied a higher social status position than the commoner men as well as women.
However, in Yoruba and Riverrine Igbo societies, not only the individual high status women but also women as a collective possessed political power through their organisations and through their representatives, the Igbo Omu and the Yoruba Iyalode.
It would seem that differences in sex political differentiation are explicable in terms of the different social structures. However, these social structures in nineteenth-century Southern Nigeria had developed as such through a sequence of historical events and were undergoing considerable internally and externally generated changes, especially from the mid-century on. Some of these changes and events provided the opportunities for women to play a greater part in politics while others were later to inhibit women’s political activities.
The Yoruba wars demanded extraordinary services from both men and women were able to rise to the occasion, they were rewarded with greater political responsibility as in case of the Egba and Ibadan Iyalode. The disturbances and disolication in Efik and Itsekiri societies at mid-century enable two women to wield unprecedented political power, while the Omu of Ontisha in the 1880’s tried to capitalize of her office to support the new Christian religion in Ontisha. The end of the century initiated another sequence of historical events which was to affect women’s political roles adversely, pre-colonial African women occupied a position complementary, rather than subordinate to the men has been shown, the sex segregation which existed in many spheres of the society often enable women to control their own affairs.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. The research question is prepared in accordance to what the questionnaire will look like.
2. Do you need your husband’s permission before you can do anything pertaining to politics?
3. Do you belong to any political group or organisation, if yes, will you like to contest for political office?
4. Do you foresee any future for Nigeria women in politics?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1. The more educated women are the more participating in politics.
2. Knowing your right is knowing your responsibilities.
3. Women with high sense of civic duty tend to participate more in politics than those who are not.
4. The higher the level of social economics status attained, the more women involvement in politics.
5. Women in society there religion and culture do not restrict their roles tend to participate more than where such is not.
1.6 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The delimitation of the research will be based on the use of questionnaire. This will be complimented with the facts gathered from personal observation and write-ups in journal newspaper. Data will then be interpreted and analysed and there after suggestion will be offered. Adequate consultation and use of academic materials with scholar’s works will also be used.
1.7 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
For the purpose of clarity and proper understanding, concepts like politics, political system, influence, development, participation, effect etc used in this project will be explained in details.
POLITICS: According to Easton (1967) politics is the authoritative allocation of values.
POLITICAL SYSTEM: According to Dahl (1986) is any president pattern of human relationship that involves to a significant extent control, influence, power or authority.
INFLUENCE: According to Spectrum’s Mini English Dictionary (1987), influence is the ability to make somebody or something changed. Ability to have effect on others.
RESOURCES: Minerals or materials needed.
DEVELOPMENT: An evolution from one stage to another to grow from one place to another.
PARTICIPATION: Voluntary activities by which members of the society share in the selection of rulers directly or indirectly.
EFFECT: A change or result that happen because of an event or actions.
Keywords: EFFECTS OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS ON THE DEVELOPMENT