Gender Inequality and Women Participation in Politics
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 the 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, religion, economic constraint and male chauvinism. The African society in general and Nigerian society, in particular, has placed most of the leadership roles on the menfolk, thereby championing the course of gender inequality.
Economically, some feminists perceive women’s marginality in the conduct and management of public affairs as arising from their entrenchment of the globalized capitalist’s 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 the majority of Nigerian women are peasants and homemakers. 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 the 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, representatives 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 in 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
What are the roles of women in Kaduna State politics, past and present?
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 the 2011 general election.
iii) To identify the cost of running an electioneering campaign that was high in the 2011 general election.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Women’s participation in Kaduna politics is a contentious issue in 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 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 of 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 the 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.
The researcher intends to adopt the quantitative method of data analysis. The primary source of data will be collected through questionnaires which will be administered randomly using the three senatorial zones of the state. The secondary source will include books, journals on gender inequality and also publications on electronic media. In collecting data, statistical tools will be used such as percentages and diagrams.
1.10 Definition of Terms
– Gender: Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviour, activities, and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women.
– Gender Inequality: Gender inequality refers to the 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 Rights: 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 participate and contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural development of the nation.
– Discrimination against Women: According to the new edition of Oxford Advanced Dictionary, discrimination is the practice of treating somebody or a particular group in society less fairly than the others. Discrimination against women, therefore, stands for the practice of treating women less fairly than men in society.
– Women Participation in Politics: According to Ibrahim and Salihu, the marginalization of women in society can be traced back to humanity’s history. It is not restricted to specific cultures and people, variations often occur in its nature and manifestation. However, it is by no means inherent in man’s nature but a social phenomenon that reveals itself through relationships and the emerging cultural values and norms often affirmed through the 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.
The project work is broken down into chapters, sections and sub-sections. Generally, there are five chapters in this research work.
Chapter One contains the introduction, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, research questions, assumptions, scope and limitation, research methodology and conceptual clarification.
Chapter Two is also broken down into sections and sub-sections, it contains the literature review which comprises the introduction, gender inequality, women and education in Nigeria, women and political participation in Nigeria, women and development, marginalization of women in power, and the theoretical framework of sexism.
Chapter Three contains the history of political participation of women in Kaduna State, the women participation in the first and second republic, the women participation in the third and fourth republic and women participation in the 2011 general election in Kaduna state.
Chapter Four will serve the purpose of data presentation and analysis, analysis of responses to General questions on Assessment of the nature of gender inequality and women participation in politics in 2011 general election in Nigeria, a case study of Kaduna state.
Chapter Five contains the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.
Gender Inequality and Women Participation in Politics: The Nigeria Experience
Generally, literature review means the review of the works of several authors, thinkers, philosophers, writers, commentators, who have written books on the same problem areas. The purpose of the literature review is, to provide a theoretical perspective for the research work.
For the purpose of this research work, therefore, the works of several authors will be reviewed. The concepts to be reviewed in those works including concepts like gender inequality, women and development, women and education in Nigeria, women and political participation, marginalization of women in power and the theory of sexism including its major proponents and tenets.
2.2 Gender Inequality
Gender Inequality is often stern from social structures that have institutionalized conceptions of gender differences. Cultural stereotypes are possible explanations for gender inequality and the resulting gender disparity. According to Margaret M. (1982), in her article written on the analysis on gender and society, women have been traditionally been designated to occupations that require such skills. While these skills are culturally valued, they were typically associated with domesticity. Therefore, an occupation requiring these skills is not economically valued. Men have been traditionally viewed as breadwinners or workers, so jobs held by men have been historically and economically valuing and paid higher wages.
Gender inequality can further be understood through the mechanism of sexism. Margaret M. further said in the article on society and gender argued that discrimination takes place in this manner as men and women are subjected to prejudicial treatment based on gender alone.
Evermore, she is of the opinion that sexism occurs when men and women are subject to prejudicial treatment based on gender alone. Sexism occurs when men and women are framed with two dimensions of social cognition.
Benevolent sexism takes place when women are viewed as possessing a low degree of competency and a high degree of warmth. Although this is the result of a more positive stereotype of women, this still contributes to gender inequality as the stereotype is only applied to women who only conform to the caring and nurturing stereotypes, with the remaining women still been discriminated against as they are not viewed in the positive light. In addition, this form of sexism has negative effects as well as these notions of women, which includes the idea that women are weak and in need of protection from men.
Hostile Sexism takes place when women are viewed as having a high level of competence but a low degree of warmth. This form of sexism is framed as an antagonistic attitude towards women and occurs, as women are perceived to be attempting to control men, either through sexual seduction or through feminist ideology.
Discrimination also plays out with networking and preferential treatment within the economic market. Men typically occupy positions of power within the job economy. Due to taste or preference for other men, because they share similar characteristics, men in this position of power are more likely to have and promote other men, thus discrimination against women.
Kurts in Ebere (2003), believes that gender has to do with the social complex relationship between males and females in society as well as the power and economic differential associated with them.
Inequality has to do with social factors in society. It deals with activities that are appropriate for males and females and what rights, resources and powers have inequality is a form of discrimination against the female folk. It is inadequate participation of women in developmental issues and the decision-making process.
According to Bukoye (2007), that gender discrimination is any distinction and exclusion made on the basis of sex that has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, employment or exercise by women irrespective of their marital status.
According to Colemen (1987), Gender Inequality or discrimination remain pervasive in many dimensions of life worldwide. This is so, despite considerable advances in gender equality in recent decades. The nature and extent of the discrimination vary considerably across countries and regions, but the patterns are striking.
In no region of the developing world are women equal to men in legal, social and economic rights. Gender gaps are widespread in access to and control of resources in economic opportunities, in power and political voice. This has dealt a deadly blow to development. Women who are intelligent are resourceful are relegated to the background simply because of age-long tradition and culture. What this means is that these women cannot contribute their own quota to the development.
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Faseke, M. (2001). The Nigerian Women: Her Economic and Socio-Political Status in Time Perspective, Ibadan: Agape Publication.
Ibrahim, J. and Salihu, A. [ed] (2004). Women Marginalization and Politics, Abuja: Osiwa Global Right CDD, pp. 7.
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Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, New Edition, Vienna Declaration 1993: Articles 1 and 8.
Sa’adu Zungur (1999). An Anthropology of the Social and Political Writings of a Nigerian Nationalist.