State, Women and Democratisation in Africa: The Nigerian Experience (1987-1993)

The current democratization process in Africa is considered essential to grapple with the enormous economic problems confronting most African countries. But one cannot speak of real democratization when women and indeed the whole of civil society are marginalized. The empowerment of civil society is essential. However, civil society itself cannot be truly democratic as long as women are regarded as second-class citizens. Within this framework of analysis, the author explores the impact of the democratization process on women, in particular in Nigeria. She reviews the activities of several institutions that were set up under the Babangida administration, notably the BLP (Better Life Programme for rural and urban women), headed by the First Lady. She notes that these organizations were not independent but were controlled by the State. As for the BLP, it failed to reach the less privileged women. In some African countries, women are emerging politically, but they are too few to ensure any drastic change in women’s favour and the situation of African women has not changed significantly as a result. A really democratizing State must review the laws and norms of the country to eliminate the subordination of women. Education of women is essential to make them aware of their position. Bibliogr.

Title: State, Women and Democratisation in Africa: The Nigerian Experience (1987-1993)
Author: Williams, Pat
Year: 1997
Periodical: Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume: 22
Issue: 1
Pages: 141-182
Language: English
Notes: biblio. refs.
Geographic terms: Nigeria
West Africa
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24482787
Abstract: The current democratization process in Africa is considered essential to grapple with the enormous economic problems confronting most African countries. But one cannot speak of real democratization when women and indeed the whole of civil society are marginalized. The empowerment of civil society is essential. However, civil society itself cannot be truly democratic as long as women are regarded as second-class citizens. Within this framework of analysis, the author explores the impact of the democratization process on women, in particular in Nigeria. She reviews the activities of several institutions that were set up under the Babangida administration, notably the BLP (Better Life Programme for rural and urban women), headed by the First Lady. She notes that these organizations were not independent but were controlled by the State. As for the BLP, it failed to reach the less privileged women. In some African countries, women are emerging politically, but they are too few to ensure any drastic change in women’s favour and the situation of African women has not changed significantly as a result. A really democratizing State must review the laws and norms of the country to eliminate the subordination of women. Education of women is essential to make them aware of their position. Bibliogr.