Empowering the Disempowered: Women Political Participation and Democratic Governance in Nigeria's Fourth Republic

Leke Oke

Abstract


 

 Nigerian women constitute about half of the population of the country and are known to have played vita] roles in societal administration as mothers, producers, community organizers and socio-political activists. However, in spite of the historical roles of women and their population, they are yet to be accorded the needed recognition in most societies and particularly in Nigeria This scenario is attributed to some cultural stereotypes, abuse of religion, traditional practices, thuggery, and commoditization of politics, militarism, and rigid patriarchal structures. The prolonged military rule engendered lackadaisical attitude to women issues and their empowerment resulting into lack of serious political will to prosecute and propagate issues relating to women. Thus, the Nigerian women are marginalised in governance and decision-making processes. The transition from dictatorship to democratic governance however, has not significantly impacted positively on women participation in politics. Although the number of women in political offices has improved since the inception of democratic rule in 1999, the degree of improvement remains marginal. This has implication for enduring progress and development. Utilizing qualitative research, and with the use of secondary data, the paper therefore analyzes the situation of Nigerian women vis-a-vis the new democratic regime. It contends that with democracy, nothing fundamental has changed about the marginalized uatus of the Nigerian women. With no serious official governmental policy towards empowering women, the paper concludes that a systemic individualized approach resulting in authorities imbibing democratic culture and having a democratized mind is capable of transforming and empowering the women.


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References


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