GENDER INEQUALITY AND WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS
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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 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, religious, economic constraint and male chauvinism. The African society in general and Nigerian society in particular has placed most of the leadership roles on the men folk, thereby championing the course of gender inequality.
Economically, some feminist perceive women’s marginality in the conduct and management of the public affairs as arising from their entrenchment of the globalized capitalists 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 majority of Nigerian women are peasants and home makers. 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 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, representative 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 to 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.