Background of the Study
Democratic government is established upon freedom, justice and equal treatment of all citizens– men and women alike, by the society (Nwabueze, 1993:2). This is because democracy presupposes equal opportunity platform for political participation and decision making process (Sodaro, 2001:27). Since equal political participation is sin qua non to democracy (Anifowose, 2004), a society cannot be truly democratized without the full and active participation of women who constitute about 50% of the population of each country. Incorporation of gendered perspective in policy making process is thus imperative for sustainable democracy. Gender equality is globally accepted as a requisite for achieving development and democratic governance that give men and women equal voices in decision-making, policy implementation and attaining MDGs (Ezeilo, 2008). Despite widespread democratization in most countries and the struggle by the feminist movements for the integration of gender balancing in the national politics of countries over the world however, women who constitute about 50% of Nigeria population still remain systematically alienated from politics and decision making process in the country (Agbalajobi, 2010 & Arowolo & Aluko, 2010). The phenomenon of women low participation in Nigeria’s politics became worrisome following the demise of military rule and then the transfer of power to a civilian democratic administration in 1999. Nigerian Government in its efforts to tackle this phenomenon of low women’s political participation ratified some national and international instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1989 and adopted a National Policy on Women in 2000 (replaced by a National Policy on Gender Equality in 2007 and Platform for Action, the National Committee on Affirmative Action, the Additional Protocol to The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 2003, The African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality 2004, The National Gender Policy 2006, etcetera (Akiyode-Afolabi & Arogundade, 2003; Ajayi, 2007). After three consecutive democratic change of government (1999, 2003 and 2007) however, gender inequalities, discriminations and stereotypes continue to exist in all spheres of the Nigerian polity, preventing women from developing and exercising their full human capabilities and to play a powerful role in sustainable democracy. The objective of democratic consolidation in Nigeria cannot be realised if the womenfolk who constitute about half of the national population continue to be marginalised. It is against this backdrop that it has become important to interrogate the currency of the phenomenon, factors accentuating it and measures to reduce phenomenon or engender a gender balance. This paper is divided into five sections. Section one is the introduction while section two is the conceptual analysis. Section three undertakes an analysis of gender relation in Nigeria’s politics. Section four is the research method and section five focuses on an empirical survey of factors responsible for this phenomenon. Section six concludes and draws policy recommendations for improved women’s political participation in Nigeria.
Statement of Research Problem
Gender inequality especially in the political arena is a serious challenge being faced by women in Rivers 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 Rivers State.
What are the roles of women in Rivers State politics, past and present?
Why has there been this near absence of women in politics?
This study analyzes the gender inequalities in Rivers 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:
Objectives of the Study
The objective, which this research work seeks to achieve includes:
Significance of the Study
Women’s participation in Rivers politics is a contentious issue in the 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:
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 general elections and it will concentrate on gender and party politics.
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:
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 publication on electronic media. In collecting data, statistical tools will be used such as percentage and diagrams.
Definition of Terms
OTHER SIMILAR POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECTS AND MATERIALS