1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Politics involves struggles by groups to achieve power, and to use the power in the authoritative distribution of resources of the state (Easton, 1965). In every democratic society politics and governance is supposed to be the right of all (Ogunna, 1996). Reasoning along this perspective, that in democracies, the right to vote and be voted is for every citizen (Nnoli, 2013). However, in Nigeria, women have been isolated in politics and governance. Although, most recently women have increased their consciousness, not only in politics, but in other areas of vocations, yet, they have not been adequately fixed into the executive posts (Adeyemo, 2013). Since independence, Nigeria has not gotten a female president. There have not been opportunities for them in the Governorship positions. Nigeria still perceives women as not fit to occupy executive positions (Adenuga, 2010). Adimorah (2008) observes that certain issues of restraining the average Nigerian women, for instance, economic depression political instability, moral decadence, religious intolerance, social and cultural disorientation, spiritual emptiness, educational inadequacies and bankruptcy in values. Yet Amazons like Margaret Ekpo, Fumilayo Ransome Kuto still existed (Adimorah, 2008). In the first, second and third, up till Jonathan era, women have been alienated. But some women have been exceptional, however, in so many areas. The participation of women in governance and politics is of strategic importance not only for women empowerment, but because it has wider benefits and impact (British Council Gender in Nigeria report 2012). Disadvantaged people and or groups can obtain fair representation only if they are present in elected assemblies. Based on the above therefore, women and men should be represented at decision making-bodies levels locally, regionally and nationally particularly where crucial resources are distributed and are allocated. Nigeria has made several efforts to ensure the participation of women who are the excluded to participate in governance issues through the adoption and creation of some institutions that will facilitate the full participation of women in governance. However, the question here is, are these institutions and agencies fully implementing the charters and treaties to its convincing conclusion? In 1985, Nigeria ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women of 1979 (CEDAW). But it is worthy to note that the operation of the 30 articles of the convention in Nigeria is not achieved. Nigeria also adopted the 1985 Beijing Platform of Action and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The African Charter on People’s Rights, The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo protocol). Even with the affirmative action of 35% representation of women in political and non elective positions in Nigeria, the number of women in the legislative houses is not encouraging as a result of the patriarchal dominance of the men in Nigeria. The essence of political participation in any society, either civilised or primitive, is to seek control of power, acquisition of power and dispensing power to organise society, harness and distribute resources and to influence decision making in line with organised or individual interests (Arowolo and Abe, 2008). All groups (including those of women) seek to influence the dispensation of power in line with their articulated interests as a fundamental motive of political participation. Women, in their gradual consciousness of state of mind also, in recent times, increasingly seek power equation and distribution and redistribution of resources in their favour. Although, careful observations have indicated that the involvement of women in Nigerian politics is largely noticeable at the level of voting and latent support, Adeniyi (2009) has identified violence and other forms of electoral conflicts perpetrated and perpetuated by men and male youths as the major barriers confronting and inhibiting women active participation in Nigerian politics Arguments are on the increase on the specific role women should play in the society. Opinions are divided on whether the role of women is predominantly in the home fronts or women can also engage in other socio-economic and political activities like their male counterparts. It is, however, believed that while the natural relationship between mother and her child may compel and confine her to sedentary activities, it is also important that such mother should contribute her quota to the development of her family and that of her society at large. The focus of this paper is the aspect of participation of women in societal activities that relate primarily to politics.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, there has been raging debates over the participation or desire of women in Nigerian politics. Some argue that: Women are regarded as weaker sexes are social constructs owing to social value, norms and beliefs, which have neglected their meaningful contributions and have placed them in a subordinate position to men in the nation’s political system. This ‘sexual division of labour’ in the political system is often traced to the onset of colonialism in Nigeria. Their Western cultural notion of male superiority reflected in their relations with Nigerians. The political enfranchisement of women in Nigeria politics seems to have maintained on the surface a level of gender equity politically, because it is assumed that constitutionally there are not barriers to women’s participation. But what exactly is/are the problems and prospects women encounter in their quest to participate in politics? Women movements can be said to have been largely responsible for increase in political participation of women. Kira Sanbonmatsu recognized an important variable responsible for the increase in women participation other than women movements. In her study, she concluded that “women would be even more supportive of electing more women to public office if they were knowledgeable as men about the extent of women’s under representation” (Sanbonmatsu 2009). She also went further to distinguish their ‘descriptive’ representation from ‘substantive’ representation. Descriptive representation referred to the representation of their respective constituency, whereas substantive referred to representation based on gender (the prioritizing of the pursuit of women interest by female representatives). Thus, is women’s participation actually substantive – for the pursuit of the interest of women; is women’s participation actually descriptive – for the pursuit of the interest of their constituency; or is women increase in political participation a movement in itself? This study is aimed at evaluating women’s participation in politics; those factors responsible for increase in participation and those that hamper participation. This study is also to determine if substantive representation is fundamental to women participation or not. Finally, this study is to determine the extent of women participation in politics and social decadence in Nigeria.
1.3. AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the political participation of women and decadence in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the level of women participation in politics in Nigeria.
2. To examine the factors leading to the growth of women participation in politics in Nigeria.
3. To examine the impact of women's participation in politics on moral values in Nigeria.
4. To examine the specific factors responsible for the low level of political participation of women.
5. To examine the relationship between women political participation and social decadence in Nigeria.
6. To examine the possible hindrances to the involvement of women in politics.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of women participation in politics in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors leading to the growth of women participation in politics in Nigeria?
3. How has the participation of women in politics impacted on the moral values in the society?
4. What are the specific factors responsible for the low level of political participation of women?
5. What is the relationship between women political participation and social decadence in Nigeria?
6. What are the possible hindrances to the involvement of women in politics?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no impact of women's participation in politics on moral values in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant impact of women's participation in politics on moral values in Nigeria.
H0: There is no significant relationship between women political participation and social decadence in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between women political participation and social decadence in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
As an academic venture, the significance of this type of study is so enormous that one cannot comprehend such with or limited ordinary words. In the first place, one can rightly say the significance of the study, is to unmask the nature and character of the Nigeria political system and then use such as a prelude for analyzing the nature and character of Abia state politics with particular reference to the degree of participation of women in the politics of Abia State. The work shall unveil in the political activities of Nigeria and Abia State in particularly from the sector, it shall assess the fundamental factors, responsible for low training of women in the politics of Abia State and Nigeria in general. Going by this trend, the study shall also provide both women and often political stakeholders there required information necessary for addressing the problems of low training of women in participation of the political of Nigeria and Abia State. Theoretically, there has been for a general work on Nigeria women especially in the sphere of politics. This will give an overview of the subject, incorporate and synthesize the various views of women and their effort to emancipate themselves from the social, economic, cultural and political subjugation which they find themselves. This work will contribute a lot in this aspect. At the empirical level, women especially those aspiring to political position, will equally be policy makers in general. It would give them insight into the hindrance (economic, social and culture) to women’s aspirations in the political spheres, and therefore, know how to make legislations, which would encourage their effective participation in politics.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on political participation of women and social decadence in Nigeria, a case study of Arochukwu L.G.A, Abia State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Woman: Female aged 18 years of age and above.
Women politicians: A woman who has ever vied or served as a member of parliament or a civic leader. It also refers to aspiring members of parliament or county assembly representative.
Political participation: Vying for a civic or a parliamentary seat.
Gender equality: This refers to equal opportunity and outcomes for women and men. It involves the removal of discrimination on grounds of a person’s sex in process of claiming political leadership.
OTHER SIMILAR POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECTS AND MATERIALS