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The Rise of Women in Politics in Nigeria

Women in Politics in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country with a rich and diverse history, and women have played a significant role in shaping it. However, when it comes to politics, women have historically been underrepresented. Nevertheless, over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of women actively participating in politics and advocating for women’s rights.

History of Nigerian Women In Politics In Nigeria

Women in Nigeria have had a long and arduous journey in politics. Prior to independence in 1960, Nigerian women were excluded from political participation, and their voices were silenced. This changed in the 1970s when the Nigerian government introduced affirmative action policies aimed at increasing the number of women in political leadership positions. The policies have had mixed results, but they have played a significant role in creating a more equitable political landscape.

Today, Nigerian women are increasingly involved in politics at all levels, from grassroots to national politics. Women have made significant progress in recent years in securing leadership positions. For instance, in 2015, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, known as Mama Taraba, became the first woman in Nigeria that came very close to be elected as a state governor –  this was later reversed by the Appeal and Supreme Courts of Nigeria. Similarly, in 2019, Senator Oluremi Tinubu became the first woman to represent Lagos State in the Nigerian Senate.

Plights of Women in Politics In Nigeria

Despite these achievements, women’s participation in Nigerian politics remains a challenge. Women are often marginalized and excluded from decision-making processes. There is also a pervasive cultural and societal bias against women in leadership positions. This makes it difficult for women to gain support and financial backing for their political campaigns.

Another significant barrier to women’s political participation in Nigeria is violence and intimidation. Many women politicians have been subject to violence and harassment, including verbal abuse, physical violence, and even assassination attempts. These threats have a chilling effect on women’s willingness to run for office and participate in politics.

Nevertheless, Nigerian women are actively working to overcome these challenges and increase their representation in politics. Many organizations, such as the Nigerian Women Trust Fund and the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, are working to support women’s political participation and promote women’s rights.

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In conclusion, women in Nigeria have made significant progress in recent years in securing leadership positions and advocating for women’s rights. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equity in Nigerian politics. Women face many challenges, including marginalization, cultural bias, and violence. Nevertheless, Nigerian women are determined to overcome these obstacles and continue their fight for equality and representation in politics.

Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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