AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS
This study aims at assessment of public perception of women participation in politics in Dutsin-ma local government area of Katsina State. The study investigate the factors that influence participation of women in Nigerian politics among these factors are: Educating women equally with men, empowering women economically eliminate some cultural beliefs and the review of gender discriminatory laws. The study engages both primary and secondary source , including field survey, personal interview and questionnaire. The respondents (male and female) were selected from Dutsin-ma local government of Katsina State through quota sampling from the administration of questionnaires. The study reviews that the patriarchal system and male domination of the society, which relegate women to subordinate roles, has created women inferiority complex and alienated them from the mainstream politics in Dutsin-ma local government of KatsinaState. The Nigerian political culture of thuggery and gangsterism has made the political terrain too dangerous for most women to venture into mainstream politics, besides stigmatization of women politician by fellow women discourages the political participation of the former which Religious beliefs and institutional arrangement that restrict women to family responsibilities in the country coupled with lack of finance to encourage women participation have created a legacy that limit women political participation in Dutsin-ma local government area. Consequently, the study emphasizes the need to address these factors that entrench women subordination in Nigeria politics, these include domestication of international laws, the review of gender discriminatory laws, empowering women economically, educating women equally with men, the reformation of all Religious statutory and customary laws and practices that perpetuate women subordination in the country and the explicit specification and modalities of affirmative actions on women participation in politics as well as clear guidelines for implementation in the constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
This work assesses the public perception of women participation in politics in dutsin-ma local government area of katsina state.
Political participation according to Anifowose (2004), is a sin-qua-none for democracy, as democracy involves a commitment to equal opportunity for male and women to be involved in decision making in their immediate society.
Political participation involves these voluntary activities such as attending rallies, vying for position and party office, involving campaigns, voting and expressing oneself to political stimuli. However, the pursuit of these democratic principles, according to Anifowose (2004) shows that women are generally less empowered and apathetic. In general, participation are lower among women than men. Women are less well informed about issues and less able to identify public figures, less able several point of view, less likely to be concerned with issues in elections, Anifowose (2004).
For a long period of time, it is seen as if women largely accepted as “natural” the difference in their opportunities as relatively few women raise their voice in protest. Recently however, more and more women in countries have established women movement to protect and change not only discriminatory practice against themselves and society and began to participate in political affairs of their country. In some countries, women have struggle to gain political leadership, thus as rightly pointed out by Anofowose (2004), in 1979 Mrs. Margret Thatcher became great Britain’s first woman prime minister, the republic of Ireland voted into office Mrs. Mary Bobinson as women president. In other nations like India, Srilanka , Pakistan, Philippines and Israel, women have also occupied some sensitive political leadership position. Similarly, in Rwanda and South Africa 56.3% and 42.5% respectively of their national parliament comprised of women (international parliamentary union IPU, 2010). The Nigerian women have not been left out in this struggle as women organization are formed for “consciousness raising” campaigns to help women discover and develop new orientation (Lane,1958:209) Greinstein,(961:345).
A few Nigerian women have shunned apathy and demonstrated interest in the political affairs of their country. In 1999, for instance Hon (Mrs.), Margret Icheen who emerged as the speaker of Benue state house of assembly, became the first woman speaker of a house of assembly in Nigeria and the African continent. The farthest Nigeria has gone in achieving this is the appointment of 13 female minister by president Goodluck Jonathan, (UN women, 2014). Although, in the southern part of the country, the participation of women in politics has been on the increase in recent time, with the emergence of female deputy governor in Osun, Ekiti, and Lagos state. However in the north, little or nothing has been achieved in respect to political participation of women (Afolabi MM, 2009), making a study of this nature very imperative.