Over the years, marginalization has characterized women participation in politics due to alleged inhibiting social, cultural and religious factors. These factors purportedly affect women’s active involvement in politics. However, various moves to correct this disadvantaged position of women in politics have proved abortive as the spate of women involvement is still low. Based on this challenge, this study appraised women political participation in Nigeria with special interest in Enugu State under the present Fourth Republic. The Ambivalent Sexism theory as espoused by Glick and Fiske (1997; 2001) was adopted as the framework of analysis for the study. This theory posits that there is a kind of relationship between men and women which results in deep ambivalence. It further maintains that hostile and benevolent sexism complement each other in reinforcing traditional gender roles and preserving patriarchal social structures of women as subordinate to men. The data for the study were collected using questionnaire as primary source, while textbooks, journals, internet materials were for secondary source. These data collected were analyzed using Linear Regression. The study revealed that perception of women and their traditional roles in the society largely militates against their active political participation in Nigeria especially in Enugu State (β =.258; t=4.589; p<0.01). However, the study recommended that all traditional, cultural and institutional inhibitions preventing Nigerian women from active participation in politics should be abolished at all cost.
Women involvement in governance and decision making has generated a lot of anxiety in international community. This is as a result of global anxiety on inactive political participation of women especially in Africa despite concerted efforts being made by governments, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups on the need for proper integration of women in political process of various countries.
Women do not only comprise the majority in terms of population in Nigeria, they also play a crucial role in society as procreators of posterity as well as producers of goods and services. Although, women have made great strides forward in obtaining a vote and right to be elected to political offices in the advanced countries of Europe, America and developing countries like India, they still constitute less than 15 per cent of the Members of Parliament, and less than 5 per cent of heads of states worldwide. They hold only a fraction of other leadership positions nationally and internationally (Kasomo, 2012:1). Men have continued to dominate women in political, economic, social, and religious realms in global records. This situation has necessitated the clarion call that women should be empowered by giving them due status, rights, and responsibilities to enable them participate actively in decision making at the political level (Kasomo, 2012:1). Consequently, issues concerning women have received serious attention from the United Nations and its specialized agencies. For instance, the principle of equality of men and women was recognized in the United Nations Charter (1945), and subsequently in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). There were also the Beijing conference and the affirmative principle, all geared at increasing women’s quota in political offices.
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