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Advocacy Ask

CENTRE LSD ADVOCACY ASK

FOR INCREASE WOMEN POLITICAL REPRESENTATION ON THE NDI SAGE MASCULINITY PROJECT

Introduction

Women represent half of the world’s population. Their non-involvement in active politics is akin to an athlete who has two healthy legs but opts to run with one leg. The athlete ultimately will under achieve compared to his/her competitors who utilized their two legs, Dandaura (2020).

Interestingly, Nigeria is among the countries with low levels of women representation in political positions (Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Cheeseman, 2016: 67)). Report from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that between 1999-2015, only 6% of Local Government Councillors were women, 24% of Judges in the Federal Court were women, and the total number of women in high-level government appointments and senior administrative positions stands at approximately 7%.

The restrictions women face in their quest for gender parity manifest according to the National Democratic Institute (NDI), at the individual, institutional and socio-cultural levels. At the personal level in terms of behavior of the individual, culturally in images and stories, and at the institutional level in the form of policies and practices.

Gender inequality is said to be one of the major human rights violations that reflects in unequal opportunities of women and men in various spheres of public life. This also extend to political representation, decision-making, economic opportunities, access to resources, empowerment in the family and women’s vulnerability to discrimination, etc.  Nigeria, like most African countries is a patriarchal society, where the toxicity of masculinity pervades politics, economy, and the society at large.  The political scene is not exempted from this manifestation. Control of women’s political aspiration, positions and functions has almost become a norm in Nigeria.

Over the past decades, different stakeholders have attempted to reduce and eradicate the none or poor representation of women in the political spheres in Nigeria. Most of these interventions were championed by women, thus making it appear like gender inequality problems are mainly ‘women’s issues.  Over the past years however, there has been a growing recognition of the need to involve men in promoting gender equality, particularly ensuring women active participation in politics. It is in a bid to take this forward, entrenching a masculinities approach in the intervention to increase women’s representation in public office, Centre LSD is implementing a 1-year project on “Engaging male champions for improved participation of women in politics”, with the aim of recruiting male champions to catalyze the discussion and campaign around the role, responsibilities, and potentials of men in advancing women participation in politics.

Centre LSD during the implementation of this project will work with coalition partners to mobilize male champions. These champions will become change agents, in shifting cultures within political parties and other relevant institutions to allow for more meaningful participation of women at all levels.

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