Political Party Reforms
- Quota system within political parties: Political parties should adopt a quota system in favour of gender equality, such that at least 35% of the party’s positions are reserved for women.
- Gender Empowerment: Political Parties should embrace and adapt gender empowerment principles into their party policies and manifestoes and commit to improving the representation of women both within and outside the party beyond the position of ‘women leader’.
- Deliberate design of Party primaries to favour women: Political parties should avoid the use of ‘indirect primaries’ to select candidates, where a small number of leaders choose party flag bearers. This system naturally favours the men for two reasons. First men are often the incumbent occupants of the political position being vied for by the women. Second, since there are very few women in party leadership structure, it automatically places female candidates at a disadvantage since very few women are in party leadership positions.
- Reduction in Nomination Fee: The nomination fees in political parties are often beyond the reach of would-be women aspirants, thus constraining the active participation of women in the political process. Women success during nomination often requires the influence of party elders, most of whom are men. Therefore, reducing the nomination cost would mean more women vying for elective position.
- Mentorship and grooming of female members of the parties: The rules of engagement as it is now, from the nomination stage till election are ‘defined and organised around male norms and values’ which puts the women at a disadvantaged position. Parties should mentor and groom women for elective positions as many women do not have the experience of campaigning, organising and winning support in male-dominated environments.
- Reduce campaign funds: It has been observed that the huge Campaign funds also makes it impossible for women inclusion and participation in politics. In Nigeria, it costs so much to run campaigns for political offices. This makes elective positions to be out of the reach of most women who are desirous to run for such offices. It is almost impossible for them to win their male counterparts. But if there is a limit to campaign finance, women would be able to compete favorably with their male counterpart.
- Nocturnal Political Meetings: Most caucus meetings to map out political plans are at odd hours that are usually not conducive for responsible and married women. But if these meetings are shifted and held during the day, there is a higher likelihood of increased women participation in the meetings as well as in vying for elective position.
- Patriarchy: the Nigerian society is ruled and dominated by men and this places women as home makers not fit for the rigors of politics. Citizens especially the male folks view any woman vying for elective position as an abnormal, with the entrenched belief that the place of the woman is in the kitchen and the other room. For most Nigerians, women have no business being in politics or occupying elective Stakeholders need to begin to deconstruct masculinity and commit to reorientating the public, their subject, followers, etc. of the need to give women a level playing ground.
- Stigmatization: Politics is seen as a dirty business meant for men who can easily compromise their values for pecuniary benefits. Women in politics are ladies’ bereft values and virtues. This perception also needs to change to allow women maximize their opportunities.
- Women Movement organizing: There is an increasing need to begin a rigorous education of women in the political space to reduce over dependence on money bags. This mobilization of women into strong movements will help them advance their socio-economic and political fortunes.
- Stakeholder should commit to initiatives to partner with men and boys in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
- Establishment of a Women Trust Fund which will provide grants to female aspirants. This will enable them finance specific campaign activities, develop their leadership skills, conduct research when necessary and generate information as well as execute gender equality related advocacy activities.
- Quota System: INEC need to reform the political process by introducing quota system that will allow for more representation of women in elective position. At least 35% of elective and appointive positions should be reserved for women who are qualified for these positions.
- Amendment of the electoral law to reflect equal representation of men and women in all political With this political party(ies) will ensure that candidates for legislative, regional, municipal, and rural elections show equal number of male and female candidates, or at least a minimum of 35% of the positions given to women across board.
- Innovative electoral reform: INEC should introduce innovations in the electoral reform, like for instance, during elections, each electorate is given three ballot papers, the first for general candidates, the second ballot has only women candidates, and the third has only youth candidates. This way, every voter will be expected to elect one candidate from each ballot paper. This by extension, ensures that each electorate vote for at least one woman and one youth in any electoral cycle. Another innovation is adopting zipper method, which places male and female candidates alternatively in frontline and deputizing positions, to protect women from situations where they are packed at the bottom, where candidates have fewer chances of being elected.
The Nigerian government need to adopt a new policy framework that facilitate women participation in public and political activities. These includes:
- Institutional arrangements where gender becomes an entrenched Public Administration systems and processes.
- Integration of gender and social inclusion targets in economic policies, budgets and development frameworks should be established.