Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has recorded the worst performance in terms of women participation in politics and electoral processes.
According to the Global Gender Gap index data of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Nigeria was ranked 135th out of 144 countries, scoring 0.052 in 2017, where score 0.00 means imparity and 1.00 means parity.
The index measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making through the ratio of women to men in ministerial and parliamentary positions.
Based on the data, Nigeria declined to 0.052 in 2017, from 0.097 in 2016, representing a 46.4 percent drop.
“The gap in political empowerment shows what we know already that Nigerian women are not participating in the political process anywhere near the rate of men,” Oreoluwa Lesi, executive director of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), said in an emailed response to BDSUNDAY inquiry.
There are also concerns from women about the unhealthy political environment which is a major challenge for women in politics.
“We don’t have a healthy political environment for a lot of women to participate because our system is full of violence, fraud, manipulation, etc,” Edobong Akpabio, executive director, Living Green Farms and Garden Foundation, said in a phone interview with BDSUNDAY.
Also supporting the statement on the obstacles, Alison Phido, executive director, African Radio Drama Association (ARDA), said the poor performance of women in politics stems from poor access to finance, difficulty in accessing membership forms, sexual harassment especially from political godfathers, and the perception of women in politics.
The data also captures the best and worst African countries in terms of women representation in politics. The top five African countries include Rwanda which scored 0.539, South Africa scored 0.399, Mozambique scored 0.340, Namibia scored 0.318, and Burundi scored 0.255.
“Why other countries are above us is based on the certain measures put in place to include women in politics. For example in Rwanda, the head of state and political parties have made agenda to include a level playing ground for women to participate more in politics,” Phido said.
Also, the worst five include Nigeria which scored 0.052, Benin had 0.065, Burkina Faso scored 0.075, Botswana scored 0.079, and Chad scored 0.087.
As the country approaches elections in 2019, women are hoping that the government tackles all the obstacles on their path to allow for more women in both elective and appointive positions.
“The obstacles are many but if the government and political parties can show a good example of fairness or level playing ground for women, more women will come forward,” Phido said.