“Nigeria’s political space unequal playing field, women heavily underrepresented”

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The Nigerian political space has been described as an unequal playing field for men and women, with the latter being greatly underrepresented, which is a pointer to the many challenges women face in their quest to actively participate in politics, says Dr Abdulmalik Auwal of the department of political science at Bayero University, Kano.

“Politics is still an unequal playing field for men and women in Nigeria because women are heavily underrepresented in politics. In fact, they face several challenges with regard to their active political participation. Women must be encouraged, empowered and supported in becoming strong political and community leaders,” said Dr Auwal while speaking at a townhall meeting with male youths to create awareness on women’s political participation and representation in Kano, over the weekend.

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The townhall meeting was organized by National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with Democratic Action Group (DAG) under the Women in Politics (WiP) project being implemented in Kano with the support of UKAID.

Dr Auwal however said in spite of the current low numbers of Nigerian women participating in politics, the numbers of women in elective and appointive positions had progressively increased since 1999 when democracy was re-introduced in Nigeria adding that despite the poor performance of women in the 2011 elections, there had been comparatively significant growths in the interest of women in politics as reflected in the number of women who indicated interests or vie for the various elective positions.

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The townhall was aimed at correcting misperceptions of Islam among male youths in Kano on women’s political representation and participation; identifying a group of male youths who will act as ambassadors of WiP and therefore promote active involvement of women in politics and governance; as well as creating awareness among male youths on the benefits of having women in elective positions and public offices.

 

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