As Nigeria enters a new general election season — with political parties already conducting local congresses ahead of primaries next year— what prospects lie ahead for Nigerian women interested in seeking political leadership positions? Women have remained a vastly underrepresented minority in the halls of political power throughout Nigerian history. Since the resumption of electoral democracy in 1999, public campaigns, proposed legislative reforms, and internal measures within political parties have attempted to address the gaping gender imbalance. Yet assessments of the performance of female candidates in Nigeria's most recent general elections revealed a disturbing trend: women's representation in elected and appointed office has not only failed to increase but appears to be in decline. This research can also help us chart different paths forward; opening-up new possibilities for reversing the deepening gender imbalance in Nigeria's national politics. This summary briefing pursues three primary aims. First, it offers a high-level summary of the key findings of the studies, reflecting on how women fared in Nigeria's most recent polls. Secondly, it aims to synthesise the insights unearthed by both approaches to identify specific bottlenecks that appear to limit women's political prospects. Thirdly, ahead of the commencement of the 2023 campaign season, the briefing draws out several practical interventions which partners and policymakers might consider implementing in their programmes and interventions. In concluding, the briefing highlights further areas that lie beyond our current comprehension where further research into women's political participation in Nigeria is needed.
Nigeria: Women and Electoral Politics in 2023- Charting the way Forward
1 November 2021