Women's Representation in Nigeria's Leading Political Parties

Nineteen years since the first attempt to address women's exclusion from national life through a National Policy on Women, produced under the then Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Ismail, the gender inclusiveness it sought to promote, remains elusive, especially in women's political participation. The PDP has a structure written down in their constitution and spelled out in their 2019 manifesto their commitment to including women in governance. However, little or nothing has been done to make these commitments a reality. The APC is also falling short when it comes to gender representation at all levels of elective office in Nigeria. Despite the 2006 National Gender Policy which introduced formally an affirmative action principle of 35% of women in political and governance arena. Women political participation still look elusive in the country. The Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill is the latest attempt to address this shortcoming. It is designed to provide legislation that seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in private and public spaces, affirms women's rights to equal opportunities to realize their full potential and provide protection for their bodily integrity and human dignity. However, given that its passage has stalled in the legislature, not just its passage, but its implementation seems a long way off for now.

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