by Dogood Izibewulum H.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Faculty of Social Science Niger Delta University
The concept of women participation in politics has become a burning issue over the past decade. Thus, the objective of this study was to find out the percentage of women in politics, extent to which women have participated in politics, whether they are successful and fund as a major determinant of women participation in politics. Over the years, women and men seek to exercise power in the political realm but it is believed that it is only men that are successful in politics. Women represent 50% of the population in Nigeria yet in terms 0f political participation they are under-represented. Methodologically, the research used cor-relational design to show the relationship between fund and women participation in politics. The purposive sampling method was used in the course of the study. Data were analyzed with Spear-man rank correlation. Results of the finding showed that there is a positive relationship between fund and women participation in politics. To this end, women should be given fund so that they venture into politics. Also women should learn to support their own. Finally, there should be sensitization of the women on the importance of them venturing into politics so that they can contribute their quota to the growth of democracy.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The concept of women in politics has become a discourse over the past decades. A retrospective glance at the political history and development of the world suggest that adequate mechanism to promote women participation in politics has not being established and internalized. Several scholars have argued that the role of women in politics has being minimal. These scholars believed that women’s proper place is the kitchen, and the public domain is one of political authority and contestation which belong to the men folk.
According to Anifowoshe (2004), political participation is sine qua non to democracy. This means for any nation to realize the noble idea of democracy with its emphasis on participation, competition and liberty of the people, there is need for the promotion of gender equality. In essence, women should be given the chance to compete favorably with their male counterpart in politics on 50/50 bases.
Some scholars are of the opinion that if there is institutionalized frame work in form of loans from any agency to support women financially to participate in politics then, women can fully participate in politics.
A survey carried out by 300 parliamentarians conducted by the inter-parliament union (IPU) 2010; found that one of the most significant factors that deter women from venturing into politics is the lack of funds to contest election.
Often when women struggle to raise the funds needed to run a costly campaign, they often receive little or no financial assistance from their political parties or cronies. This lack of funds is believed to have transcended to under-representation in politics.
In Nigeria, it is believed politics has become a game of who has the money to throw around and attract the masses to himself. This has given the men more advantage to participate in politics than the women. This is because of male dominated society that has willed more wealth to the male than the female.
According To Iyom Josephine Anenih, the former minister of women affairs, averred that the reason women are not been elected into political offices as their male counterparts is the lopsided wealth distribution in the country that favor men. That if women have the kind of money the men have, they will mobilize the men to support them. (The Nigerian times October 19, 2004)
In Bayelsa state and Yenagoa local government area, scholars have argued that appropriate legislation relating to the Beijing declaration in 1995 which decided that 30% of all positions in government owned agencies be given to women are partially implemented. Thus, women In Bayelsa State finds it difficult to get them elected in the various political positions or offices because of the enabling environment or patriarchal society.
Based on these premise, it appears in the past no research has studied the various incentives to make women venture more into politics.
It is against this background that the researcher conceived the idea to embark on the study. Institutionalization of Fund and Women Participation in politics: (A case study of women politicians in Yenagoa L.G.A.)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Women around the world in respect to socio-economic and political level find themselves underrepresented in parliament in terms of decision making. This is due to the patriarchal nature of the society that has seen women as weaker sex and therefore, should not be seen in public places. Hence, women who want to venture into politics find it so challenging to be elected into their desired positions. This is because, it is believed women are financially disadvantaged in the society and are being marginalized by their party members especially a different caucus in the party.
More often than not, men constitute larger percentage of the party membership especially the key players. This tends to limit women when it comes to selecting candidates of their choice for elections (Alapiki, 2004). Moreover, women have being made to be tools for the men. This is due to the male dominated society as a result of men having more access to the nation’s wealth. Women have been made to play second fiddle in the sphere of politics. This is as a result of their limited funds and most times lack of co-operation from the male counterparts and their wealthy female folk.
Scholars have argued that some of the women who are active politicians are believed to have god father or mentor who encourages them by way of providing fund for them. Thus, it is believed that those of them that do not have godfather or mentor are likely to be less successful in politics.
Politicians have engaged also in pimp practices where women are engaged in partial prostitution. Majority of those who can compromise sexually are given support to venture into politics, the responsible ones that decline are denied such favor.
Various programs have been initiated by federal government to enhance women participation in politics; notably 35% affirmative action (women for change initiative). But is believed that the program have not impacted much on the women’s political life. Rather, women have become campaign agents for the men as a result of no fund or little fund within their reach.
It is therefore, the concern of this study to examine the possible ways women can participate more in politics. Hence, the question, is there any fund or institutional framework to back up women financially to contest in election?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to study institutionalization of fund as a strategy for women participation in politics in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. In specific terms the study intends to:
1. Find out the percentage of women in politics.
2. Examine the extent to which Bayelsan women have participated in politics.
3. Find out whether women are successful in politics.
4. Find out if fund can be a major determinant of women participation in politics.
5. Proffer likely solution that can enhance the participation of women in politics
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In pursuance of the objectives of this study the researcher will pose the following questions
1. What are the percentages of women in politics in Yenagoa?
2. To what extent have Bayelsan women participated in politics?
3. Are women successful in politics in Yenagoa?
4. Is fund a major determinant of women participation in politics?
5. What are the likely solutions that can enhance the participation of women in politics?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The study will test the following hypothesis.
1. When condition for elective position is fair then women percentage in politics will increase.
2. The more financial challenge women face the less successful they will be in politics.
3. If funds are made available to women, then their participation in politics will be enhanced.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significance in many ways when completed. The study will examine and analyze women participation in politics in Nigeria using Yenagoa Local Government area as case study. The study will help for more understanding and appreciation of the plight of women in Nigeria.
Also the study will identify how best women politician’s rights and interest could be promoted and protected in Nigeria and Bayelsa state in particular. This, the researcher believed will help policy makers to address women’s fundamental problems in the society as regards to politics.
More so, the study will help enlighten and educate women on the important of women participation in politics. And also see the need for women to be mentor to their fellow women.
Finally the study will be an improvement on the existing study on women participation in politics. It shall also fill the gap created by previous researchers and scholars on the subject there by having implication for further studies
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope will focus on women participation in politics which is the dependent variable and institutionalization of fund which is the independent variable. Included in the study are all the women that had being in politics and those currently in politics.
The study will cover from the period of 2003-2014. This will enable the researcher to find out the percentage of women in politics, the extent they have participated in politics and whether they are successful in politics. Also, the challenges and discouragement they have faced.
The study will be carried out in Bayelsa State. But because of the vastness of Bayelsa State, the research will limit the study to Yenagoa local government area which is the locale of the study. This is because Yenagoa L.G.A is the administrative center of the State where all the politicians carry out their major official duties. And whatever result gotten from the findings will be used to generalize to the entire State.
1.8 CONCEPTUAL DEFINITION OF TERMS.
FUND: A sum of money or financial resources for a special or specific purpose.
WOMEN: these are persons who are of the stereotypes of females or those belonging to the female gender.
Gender equality: this simply means the removal of sex differences between male and female in a given society.
Participation: this is the active involvement of the citizens in influence, directly or indirectly and the methods of governance in the political process.
Politics: simply put the exercise of power in any relationship, group or organization setting.
Institutionalization of fund: that is mechanism set up for the disbursement of money for particular purpose.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Research work cannot be properly carried out without making reference to previous works done by scholars.
Literature review serves as the connecting link between the findings of past and present researches that had been done and the instruments that prove useful as to increase the effectiveness of data analysis.
Consequently, this chapter will review literature materials of published works of scholars to establish the basic theoretical framework for the study.
Specifically, the following will be covered in the review.
. Percentage of Women in politics
. Extent to which women in Bayelsa State have participated in politics
. Whether women are successful in politics
. If fund can be a major determinant of women participation in politics
2.1.1 PERCENTAGES OF WOMEN IN POLITICS
A great deal of literature precedes my interest in women’s percentage in politics. Scholars have argued that the perceived pressure felt by political elites to increase the percentages of women in political office have been a clarion call from all quarters. Huntington (1996) argued that women political representation in governance is through various processes, first of all through elections, then through appointment. They have accounted for the extremely low percentages of women currently serving in the legislatures and executives of the government. Approximately 19 percent and 16 percent respectively (WEDO 2010) in support, it shows the wide disparity between their men folk. It has been discover that the elections and appointments of women to political office are determined by domestic supply and demand factor (Norris 1997, Randall 1987, Paxton and Hughes 2007) by domestic (supply and demand factor) the tripartite view of this might refers to mean the cultural, traditional and societal structure that place women as home managers, child bearers and care takers which the supply factor buttressed. While demand factor refers to the extent male folk accommodate these women in their parties. These factors disproportionately affect the percentage of women who are elected and appointed to political offices. On the other hand, ken worthy and Malami, (1999) opined that proportional representation (PR) systems are commonly accepted as leading to a higher demand for women in offices. This can be the key to women representation in politics. For Reynolds, proportional representation systems on average have almost twice as many women in the legislature (13.7 percent) which has been explained by plurality- majority systems (7.8 percent). This is arguably due to the single member districts, which do not provide party bosses incentives to stand behind women or minority candidates in an election. The lack of support women get from party bosses discourages them from venturing into politics. Also, these lacks of support women receive from party bosses create gender disparities between men and women folk in society which has subsequently led to women under representation in politics.
Other scholars likeTripp and kang, (2008) saw gender quota systems constituting another mechanism that is commonly accepted to affect the demand for women in political office. It has been argued that many countries that have made the largest numbers of women representation have implemented quotas system (Dahlerup and Freidenvall 2005). Unlike Reynolds whose findings stated that quotas only elect three percent more women on average (15 percent) than the world- wide average (12percent). The core idea behind quota systems is to recruit women into political positions and to ensure that women are not only a few tokens in political life but represented in all political sphere. In this vein, scholars have argued that quotas merely create artificial demand and place unqualified women in office or serve as a ceiling rather than a floor for women’s representation (Gray 2003, squires 1996). Paxton and Hughes (2007) noted that the United Nations vehemently advocated increase in women’s representation in parliament and worked to increase percentage of women in politics. Hence, this work shall unravel the true status of women in politics as regards to percentages in reference to women in politics from Yenagoa Local Government Area.
2.1.2 EXTENT TO WHICH WOMEN HAVE PARTICIPATED IN POLITICS.
Over the years women have succeeded in politics though, the journey has not been very smooth.
According to Ehanire-Danjuma (2005), only a few women in the world have been able to attain the highest political office. These include Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, Erthapascal- Trouillot Haiti, Isabel peron of Argentina, LidaGeiler of Bolivia, Mary Robinson in Ireland, Golda Meir in Israel, Indira Ghandi in India, Margaret thatcher in United Kingdom etc. while in Nigeria since from 1999 till date, there had been some women who have strived in politics. Especially, in the 2011 general elections we had the following senators, and they include: Chief Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Gbemisola Saraki-Fowora, senator Daisy Danjuma, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Belo, senator Ume UfotEkaete, and Honorable BeniLar. Also Included in the list is NenadiUsman and KemeChikwe.
Since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, the rate of women who venture into politics as compared to men has been discouraging. Politically, women are free to pursue all aspects of political process. They could vote and be voted for.
But this is not the case in Nigerian politics. This is due to the fact that Politics in Nigeria is seen as male affairs, which give the men more success than the women folk. By this, the political space become open only for a selected privileged few leaving majority from participating and contributing their quota in democratic governance. In Bayelsa state women have not really feature in politics as they have not being elected into position of a Governor or deputy. The situation is the same in Yenagoa L.G.A as no woman has being elected either as a chairman or even a councilor (the nations, 28th may, 2014).
In the view of Harriman (2006:18) women can be leaders. Women have leadership qualities. We fail to recognize women as leaders because the barriers to our leadership are deeply rooted in women themselves. Women are considered and sometimes consider themselves unequal to men at home and in the work place. Hence, the low representation of women in politics which funds might also be a factor surreptitiously.
In a similar vein, Ehanire- Danjuma, (2005), Posited that the low participation of women in political and decision-making structures is a reflection of limited acknowledgement of the fact that democratic process becomes inclusive when also the gender dimension is taken into account. With few women being involved in party politics issues; this poses challenges and narrows the chance of getting many women in decision making structures. Women have proved their strength and competence in our society in all spheres even in male dominated professions. The rise of women to lead several professions in male dominated environment gives hope. Their achievement is a pointer to the capability of Nigerian women to lead the highest political office if more opportunities are given. Three of such male dominated professions are: the Nigerian Medical Association, the Nigerian Bar Association and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Gusim, 2012).
Despite the relative improvement in women political participation and representation between 2003 and 2007, such improvement has not reflected women’s numerical representation in politics (inter-press service, Tuesday, July 23, 2013). Similarly, the success of these women may not only be justified on their mere representation but by the strength of their financial power, that is why this research is set to find out the relationship between funds and the level of women participation in politics.
2.1.3 SUCCESSFUL WOMEN IN POLITICS
There are many indicators towards ascertaining women success in politics. Over the decades, women successes in politics have become a matter of discourse. Most political parties prefer women who match violence with violence like their male counterparts (die hard).
Men are widely known to be more prepared to engage in violence than women. Today most elections accompany violence sponsored by both male and female politicians.
Scholars have asserted that socio- economic, socio-cultural and religious factors are largely responsible for the marginalization and lack of women in politics.
According to Oganwo, (1996) in her book titled “Nigerian women in political tradition and religious contrast” spotted out the various sources through which traditional religion pose constrains to women political participation.
For instance, in religious factors, politics is seen as men’s exclusive reserves. Mashie (2010) averred that, tradition and distorted religious dogma play significant role in women’s political marginalization. Hard line Muslim clerics assert that women involvement in politics is against the tenets of Islam. This is because politics involve inter mingling between men and women. To them, women are to be seen not heard and to involve in politics is an aberration.
According to Jari (2010), a Muslim female political activist opined that our culture and religion strongly abhor mixing between the two sexes (men and women) which are viewed as indication of lewdness. We are largely seen as loose women because we are politicians who by the nature of politics stay out late at nights attending political meetings and rallies. That has made many women to disassociate themselves from politics in order to maintain their marriage.
According to Rick Navert (2011), women are still limited in leadership opportunities. This is because leadership continues to be culturally and economically masculine and that discrimination continues to hinder women from participating in politics.
As noted by Emmet, (2001). Men are generally valued and empowered by religion in many ways. Women do not have such privilege being disempowered by religion and economic structure. Thus, women struggle to attain such height. According to Karl Marx (1955), the class structure of a particular society is determined by the system of economic production that exists in that society at a given point in history.
That is, the division of different segments of the population into classes ultimately depends on their respective relationships of ownership versus non-ownership of the existing means of production.
More so, shayo (2005) asserts that the lack of time due to women’s reproductive roles is also mentioned as limitations to women’s participation in politics. As mautlana (2001), puts it, there are some kinds of success-avoidance by women that influence their political interest. Thus, several scholars believed that women have not really succeeded in their political aspiration. Hence, this study will reveal whether women have succeeded in politics over the decades.
2.1.4 FUND AS A MAJOR DETERMINANT OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS
According to the resource model of political participation, gender differences can be explained by individual access to money or funds, free time, and civic skills (schlozman and Verba 1994). As women become more integrated into the public economic sphere, they gain resources and are better able to organize politically. According to Mba N. (1982), fund is essential for the operation of political parties and particularly affects candidates, in elections. Political funding regulation can affect women’s capacity to run as candidates, be elected, campaign and reach out to the population. This is because regulation on political funding are used to level the playing field in electoral competition. This means that with funds, women can compete favorably with their male counterparts. For instance, a presidential ticket and purchasing of form, how can a woman get a form, who will give her the money except she is already wealthy before entering the political arena.
For Ballington and Muriel kahane (2010) funding plays important role in politics, and cost of election campaigning means that politics often does not give equal opportunities for all to compete. This was confirmed by research conducted by UN parliamentarian women in 2013; over 80 percent of respondents identified the lack of funding as one major challenge for women’s entry into politics.
Also, empirical research has shown that raising funds may be deterrent keeping women from running for office. Rice explained that this is because women still do not have inherent financial infrastructure but men do. Hence, Lawton added that public funding has potential to bring more women into politics, as it decreases the burden of fundraising from individual which at times discourage them, Thereby preventing them from participating in politics.
Accordingly, Blumberg (1984) asserts that when women are socio-economically disadvantaged, it is much more difficult for them to venture into electoral office because they do not have access to resources necessary to command public decision-making to favor them. In this light, women are inadequately represented in politics.
For Nwafor O. and Ezagbe B.N. (1998), argued that there are six main structural factors that influence women’s political participation; money, time, civic skills, and community participation, education, work, and economic power. Countries with social structures that are more hospitable to women in the public sphere will elect more women due to larger and more skillful pools of women candidates, they argued.
Yet, empirical research has found contrary opinion for these structural supply-side factors. The effects of women’s participation in the labour force have the most empirical support matlandetal(1998). In dissonance, the argument might be faulty owing to the fact thatDora AkunyiliinNigeria before Her Death had all the qualities yet failed the senatorial seat of her constituency. This shows that culture and patriarchal structure plays a major role in politics than other factors.
In fact, Reynolds’s argues that the fore most predictor of women’s representation in parliaments is the level of female socio-economic development. This means that women can only succeed politically if they have funds or robust economic based.
Other scholars have argued that politics in Nigeria could be understood within the framework of monetization. Any political contestant must have prepared to acquire all the necessary condition to make him or her successful in the electoral contest. Monetization determines a lot in electoral contest in Nigerian politics and this has hindered women to venture more into politics since majority of them are poor.
Moreso, Schlozman e tal(1994). Found that resource difference between men and women have contributed to women under representation in politics. This is because the society is structured to favor men than the women. Thus, women lack of maximum support from the society prevents them from actively engaging in politics.
To adumbrate more, Irabor (2012) assert that a crucial problem to effective women participation in Nigerian politics is lack of adequate fund. Strong economic base is a strong factor in electioneering campaign giving the politics of money that is evident in Nigeria. Women financial base make it impossible for them to woo voters with money (a practice that is common with their male competitors)
A typical example is seen during campaigns and elections where the male folk share money to woo voters.
2.2.0 THEORETICAL FRAME WORK
Given the fact that women do not feature adequately in the public realm, and the number of women participating in politics in Nigeria is few, this work will adopt the Marxian political economy to explain the relationship between funds and women participation in politics.
2.2.1 MARXIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY
From the Marxian political economy perspective, capitalist system motivates unequal access to funds by women. The economic infrastructure accounts for most inequalities where men have more funds to themselves than the women in capitalist societies. Thus, women are underrepresented in politics due to their poor economic condition.
The implication is that this situation of women lack of funds to venture into politics as a result of the inequalities created by capitalist system will leads to reduction of women venturing into politics. Thus, from the Marxian political approach, the basis for women underrepresentation in politics is due to private ownership of the forces of production. Men own and control the means of production. Thus, they have more funds to venture into politics argued by the proponents of this theory.
On the other hand, are majority of women who do not have means of production as compare to their male counterparts Thus, they lack funds to command their will to venture into politics. The resultant effect of this situation is the continuous Unequal distribution of wealth between men and women in society and the subsequent Marginalization of women in politics as a result of funds.
2.2.2 PROPONENTS OF MARXIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY
The Marxian political economy was espoused by Karl Mark and Fredrick Engels in 1867. It analysis bordered on people and the social relationship between them-about the owners of wealth and how they use it to exploit others in a capitalist system; about what is produced and how.
It also talk about the super structure which is the economic structure that coordinates and supercede other structure or sub-structure like the polity in the society. Furthermore, the Marxian political economy analyzed the relationship between bourgeoisie and proletariat. That is, those that owns the means of production and those that do not have the means of production but sell their labor power for wages which has led to imbalance in society.
2.2.3 RELEVANCE OF THE MARXIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY
The application of Marxian political economy to the study of women participation in politics became increasingly popular during the 1970’s. It provided a more comprehensive explanation not only for origin of women underrepresentation in politics but also for the causes.
In this case, women underrepresentation arises due to inequalities and un-equal access to funds and power in the society. Also, the theory provided an explanation of relationship between funds and women participation in politics, and the distribution of power in society.
The focus of this chapter is to show the necessary details through which the study will be carried out and organized. The desire objective of any research is to find solution to the observed problem at hand.
In this aspect, various methods, techniques and strategies will be applied to gather the information necessary for the study. These will be analyzed and correlated in order to arrive at facts and figures for logical conclusion.
3.1 STUDY AREA
Yenagoa is a Local Government Area in Bayelsa State in Nigeria. Its headquarters is in the town of Yenagoa (the State Capital) in the south of the area at 4o 5529N 601551E. The Local Government Area has an area of 706 km2 and a population of 353,344 (2006 census).
The postal code of the area is 561. Yenagoa is the traditional home of the Ijaw (Epie and Attisa) people and form the majority of the Bayelsa State. The state is a major oil and gas producing state and it contributes over 30% of Nigeria’s oil production.
The major occupation in the state is fishing, farming, and palm wine tapping, trading, carving, and weaving. The predominant religions in the state are Christianity and traditional worship.
English is the official language, but Epie/Atissa language. One of the Ijaw languages is the major local language spoken in Yenagoa and it has 62 major districts.
3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
Research design means the structuring of investigation aimed at identifying variables and their relationship to one another. It is the purpose of obtaining data to enable the research test hypothesis or answer research questions.
The design for this research will be correlational design. This type of study or design seeks to find or establish whether two or more variables relate. They usually indicate the direction of the relationship whether negative or positive. This design is chosen in order to establish the relationship between funds and women participation in politics.
3.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT
The questionnaire will be used in formulating the questions. The researcher will make use of close ended questions to enable easy analysis of data, with the use of strongly agree
(S.A), agree (A), undecided (U), disagree (DA) and strongly disagree (SDA).
Other information will be elicited with the use of focus group discussion.
3.4 POPULATION AND SAMPLE
Statistically, population refers to a given group of individuals for whom a specific study is intended. We have target and accessible population.
Target population is all the members of a specified group to which the investigation relates, and accessible population is those within the reach of the researcher (Nworgu 2005).
In this work, the population of female politicians in Bayelsa State, Yenagoa Local Government Area is 750 (INEC data-base 2011 general election). All these population does not reflect people that were elected into offices but rather, it reflect people that are registered and are members in the various political parties. Thus, sample size will be drawn from the above population.
Using Yamane formula for sample determination:
Yamane (1967) has a simplified formula for calculating sample size which is widely used by students. A 95% confidence level and p= .05 are assumed.
n=N/ [1+n (e2)]
n=N/ [1+750(.052)] = 260.
3.5 SAMPLING TECHNIQUES
The purposive sampling techniques will be used which involves a deliberate selection of a population to meet a certain criteria.
3.6 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
The data for this study will be from primary and secondary sources.
Primary data: primary data will be obtained from respondents through the questionnaire that will be distributed. The questionnaire will consist of fifteen (15) questions which will be all closed-ended.
Secondary data: the secondary data will comprise of text books, journal, internet etc.
3.7 DATA ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES
The research questions will be analyzed with the use of simple percentages. The hypothesis of this study will be tested with the use of spear-man rank statistics.
The reason for this statistical tool is to establish relationship between two or more variables under study. To this end, the research will test if there is a relationship between fund and women participation in politics.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
In chapter one, we were made to understand that the concept of women in politics has become a discourse over the past decades. And that a retrospective glance at the political history and development of the world suggests that adequate mechanism to promote women participation in politics has not being fully established and internalized. These scholars argued, have made the role of women in politics minimal.
According to Anifowoshe (2004), political participation is sine qua non to democracy; this means for any nation to realize the noble idea of democracy with its emphasis on participation, competition and liberty of the people, there is need for the promotion of gender equality. This, scholars argued women should be given the opportunity to compete with the male counterpart on 50/50 bases. In pursuance of the above, some scholars averred that if there is institutionalized framework in form of loans, from any agency to support women financially, then women can fully participate in politics.
In a similar vein, Iyom Josephine Anenih former minister of women affairs averred that the reason women are not being elected into political offices as their male counterpart is because of the lopsided wealth distribution in the country that favors men. That if women have the kind of money the men have, they will mobilize the men to support them.
Furthermore, it was revealed that appropriate legislation relating the Beijing declaration in 1995 which decided that 30% of all positions in government owned agencies be given to women are partially implemented argued by scholars. Thus, women have being underrepresented in politics.
In chapter two, we reviewed relevant literature on percentage of women in politics, extent to which women in Bayelsa State have participated in politics, successful women in politics and fund as a major determinant of women participation in politics.
On women percentage in politics, it was argued by scholars that the perceived pressure felt by political elites to increase the percentage of women in political office had been a clarion call from all quarters.
According to Huntington’s argument that women’s political representation in governance are through various process. First of all representation through election then, through appointment and that they have accounted for the extremely low percentage of women currently serving in the legislatures and executives of governments.
On the extent to which women have participated in politics, it was revealed that women have succeeded in politics even though the journey has not been very smooth.
According to Ehanire-Danjuma (2005), only a few women in the world have been able to attain the highest political office. These included Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, Ertha Pascal-Trouillot of Haiti, Isabel Peron of Argentina, Lidia Geiler of Bolivia, Mary Robinson in Ireland, Golden Meir in Israel, Indira Ghandi in India, Margaret Thatcher in United Kingdom etc.
While in Nigeria, from 1999-2011 there had been some women who have distinguished themselves in politics. They include. Chief Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Gbemisola Sakari-Fowora, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Belo, Senator Ume Ufot Ekaete, and Honourable Beni Lar.
In Yenegoa Bayelsa State, the above issue has become a thing of concern to many scholars. According to report of expert group on women parliamentarian held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 24, October 200. The first Bayelsa house of Assembly in 1999 had only one woman out of 24 members, while the second assembly had no woman. However, third and fourth assemblies had one woman each. This calls for concern.
In a similar vein, Ehanire-Danjuma (2005), posted that the low participation of women in political and decision-making structures was reflection of limited acknowledgement of the fact that democratic process becomes inclusive when also gender dimension is taken into account.
Despite the relative improvement in women political participation and representation between 2003 and 2007, such improvement has not reflected women’s numerical representation in politics.
While fund as a major determinant of women participation in politics, it was revealed, that fund is essential for the operation of political parties and particularly affects candidates success in election. This is because regulation on political funding are used to level the playing field in electoral competition.
For Ballington and Muriel Kahane (2010), funding plays important role in politics, and cost of election campaigning means that politics often does not give equal opportunities for all to compete. This was confirmed by research conducted by UN parliamentarian women in 2013; over 80% of respondents identified the lack of funding as one major challenge for women entry into politics.
Theoretically, the Marxian political economy was used because it provided more comprehensive explanation not only for the origin of women underrepresentation in politics but also the causes. Women underrepresentation in politics according to the Marxian political economy arises due to inequalities and unequal access to funds and power in the society. The theory provided an explanation of the relationship between funds and women participation in politics, and distribution of power in the society.
Chapter three revealed the necessary details through which the study was carried out. The study area was Yenagoa local Government Area as this is a city where most of the women and female politicians reside.
The research design was correlational studies or design which seeks to find or establish whether two or more variables relate. The questionnaire was used as the research instrument. The researcher made use of the close ended only for easy analysis. With the use of strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree as option for the questionnaire.
While the population of the study was 750 as was given by INEC database 2011 general election. Sample size of 260 was drawn from the above population with the use of Yamane formula for sample determination.
The formula is:
n=N/ [1+N (e2)]
n=750/ [1+750 (.05^2)]
The purposive sampling technique was used. This involves a deliberate selection of a population to meet a certain citeria.
While primary data were collected with the use of questionnaire which consisted of fifteen questions, and secondary data which comprised of text books, journal, internet etc.
Finally, the data was analyzed with the use of simple percentage and spearman rank statistics for the hypothesis test.
In this study, it was concluded that the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents which were all female, their age ranges from 18-25, 26-33, 34-41, 42-49, 50 and above,
with the percentage of 42.5% consisting highest population in the sample size. This means that they are very young, active and vibrant in politics and political issues.
The marital status distribution for singles, married and divorced had their percentage as follows:
35.6%, 59.4% and 5% respectively. This showed that the highest population of the sample was married women.
On State of origin, 93.7% were from Bayelsa state, 1.9 % was from Delta state, 3.8% were from Rivers, while 0.6% was from unspecified state. This showed that a good sample were indigenes of Bayelsa State were the study was carried out. On religion, 90.6% said they practice Christianity, 1.9% practice Islam while 7.5% practice other unspecified religion. The above showed that the majority of the respondents practice Christianity.
While on employment type, 46.9% were politicians while 53.1% were civil servants. This is a clear picture to prove further decline of women in political participation.
From the table 4.2 on item 1 on the questionnaire, women are always involved in politics. The response rate indicated that 57.5% which form the highest sample agreed that women are always involved in politics. This implies involvement in terms of participation but not in standing for competitive position.
On item 2: women are represented in elective offices. The response rate indicated that 46.88% which form the highest sample in the study agreed that women are represented in elective offices.
Elective offices in this sense can be seen in most primaries but later dropped in the final selection of party candidate in most election.
On item 3: women percentage in politics in Yenagoa Bayelsa States is encouraging the response rate indicated that 33.12% which form the highest sample size disagreed. This is the hub of the research to elucidate more on their disadvantage in politics.
On item 5: women go for political position when funds are available. The response rate indicated that 40.63% which form the highest percentage in the study agreed. This showed that politics is capital intensive. Hence you must have strong financial strength before venturing into it.
More so, the above supported the work of MBA N.(1982) which asserted that fund is essential for the operation of political parties and particularly affects candidates in election. This is further supported by Blumberg (1984) who asserts that when women are socioeconomically disadvantaged, it is much more difficult for them to venture into electoral office because they do not have access to resources necessary to command public decision- making to favor them. All these point to the fact that if there is fund, Women will venture into politics.
On item 7: Male dominated nature of our society is not responsible for women inadequate representation in politics. The response rate indicated that 26.25% which form the highest sample were undecided. This showed a vicious circle today as more women have been appointed into offices.
While on item 14: lack of supports from their female folks is not the cause of women under-representation in politics. The response rate indicated that 24.38% which form the highest percentage in the sample disagreed. There could be other variables though, must women prefer men to head them. Because of the structure of the society they find themselves. Nonetheless, the crux of the matter is that if women can throw their support on their own (female), there is that possibility of female venturing more into politics.
The lack of support from female folk was evidence in 2011 presidential primary election when delegates consisted of men and women voted in the primary with Sarah Jibril as a female candidate, yet, she ended up with one vote. This means that she voted for herself no other women supported her finally,
On item 15: violence associated with politics is not a hindrance to women participation in politics. The response rate indicated that 26.25% which form the highest sample disagreed. This is due to the nature of women which symbolizes peace. So no woman is ready to risk her blood for politics.
On the three hypotheses we tested, hypothesis 1 showed no relationship between when condition for elective position is fair and the increase of women percentage in politics.
Hypothesis 2 showed a direct relationship between the more financial challenge women face and the less successful they will be in politics. While hypothesis 3 was a follow up of hypothesis 2 which clearly showed that there is a relationship between the availability of funds to women and the enhancement of their participation in politics. Hypothesis 2 and 3 above strongly supported the work of earlier scholars who asserted that fund is essential for women participation in politics.
5.3 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
No research is perfect even if all necessary precautions are taken. It is therefore ideal to mention some of the factors that might have made the findings of this study not generalize able to another samples or larger population.
The factors are: designs, samples size, instrument, and analysis of data. The design used in the study might be inappropriate for this study. The sample size used in the study might not be a true representative of the population thus, the study might not have covered much. Hence, the result or findings might not be used to generalize to larger sample or population.
On the other hands, the instrument used eliciting information from the respondents might be inappropriate for this study. While the analysis of the data might not be error free as it was manually done.
The problems of time and financial constraint cannot be ruled out as well. It is hoped that despite these limitations, the result of this study will be relevant and serve the purpose for which it was intended.
Base on the findings, the researcher made the following recommendations.
Banks should make provision for women to borrow money for their businesses. This will enable women who are interested in politics to venture into it in other to increase their percentage in politics.
Tax law should be reserved in order to limit the percentage placed on women folk. This will enable them to have reserved for the future use.
All levels of government should give 50% of public service employment to women. This will help them depend on themselves rather than depend on men for funds.
The independent national electoral commission should conduct a focused drive on female voters’ registration and run specific voter education campaigns for women during elections.
Nigerian civil society organizations should advocate and promote gender balance and orientation for political parties. Also there should be equalities in representations of government. To this end, every senatorial district, constituency etc. should be given a chance to women to represent their people in government by way of legislative laws enacted and fully enforced.
Women should learn to support and encourage their own. Unlike when delegates in the people’s Democratic Party in 2011 presidential primary election did not vote for Mrs. Sarah Jibril despite the fact the delegates were both male and females. The interpretation of this action means that women did not vote for only female candidates as she ended up voting herself.
There should be quality and regular women’s orientation or enlightenment programs in the area of politics. In such orientation, emphasis should be lay on how women can be inspired and be motivated to participate in politics.
Men should acknowledge the capability of women and give them a chance to participate fully in politics in order to contribute their quota in the development of nation and democracy.
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