Nigerian Women and Political Participation: The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Law: A New Vista For More Women’s Participation In Nigeria’s Politics

Author(s): Kehinde Kayode
Type:
Final project
Year of publication:
2020
Specialisation:
The Politics and Economics of Gender
Number of pages:
89
Keywords:
Women, Girls, Political Participation, and Political Representation

Abstract

Amidst a global concern for women’s equal representation in governments and decision-making positions, with regards to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals no. 5 and 10, Nigeria remains much behind these agendas in representation. With a growing interest in the new piece of Nigerian legislature; the Not-too-young-to-run Law, signed in 2018, to increase youth participation in politics and political representation, this study attempts to examine the implementation of the new Law, as a means to improve women’s representation in Nigeria´s governmental structure, by an increase in girls or young women’s (25-35 years) active involvement in Nigerian politics. Using a qualitative research methodology to determine the level of Nigerian women´s involvement in politics, the study concludes that women are to a large extent disproportionally represented in Nigerian politics, especially considering that they represent over 50% of Nigerian voters. Further, Nigerian girls are almost extinct in representation. Based on a comparative analysis of representation in the Nigerian national legislature (upper and lower houses), the study evaluates the potential of the Not-too-young-to-run Law as a vista for young women’s representation in politics. Comparing the percentage of representation in the national parliament for the 2015 general elections (before the passage of the Law), and the 2019 elections (after the passage of the Law), the study finds that the new Law alone cannot drive young women or girls into politics and political representation. However, a significant change was noticed in Nigerian youth’s political representation. Focus group discussions shone light on major factors accounting for the minimal changes to young women’s representation with the Not-too-young-to-run Law; being socio-cultural factors, and the absence of political agendas to incorporate young women in Nigerian politics. The study recommends a critical reconsideration of Nigerian girls as a necessary group to increase the overall percentage of women´s participation and representation in Nigerian politics, satisfying Sustainable Development Goals no. 5 and 10 and the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, as well as benefiting the Nigerian society as a whole.