15 reasons women still lose elections in Nigeria

15 reasons women still lose elections in Nigeria

Delving into an insightful survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), we uncover the intricacies that contribute to women’s struggles in clinching electoral victories, ranging from deeply ingrained cultural values to economic disparities.

This article sheds light on the multifaceted reasons behind why women often face challenges when vying for elective offices in Nigeria.

Deep-seated traditional and cultural beliefs relegate women to domestic roles, limiting their active participation in politics. These age-old notions often clash with the idea of women holding powerful political positions.

The prevalence of illiteracy in Nigeria, particularly among women, hampers their ability to fully engage in politics. Without proper education, women may lack the knowledge and confidence to participate effectively or advocate for their rights.

Religious beliefs and practices sometimes restrict women’s political involvement, creating barriers that prevent them from taking on leadership roles or participating in electoral processes.

Women’s poorer economic standing can hinder their chances of running successful election campaigns. Politics requires financial resources, and many women may struggle to compete financially, making it difficult for them to win elections.

The demanding nature of political engagement, including late-night meetings and extended events, can clash with women’s domestic responsibilities, making it challenging for them to balance both aspects of their lives. In an interview with Khadijah Okunu-Lamidi, a presidential aspirant in the 2023 elections, she explained to Pulse that

There is a perception that women in politics might face moral compromises or sexual harassment, which can discourage both female candidates and voters. This perception negatively affects women’s electoral prospects.

In some communities, women’s political decisions and affiliations are heavily controlled by men, leading to limitations on their choices and actions during elections.

Running for office requires significant financial resources, which many women lack due to societal inequalities and limited access to funds.

A lack of mutual trust and support among women can undermine their collective efforts, making it harder for them to rally behind female candidates. For instance Binta Umar, the lone female governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in Jigawa State, blamed the abysmal performance of female candidates to lack of cooperation by fellow women.

Gender stereotypes can lead women to doubt their own capabilities, leading to lower confidence in contesting elections. Additionally, societal perceptions that women are weaker vessels might hinder their aspirations for political leadership.

Discriminatory attitudes and practices, including suppression of women’s voices, can create barriers for female candidates, discouraging them from participating in politics.

Educational limitations, including high illiteracy rates among girls in certain regions, can restrict women’s ability to engage in politics effectively.

Women often face significant family obligations that can limit their availability for political activities, making it harder for them to campaign and participate in electoral processes.

Cultural norms and religious teachings that prescribe women’s roles as primarily domestic can limit their opportunities for political leadership.

Socioeconomic and environmental factors, such as lack of exposure to politics and limited opportunities, can contribute to women’s underrepresentation in political leadership.

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