Political Science Education

Gender Inequality and Women Participation in Politics: the Nigeria Experience

Gender Inequality and Women Participation in Politics the Nigeria Experience

Gender Inequality and Women Participation in Politics: the Nigeria Experience


Objectives of the Study

This study aimed to achieve three specific objectives:

  1. To analyze the factors contributing to gender inequality in Nigerian politics.
  2. To assess the challenges hindering women’s participation in political processes in Nigeria.
  3. To explore potential strategies to enhance women’s political representation and address gender disparities in Nigerian politics.



Conceptual Review
Gender Inequality in Nigerian Politics

Gender inequality in Nigerian politics remains a pervasive issue, hindering women’s full participation and representation in decision-making processes (Morobane, 2020). Despite constitutional provisions and international commitments to promote gender equality, women continue to face significant barriers in accessing political positions and leadership roles (Abiola, 2020).

One key aspect of gender inequality in Nigerian politics is the underrepresentation of women in elected offices (Chalaby, 2017). Women hold a disproportionately low number of seats in the National Assembly and other legislative bodies, reflecting the deeply entrenched patriarchal norms and structures within the political sphere (Mlambo & Kapingura, 2019). This disparity not only undermines the principles of democracy but also limits the diversity of perspectives and experiences in policy-making processes.

Moreover, women in Nigerian politics often encounter systemic discrimination and marginalization, which further perpetuates gender inequality (George, 2019). Political parties and electoral systems may exhibit biases against female candidates, making it challenging for women to secure nominations and electoral victories (Faulkner, 2021). Additionally, women may face gender-based violence, harassment, and intimidation during political campaigns, further deterring their participation (Para-Mallam, 2021).

Socio-cultural norms and traditions also play a significant role in perpetuating gender inequality in Nigerian politics (Collier, 2020). Traditional gender roles dictate that women should prioritize domestic responsibilities over political aspirations, reinforcing the notion that politics is a male-dominated sphere (Okunna, 2020). As a result, women often encounter resistance and societal expectations that discourage their active involvement in politics.

Economic factors further compound gender inequality in Nigerian politics, as women may lack the financial resources and support necessary to compete effectively (Kumar, 2018). Campaign financing can be prohibitively expensive, placing women at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts who may have greater access to resources (Nduba, Nnamdi, & Ofodu, 2020). Moreover, women’s economic dependence on male relatives or political patrons may compromise their autonomy and bargaining power within political networks (Agbalajobi, 2020).

Institutional barriers also contribute to gender inequality in Nigerian politics, as existing structures may not adequately support or accommodate the needs of women (Manning, 2020). Gender-blind policies and procedures within political institutions may inadvertently perpetuate discrimination and exclusion (Chodorow, 2021). Furthermore, the absence of gender-sensitive mechanisms to address issues such as sexual harassment or unequal access to resources exacerbates the challenges faced by women in politics (Mlambo, Kapingura, & Meissner, 2019).





This chapter outlines the methodology adopted to achieve the objectives of this study on gender inequality and women’s participation in Nigerian politics. The research design, population of the study, sampling technique and sample size, sources and method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical considerations are discussed in detail.

Research Design

The research design for this study involves a quantitative survey approach. This design was chosen due to its ability to gather data from a large sample size efficiently and provide statistical analysis of the collected data. The quantitative survey method allows for the measurement of variables related to gender inequality and women’s participation in Nigerian politics, providing valuable insights into the prevalence and impact of these issues (Creswell & Creswell, 2018).

Population of the Study

The target population for this study comprises individuals who are actively involved in Nigerian politics or have knowledge and experience relevant to the topic. Given the scope of the study, the target population was determined to be 171 respondents, including politicians, activists, policymakers, and members of civil society organizations (Anderson et al., 2020).



Data Presentation



Summary of Findings

The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the complex dynamics surrounding gender inequality and women’s political participation in Nigeria. Across various dimensions, including socio-cultural norms, institutional barriers, and policy interventions, the research highlights significant challenges and opportunities for advancing gender equality in Nigerian politics.

Socio-cultural factors emerged as critical determinants of gender inequality in Nigerian politics. The study revealed that entrenched patriarchal beliefs, traditional gender roles, and societal expectations continue to marginalize women and limit their opportunities for political engagement. These cultural norms not only perpetuate gender disparities but also shape public perceptions and attitudes towards women in leadership roles. Addressing these deeply ingrained cultural biases is essential for fostering a more inclusive and equitable political environment.

Institutional barriers also pose significant challenges to women’s political participation in Nigeria. Limited access to resources, including funding and campaign support, emerged as a major obstacle for women aspiring to enter politics. Additionally, threats of violence and intimidation deter many women from actively engaging in political processes, undermining their ability to fully exercise their rights as citizens. Furthermore, the lack of gender-sensitive policies and legislation exacerbates gender disparities in political representation, highlighting the need for comprehensive legal frameworks to promote women’s rights and empowerment.

Despite these challenges, the study also identified several opportunities for enhancing women’s political participation in Nigeria. Implementing affirmative action policies and gender quotas emerged as effective strategies for increasing women’s representation in political institutions. By mandating a minimum level of female participation, these policies help to address systemic barriers and promote gender diversity in decision-making bodies. Additionally, providing training and capacity-building programs for women interested in politics can empower them to overcome obstacles and navigate the complexities of Nigerian politics more effectively. Mentorship and networking opportunities also play a crucial role in supporting women’s political leadership development, providing them with the necessary skills and support networks to succeed in male-dominated environments.

Overall, the findings of this study underscore the importance of addressing gender inequality and promoting women’s political participation as essential components of democratic governance in Nigeria. By understanding the underlying factors influencing women’s political engagement, policymakers and stakeholders can develop more targeted interventions to promote gender equality and inclusive governance. Empowering women to participate fully in political processes not only advances their rights and interests but also contributes to more effective and responsive decision-making that reflects the diverse needs and perspectives of society.

Based on the results of the hypotheses tested, several key conclusions can be drawn regarding the factors influencing gender inequality and women’s political participation in Nigeria. Firstly, the findings suggest a significant correlation between cultural norms and gender inequality in Nigerian politics, highlighting the pervasive influence of patriarchal beliefs and societal expectations on women’s opportunities for political engagement. Secondly, limited access to resources emerged as a major barrier to women’s political participation, underscoring the importance of addressing structural inequalities and providing support mechanisms for aspiring female politicians. Finally, the study revealed that implementing affirmative action policies can indeed enhance women’s representation and address gender disparities in Nigerian politics, signaling the potential efficacy of policy interventions in promoting gender equality.


Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from the study, the following recommendations are proposed to address gender inequality and enhance women’s participation in Nigerian politics:

  1. Implement Gender-Sensitive Policies: Introduce and enforce policies that promote gender equality in political processes, including gender quotas, affirmative action measures, and anti-discrimination laws.
  2. Provide Access to Resources: Ensure equitable access to resources such as funding, campaign support, and training programs for women interested in politics to mitigate the barriers posed by limited resources.
  3. Raise Awareness and Change Cultural Norms: Launch awareness campaigns to challenge societal stereotypes and traditional gender roles, fostering a more inclusive political culture that values women’s leadership and participation.
  4. Mentorship and Networking Opportunities: Establish mentorship programs and networking opportunities for aspiring female politicians to provide support, guidance, and networking opportunities for navigating the challenges of Nigerian politics.
  5. Strengthen Electoral Processes: Enhance the integrity and inclusivity of electoral processes by addressing issues such as electoral violence, voter intimidation, and gender-based discrimination to create a level playing field for women candidates.
  6. Promote Civic Education: Invest in civic education programs to empower women with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage effectively in political processes, including voter education, leadership training, and advocacy skills development.
  7. Support Women’s Organizations: Provide support and resources to women’s organizations and civil society groups advocating for gender equality and women’s rights in Nigerian politics, amplifying their voices and initiatives.
  8. Foster Collaboration and Partnerships: Encourage collaboration and partnerships between government agencies, civil society organizations, international donors, and other stakeholders to coordinate efforts and leverage resources for advancing gender equality and women’s political participation.

Contribution to Knowledge

The findings of this study significantly contribute to the existing body of knowledge on gender inequality and women’s political participation in Nigerian politics. Firstly, by examining the socio-cultural, economic, and institutional factors influencing gender inequality, this research provides a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted barriers faced by women in the political arena. It adds depth to the literature by exploring the intricate interplay between societal norms, patriarchal structures, and political processes, shedding light on the complexities of gender dynamics in Nigerian politics.

Secondly, the identification of key challenges hindering women’s active participation in political processes offers valuable insights for policymakers, practitioners, and advocacy groups seeking to address gender disparities. By pinpointing specific obstacles such as limited access to resources, patriarchal beliefs, and threats of violence, this study provides a roadmap for designing targeted interventions and policy reforms aimed at enhancing women’s political empowerment and participation.

Moreover, the exploration of potential strategies to promote women’s political representation and address gender disparities offers practical recommendations for stakeholders involved in promoting gender equality in Nigerian politics. By highlighting the importance of gender-sensitive policies, mentorship programs, and awareness campaigns, this research offers actionable steps for fostering a more inclusive and equitable political environment that empowers women to actively engage in decision-making processes.

Furthermore, the empirical evidence generated through surveys and statistical analysis strengthens the credibility and validity of the study’s findings. By employing rigorous research methodologies and data analysis techniques, this research enhances the reliability of its conclusions and contributes to the methodological advancements in the field of gender studies and political science.

Overall, the findings of this study underscore the urgent need for concerted efforts to address gender inequality and enhance women’s political participation in Nigeria. By offering a comprehensive analysis of the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for promoting gender equality in politics, this research serves as a valuable resource for scholars, policymakers, and activists working towards building more inclusive and representative democracies in Nigeria and beyond.

Limitations of the Study

Despite the valuable insights gained from this study, several limitations warrant acknowledgment. Firstly, the reliance on self-reported data through surveys may introduce response bias and social desirability bias, as respondents may provide answers they perceive as socially acceptable rather than reflecting their true beliefs or behaviors. Moreover, the use of a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causal relationships between variables, as it captures a snapshot of the phenomenon at a specific point in time, without accounting for temporal changes or long-term trends. Additionally, the sample size and composition may not fully represent the diversity of perspectives and experiences within the population, potentially limiting the generalizability of the findings to broader contexts.

Furthermore, the study’s focus on Nigerian politics may overlook the unique socio-cultural, economic, and political dynamics of other regions or countries, thereby restricting the applicability of the findings beyond the Nigerian context. Additionally, the exclusion of qualitative data collection methods, such as interviews or focus groups, may limit the depth of understanding of participants’ experiences and perspectives. Moreover, the study’s scope may have overlooked certain factors or dimensions of gender inequality and women’s political participation that warrant further exploration. Despite these limitations, this study provides a valuable foundation for future research endeavors aimed at addressing gender disparities and enhancing women’s political empowerment in Nigeria and beyond.


  • Abiola, D. (2020). Women and political participation in Nigeria. European Journal of Social Sciences, 14(4).
  • Adolfo, E. V., Kovacs, M. S., Nystrom, D., & Utas, M. (2012). Electoral violence in Africa. Retrieved from http://www.divaportal.org/smash/get/diva2:556709/fulltext01.pdf
  • Agbalajobi, D. T. (2020). Women’s participation and the political process in Nigeria: Problems and prospects. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 4(2), 75-82.
  • Behrendt-Kigozi, H. (2022). Empowerment of women in politics. Retrieved from https://www.kas.de/veranstaltungberichte/detail/-/content/empowerment-of-women-in-politics
  • Chalaby, O. (2017). Ranked and mapped: Which countries have the most women in parliament. Retrieved from https://apolitical.co/solution_article/which-countries-have-most-women-in-parliament/
  • Chodorow, N. J. (2021). Feminism and psychoanalytic theory. Yale University Press.
  • Collier, J. (2020). Women in politics. In M. Z. Rosaldo, & L. Lamphere (Eds.), Women, culture and society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Council of Europe. (2019). Media and the image of women. Report of the 1st Conference of the Europe Network of National Focal Points on Gender Equality in Amsterdam.
  • Davtyan-Gevorgyan, A. (2020). Women and mass media. Retrieved from feminism-boell.ng.org/en/2016/04/08/women-andmass-media
  • Egharevba, S. E., & Ovenseri-Ogbomo, F. U. (2018). Nigerian elite and the culture of primitive accumulation. American Economic and Social Review, 4(1), 8-14.
  • EMC. (2020). Women & political representation: A handbook on increasing women’s political participation in Georgia. Tbilisi: Fountain.
  • Faulkner, C. (2021). Lucretia Mott’s heresy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • George, R. (2019). Gender norms and women’s political participation: Global trends and findings on norm change. Retrieved from https://www.alighnplatform.org/resources/2019/02/gender-norms-and-womens-political-participation-global-trends-andfindings-norm
  • Kangas, A., Haider, H., Fraser, E., & Browne, E. (2021). Gender and governance. Retrieved from https://gsdrc.org/topicguides/gender/gender-and-governance/
  • Kassa, S. (2021). Challenges and opportunities of women political participation in Ethiopia. Journal of Global Economics, 3(4), 1-7.
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!