September Newsletter (PDF)
Cultural Barrier among other factors continues to perpetuate the low representation of women in leadership at national, state and local levels in Nigeria. Working experience with women and traditional rulers at the community level in the southeast shows that four (4) out of the five (5) southeastern states have a cultural or traditional inhibition to women’s political participation. Imo state women in politics for example, identified male preference as a tradition that prevents their effective engagement in leadership and decision-making spaces in the state. Abia women in politics had lamented about indigenization, a tradition which forbids women married from Abia state to other communities from participating in politics in their maiden state. However, married or not, a woman should be voted for, and elected into leadership roles. Traditional taboos and male preference are traditions in Anambra state that stand against women’s leadership in the state. Anambra women in politics had experienced situations where it was declared a taboo for them enter certain sacred places. Sadly, these forbidden places are where important issues about the communities are decided. Could it be that the assumption behind this tradition is that women are not capable and will to be part of the body that make such important decisions? Do these important issues that “men” alone decide about not affect women also? Why are women not part of the process of decision making that affects them, their children and their families?