Wednesday, February 11, 2015 1:48 pm
Women As Voters And Their Struggles In The Nigerian Economy
It is another year of elections campaign and voting in Nigeria, the most populated black nation in the world.
Since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999, Nigerian women have been a vital part of the electoral process, contributing their quota to ensure the survival of government of the people, by the people and for the people. They turn out in large numbers to vote for candidates of their choice during elections.
They have done so with their babies strapped to their backs, with their items of trade on their heads, waiting on long queues sometimes under the hot sun to cast votes.
Ironically, while male politicians continue to depend on their support to win elections, little has been done in terms of opening of the political space to them by way of standing for elective positions.
In 2011 election for instance, only seven women were elected into the 109-member Nigeria Senate while there were only 25 in the House of Representatives out of the 360 elected members.
Women have also, over the years, emerged as the major backbone of their families, sometimes playing the role of breadwinners.
There have been an increasing number of single mothers made up of women between the ages of 18 and 25 years pushed into motherhood by unemployed and under employed young men and philandering married men who abandoned the girls after putting them in the family way.
Some of the single mothers have taken to prostitution as they can be found “hustling” in hotels and night clubs across the country in order to take care of their babies.
Some, like Madam Rose in Akwa Ibom State, were forced to become major breadwinners for their families as a result of the death of their partners. A widow with seven children to take care of, Madam Rose was abandoned by her husband’s family after the death of her partner. Today, she sells smoked fish around the village to take care of the seven kids.
Now what does the future holds for Nigerian women?