The Gender Agenda: Bargaining with Political Parties in Osun State, Nigeria

Type Book
Title The Gender Agenda: Bargaining with Political Parties in Osun State, Nigeria
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Publisher Erasmus University
URL WGD 2007-08.pdf
The objectives of the research are twofold: first to understand processes of social, economic and
political exclusions of women in Osun state from politics, and the relevance of these processes
for engagements of women with different backgrounds in political parties and electoral processes;
second to create space for debate, engagement and support of women in political parties who
wish to run for local government posts, with local NGOs, women groups and political parties for
2011 election.
The focus of the research is threefold: first on gendered exclusions of women from elec- g
toral processes and political parties in Osun state due to male domination; second on the social
and economic differences (dominations) among women who engage in these electoral processes
and third, on relevance of these differences in creating strategies for supporting women’s political
participation in electoral party processes. In order to analyze these processes a combination of
intersectional gender analysis with feminist conceptualization of empowerment and feminist contribution
to Sen’s bargaining model, adjusted to the context of political parties were used (rather
than household bargaining).
Looking at governance in Osun state women are still far behind, and the state may not be
able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (Goal #3 to promote gender equality and
empower women ), if proactive action is not taken. ‘There are no short cuts to increased gender
equality except real influence over party agendas and policy formulation’ (Salih and Nordlund
2007: 129). Therefore Women have to bargain their entry into and claim of public space, by using
whatever discursive and material opportunities available in the political parties, and by fighting
patriarchal institutions and ideologies that restrict their participation.
However addressing under representation of women in party and electoral politics should
include not only increasing the number of women in formal political power because this does not
in itself translate to greater empowerment for women (Kabeer 1992, 1994). Rather attention
should be paid on measures to improve the quality of participation and ways to achieve
qualitatively women’s empowerment in political parties and electoral systems. This will involve
recognition of power relations among women as well as between women and men, by locating
the structures and actors of exclusion, identifying areas of interaction and levels of intervention,
and taking concrete steps for inclusion to be taken simultaneously at all levels. Thus the under
representation of women at local political positions has to be analyzed in the context of
intersections of political, social and economic empowerment of women.

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