Violence, religion, culture bane of women emancipation ― Fayemi

Wife of the governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, has attributed culture, tradition and religion as the bane of women political emancipation in the country.

Fayemi who stated this while delivering the fifth guest lecture of University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Ondo, Ondo state, also identified violence and high level of intimidation during campaigns and political events as some of the factors hindering women’s political participation in politics.

According to her, women were being oppressed under the guise of religion and culture while women are usually relegated to the background or marginalised when it comes to sharing of political offices.

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In her lecture titled “Clapping with one hand, female education, leadership and the quest for national development” lamented that major political parties in Nigeria marginalised women when it comes to sharing political offices and getting tickets to contest elections.

She noted that women are not given enough space to contest under the two major political parties in the country,  pushing them to fringe political parties with no chance of getting elected into political offices.

She said “political parties are characterised by the resistance to the inclusion of women who are not nominated in winnable positions. In a perpetually vicious circle, parties continue to perceive women as electoral risks because of their relative inexperience compared to men who are more likely to be incumbents, and, therefore, re-elected in subsequent elections.

“All the leading political parties in Nigeria operate a system which enables power brokers within the parties to influence, with varying degrees of success, who gets what from the party.”

She said these impediments prevented women from holding key political positions, while they are only left with positions such as women leaders and welfare officers.

She noted that some others were only used to play supportive roles and to entertain guests, saying “those who do manage to make headway are labelled as promiscuous because there is always some suspicion attached to the political success of a woman.

“This is why women are often marginalised when it comes to choosing candidates to get the tickets to run for ‘safe’ political seats”

The Vice-Chancellor of UNIMED, Prof Friday Okonofua said Nigeria has one of the lowest representation of women parliament among African countries.

Okonofua who frowned over the development said if marginalization of women in politics continues, it would lead to overall underdevelopment in the country and would amount to the country clapping with one hand.