LET’S TALK AFRICAN POLITICS AND THE FEMALE GENDER!
Politics can mean the exercise of power by constitutional and unconstitutional means. In other words, a process of decision making and governance over a group, community etc. Most often, people equate politics to the acquisition of power necessary for making decisions (good or bad) on behalf of a whole or a quest for public relevance and service.
Since the time of old, politics and governance have been dominated by the male gender. Consequently, skewing and affecting the decision-making process, with grievous effect on the female gender, leaving women and girls to be victims of physical and emotional abuses.
This problem of poor decision-making process has led to a number of negative effects on the female gender; these effects are not limited to the following areas:
Globally, women representation in both private and public sectors have been very poor. Perhaps, it is as a result of the perception of the female gender as weak and incompetent. However, few national African governments are enacting laws to address this challenge and improve women’s representation in governance. The Nigerian government has equally made several efforts towards achieving 35% affirmative action for women’s positions in public offices, which has sadly yielded low results all the same.
Despite, the low representation of women in leadership in many African countries, Rwanda is a beacon of hope to many countries across the globe, with a remarkable number of women representations in governance. The consequence of this greater involvement of women in politics is that, it encourages speedy passage of bills affecting women and the girl child.
In Nigeria, issues such as child marriage or female genital mutilation are major challenges facing girls and women in the country. Yet, the National Assembly has passed few bills in favour of women since women do not have numerical strength to successfully sponsor, vote and push such bills to be passed into law in the National Assembly.
However, hope is not lost, as other African countries are joining the wagon, hence, are waking up to the realities of the importance of the female gender in politics. A good example is Namibia where we have a beacon of hope in the person of Hon. Emma Theophilus. She was recently appointed the Deputy Minister for Information and Technology in Namibia. She is a 23-year-old law graduate who has now become Namibia’s youngest member of parliament. In her speech in reaction to people’s bickering and waging tongues on her suitability in terms of experience, she said, “I do not think I am inexperienced and I do not think being young or female has anything to do with my appointment. Anything I set for myself to and any environment I want to work into, I can do it; so, the issue of inexperience does not hold any water”. Answering to other questions about her manifesto in office, she said, “I will push for the finalization of certain critical bills that the Ministry is busy with. She said, some of the bills to be tables include access to information and the Cybersecurity bills which are pertinent”.
So, we expect the best from Emma and wish her an amazing time in office. From her strength we can see that she is unperturbed by people’s fears and perception of who she is. Also, we can perceive that she is willing to press through barriers to become suitable for her leadership position; obviously, she is not expecting any favours because apparently, she is a member of the group considered “the weaker sex” she is willing to ply herself, work hard and make the most of the opportunity she has. This is purely a show of the girl power and an encouragement to other young people to get involved in politics and change our world for good.
Power struggle in Africa has led to many inter-tribal and communal clashes in many sub-Saharan countries. Examples are the Rwanda Genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi in 1994, the Nigeria Civil war between 1967-1970, the Sudan Crisis, and many others. Presidents and leaders of their nations, who were predominantly males contributed to fueling these crises. Unfortunately, the aftermath of these crises are children and women who are turned into orphans and widows who are left to deal with deep emotional trauma for the rest of their lives.
When more women assume positions of leadership, there may be a tendency for less wars and crisis as alternative approaches like dialogue and dispute resolutions techniques like arbitration or mediation may be explored before resorting to war.
Access to quality education has been a major challenge in Africa. This is due to poor funding, poor infrastructure development, predominance of inexperienced teachers, lack of adequate instructional materials etc. In some areas, attendance to school and obtaining knowledge is prioritized in terms of gender, which of course is not in favour of the female gender. Nigeria accounts for the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world right next to India. There are over 5 million girls out of school in Nigeria.
The good news, however, is that just recently many subnational governments in Nigeria and other African countries are implementing policies to promote Girl child education. For instance, the Kaduna state Government has mandated free and compulsory education for girls, from primary to secondary school (including funding of their senior school certificate examinations).
Have you learnt anything from this write up? How has it challenged you to take bolder steps?
- This topic was modified 10 months ago by gcadmin.
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