Women Emancipation and the level of participation in politics. A case study of Ohaozara East Local government area of Ebonyi state.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is pertinent to know that women are valuable assets, and they need to be recognized in the whole world. Women constitute more than half of the world’s population approximately, 50%, and have contributed immensely to the well-being of the human race.
In centuries ago, it has been a deadly blow being given to women emancipation and their political participation. It was noted that prior to Nigeria independence, women’s potentialities are not recognized. Women intensively had suffered all forms of discrimination, inequality, exclusion in politics and other affairs.
In recent times, however; women have been struggling in order to liberate themselves from those injustice meted on them, which is in contradiction with the provision in 1989 Nigeria constitution section 42 (i), that women should not be disadvantaged by reason of their gender, also in 1979 constitution section 39 (i) which talk about human rights respectively.
However, it was in November 1985 at UN General Assembly resolution that the issue of violence against women which is likely to result to psychological harm and arbitrary deprivation of liberty was brought to a grave in a related document, the Unite Nations Funds for Women (UNIFEM), and point that women should be recognized. Also, the international women’s year conference which was held in Mexico city from June 19 to July 2, 1975 gave birth to convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). And this, act as a standing point for women full political participation.
In retrospect, a lot of women had viewed for key posts in the political system. women are made speaker in house of assembly, ministers of federal ministries, commissioner and so on.
According to ubakaeze, (200), there are some women who have participated actively in polities development. In 1974. for the first time in history of north polities, a women, miss D.M miller was made a commissioner in the northern central state; and in the Eastern central state, Mrs. Flora Nwakwuch. Those in ministerial office were Mrs. Kuforojolubi. Professor Miriam Ikejiani Clarke and so on. In Federal House of Representatives, they were Haijia Kanda Balarable from Kano State. Mr.s Serah Dokitiri and Mrs. Elizabeth Wuyep both from plateau state and legislator from the Eastern side of cross River state, Mrs. Sylvia Anyad Bakiri.
Moreover, the impact of women in struggle to prevent women taxation during colonial period had remained a memorable event in history. The right known as Aba riot of 1929 was recorded “Women’s war”. This is because of their impact to colonial politics in Nigeria. Also, during the dethronement of Ademola 11 in 1948, women in their thousands rose in protest against power Abuse. Mrs. Ransome Kuti who mobilized other women so as to banish Ademola 11 from Egba. Also, in struggle for independence, Nigeria women played a remarkable role. They formed women’s wing of the two main political parties; National Council of Nigeria and the Camerons (NCNC) which had its base in the Eastern Region, the Northern people’s congress (NPC) with its base in Northern Nigeria; which was formed in Agust 1944 and October 1951 respectively. It was during this period that 1960 and Yoruba women acquired the right to vote and be voted for. Soon after, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransone Kati launched a campaign for women’s franchise ie their right to participate in politics. Other women that participated in politics were Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Mrs. Oyikan Moreinaka, Mrs. Kofoworolu pratt who became the first commissioner for health under Johnson administration, Mrs. Janet Mokalu and mrs. Oyibe odinamadu contributed to the awakening of women to their political rights.
In advance, it is pertinent to mention some women in the world who have reached the level of presidents and prime ministers under presidency level, we have corazon Aquino of Philippines, Ertha Pascal-Trounlot of Haiti, Isabel peron of Argentina, Lidia Geiler of Bolivia, Voileta chamorio in Nacaragua, Vigolis Finnabogathir in Island, mary Robinson in Ireland, and Chandrike Bandaranaike Kumaratungo in Sri Lanka; while those at prime minister level includes: Golda Meir in Isreal, India Ghandi in India, Hanna Suchocker in Poland, Edith Cresson in France, Margaret Tatcher in the united Kingdom, Maria de Lourdes Pintasigo in Portugal, Agatha Uwiligi Yimana in Kwanda, Kazimiera Danute-prunskiene in Lithunia, Milka Paninc in Yugoslavia, Kim Campbell in Canada, Ciro Harlem Brundland in Norwa, Eugenia Charles in Dominica Republic, Tansu Cillerin in Turkey, Benazzi Bhuto in Bangladesh, and Siramavo Bandaran Bandaranaike in Sir Lanka. Also dujring Beinjing conference in 1995 known as world conference on woman, Mrs. Getrude Mongelle was secretary General.
Relevantly in Anambra State, Mrs Eucharia Azodo was elected a member of the House of Assembly and as a result, became the speaker of the House of assembly. Also, Mrs. Eunice Ukamaka Egwu (JP), the wife of the first executive Governor of Ebonyi State has in her relentless effort done many things remarkable like provision of Women Development Center (WDC), and mobilizing women in rural area in terms of political participation, providing the less privileged women life sustenance and this encourage them to participate in politics. This has helped in breeding women to politics. In Ugwulangwu, Mrs. Hanna gewel Nwugo is the supervisory councilor. Also commissioner for women affair in Ebonyi State, Mrs. Margaret Nworie and other women who holds post in Ebonyi State House of Assembly are women.
Finally, there has been considerable improvement in the status of women in Ugwulangwu and Nigeria in general; but the demonstrations demonstrate that the tempo is low. For instance, in Nigeria politics, there has been an increase in women political participation (Omoruji, 1992), especially in registration and voting there is however a mismatch between the high incidence of female turnout and female presence in elective offices. We must therefore, note that there still growing imbalance relative to women participation in urban and rural areas. The Northern (Women) are still found to be trailing behinds their counterparts in south. Note women are human entitled to all fundamental human right as conferred by God enshrined in the constitution. Therefore, the creation of a woman is just as compliments. Men and women are complementary.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It has been discovered that women had suffered immensely all forms of discrimination, inequality, exclusion and violence. During colonalization, only men were actively involved in pubic sphere and earned a living to support their families. Men were given education and got recruited into the civil service and merchant houses. The exclusion of women from leadership positions has robbed mankind of their unique potential for governance. This had led to gender insensitivity in the design and implementation of public policy and helped to perpetuate gender inequality in different aspect of social life. The question lies on the following; how can women be emancipated as to enhance their level of participation in politics or can women be really emancipated. All these, form the statement of the problem in this research work.
Finally, therefore, it is the contention of this work to militate against al sorts of negligence meted against women and sort out suitable ways through which such a problem can be ameliorated.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In order to embark on production which is the creation of utility, this work had aimed at the following objectives:
- To enhance women participation in politics.
- To recommend ways of stopping gender discrimination.
- To enhance women liberation (Feminism).
- To encourage gender equality.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this work will cover a wider area of human society, as long as women remain a valuable asset in the society, community and state.
Its significance will also be of immense help to traditional rulers of various communities in making policy.
It will help students both male female during and after their education.
Finally, it will benefit government in terms of policy, decision making, rural and urban women in general.
- SCOPE/ LIMITATIONS AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This work covers the geo- political entity known as ugwulangwu in ohaozara – East local government area of Ebonyi state. The study is delimited to five villages such and as. Amene, mgbom, ohaozara, ufu – ezeraku, and ufuotaru respectively. It will involve the study of women emancipation and their level of taking part in the political affairs of the society. Investigation will also be carried out in this work as to extent of the problem in question.
Moreover, this work has been limited by a number of forces/problems. First, is the problem of finance. A researcher of this nature requires a lot of money for constant transportation to the selected villages under study. Also, there is shortage of finance to acquire necessary materials such as textbooks for the review of related literature.
Another factor limiting this work is time bearing in mind that this work goes in paripassu with the researcher normal school lecturers, hence, there is no enough time to go to these villages constantly. These and other factors limited this work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
In order of clarification, some concepts have been employed by the researcher to aid her in this work.
- Emancipation:- it means setting free especially from legal, political or moral restriction,
- Feminism:- The act of supporting that women should have the same rights and opportunities as their male counter-parts.
- Gender:- it means class of sex (male/female).
The following questions has being used by the researcher which help her in carrying out the work.
- The traditional values and norms which subordinate women to their counter-parts appear to under mines men’s participation in politics.
- The development material condition of women make them averse to politics.
- Emancipation of women enhances their level of political participation.
- THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theoritical framework used in analyzing this topic-“Women Emancipation and political participation as a reaction to the inability of the Elite theory to provide proper explanation to politics. Around fifties and sixties centuries, this theory was brought back to limelight by the following political scientists: David Truman, Robert Dahl, Grant, Mc Connell, Theodora J. Lewi and others; although it was first originated from Authur F. Bentley, in his book called “The process of Government” (1908).
The group theory is based on the intellectual root and assumption that every society has within it a large number of social groups that continue to engage in perpetual struggles the theory took a pluralist approach in which power is not seen to be concentrated in a single group or class but diffused among different groups in the society. Thus, in the words of S. P varma (1993), the intellectual roots of the group theory lies in the doctrines of pluralism, as developed by a number of 20th century English writer like john figgis, F.W. Maitland and G.D.H. Cole.
Bentley, in a lid to bring the importance of group in politics stated thus:
There is no ideal which is not reflection of society.
There is no feeling which the individual can fix
upon except in a social form. The raw material we study (in politics) is never found in one man by himself, it cannot not even be stated by adding men to men. It must be taken as it comes in many mentogether. it is a relation between men or the action of men with each other.
Therefore, Bentleys idea both in the society government- legislation, polices and administration are all comprises of men cutting across each other. He also defined ‘groups’ as a mass of activity rather than a collection of individuals.
Moreover, David Truman in his book “The process of Government” (1908), conceived a group as “a collection of individuals which on the basis of one or more shared attitudes, make certain claims upon other groups in the society for the establishment, maintance of behaviour implies in the share attitudes which constitute interest. So, as groups are in ceaseless struggle in a bid to protect their interest; likewise women, their participation in politics should also be seen as struggle to gain political advantage over other groups operating in a political system. Thus, politics should be classless business.
Succinctly, on this point al the operational groups in Nigeria political system, like: National Association of Female Lawyers, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) are all in continues struggle for power and domination.
Finally, (Ijere 1991), supported that Nigeria Women should be integrated into the main stream of politics hence, contributing her quota towards political development.
This theory serves as a good explanatory framework of this research topic.