FACT SHEET: Women ‘poorly represented’ in Nigeria’s 19 years of democratic rule – CDD

Women group storms court to protest Patience Jonathan's 'harassment'
A cross section of a women's group

In 1999, Nigeria transited from military rule to democratic governance. Despite the return of democracy, however, women are yet to occupy up to 15 per cent of elective positions in a country where the voting population of both men and women are almost equal.

Not only has no woman been elected president, none has been elected vice president nor elected as governor in Nigeria’s 19 years of democracy.

According to figuresby the National Population Commission (NPC) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in April, Nigeria has a population of about 193 million people with approximately 51 per cent males and 49 per cent females.

The population figures has, however, never turned in favour of women in elective positions.

An analysis by PREMIUM TIMES and women rights activists ahead of the 2015 election predicted that women would record low representation. The outcome of that year’s election justified the prediction.

Women secured only 6.2 per cent (seven female senators) of seats in the Senate in that year’s election while men constituted 93.8 per cent.

Only six women emerged as deputy governors in the 36 states of the country. No woman was elected governor.

Some of the factors affecting female political participation and representation in Nigeria, according to Centre for Development and Democracy (CDD), include funding, awareness, culture, religion, party system and structure, among others.

Below are various charts that show the poor representation of women in Nigeria’s governance structure. The fact sheet was produced by the CDD.

Pattern of Women Representation Since 1999
Current Trends

Currently, there are 469 legislators in the National Assembly: 109 and 360 in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

Out of this, only seven women are in the Senate while 22 are in the House. Thus, female lawmakers constitute 6.2 percent while male legislators, 93.8 per cent.

At the state assembly level, there are 51 women out of 990 members, representing 5.2 per cent in terms of representation.

“The intent of this fact sheet is to revisit and discuss women representation in elective offices in Nigeria by providing reliable data on the trends and generate robust discussions around the issues as the country prepare for the 2019 elections”, said CDD.


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