The State of Gender Representation in Nigeria Today, By Ayisha Osori

This year, the theme for International Women’s day – March 8 2013, is Gender Agenda – Gaining Momentum. It is an opportunity to take stock of gains for women and girls and look towards opportunities for improvement, because there is always room for improvement.

 Nigeria has made gains in terms of the political participation of women and their inclusion in government through elections and appointments. This is vital to ensure balanced policy and policy implementation which reflects the aspirations and needs of half of the population. Since 1960 when we had just one woman out of 36 in the Senate and no women in the House, we have moved to 7% representation of women in the National Assembly. While disappointingly low by African average of 19% representation, at the Federal Executive Council Mr. President has constituted a cabinet that has come closest to meeting the recommendation of the National Gender Policy 2006 for at least 35% representation.

However, States and their State Executive Councils still lag far behind, even though many are led by Governors from the same political party as Mr. President. The facts* speak for themselves.

  States # of Women Portfolios
1 Abia 3 Education; Women Affairs; Government House
2 Adamawa 7/27 (25.9%) Information not available
3 Akwa Ibom 1 Women Affairs
4 Anambra 2 Women Affairs; Youth & Sports
5 Bauchi 2/33 (6%) Women; Commerce & Industry
6 Bayelsa 3 Women Affairs; Transport; Science & Tech
7 Benue 2 Information; Women Affairs
8 Borno 4/22 (18%) Health; Commerce; Poverty Alleviation; Women & Youth
9 Cross River 2 Women Affairs; Social Dev
10 Delta 4 Women Affairs; Poverty Alleviation; MDGs; Relationship
11 Ebonyi 1 Women Affairs
12 Edo 2 Women Affairs; Arts & Culture
13 Ekiti 4 Women Affairs; Education; Commerce; Information
14 Enugu 4 Health; Gender; Labour; Science & Tech
15 Gombe 2/19 (10.5%) Information not available
16 Imo 3 Agriculture; Women Affairs, Commerce
17 Jigawa 1 Women Affairs
18 Kanduna 2 Women Affairs; Special Duties
19 Kano 2 Women Affairs; Agriculture
20 Katsina 1 Women Affairs
21 Kebbi 1 Women Affairs
22 Kogi 2 Women Affairs; Health
23 Kwara 2 Women Affairs; Social Dev & Tourism
24 Lagos 5** Health; CBD; Establishment & Training; Education; Women Affairs
25 Nasarawa 3 Women Affairs; Planning; Information & Orientation
26 Niger 1 Women Affairs
27 Ogun 6 Women Affairs; Budget & Planning; Justice; Finance; Culture and Tourism; Agriculture
28 Osun 4 Women Affairs; Education; Health; Human Resources
29 Oyo 2 Women Affairs; Information
30 Ondo 3 Health; Women Affairs; Adult Tech
31 Plateau State 4 Women Affairs; Science & Tech; Commerce; Environment
32 Rivers 4 Women Affairs; Education; Water Resources; Information
33 Sokoto 1 Women Affairs
34 Taraba No Information
35 Yobe 1 Women Affairs
36 Zamfara 1 Women Affairs


*This information is what was available to researchers as of March 5-7, 2013 and was collated in collaboration with gender advocacy organizations across Nigeria including Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) and Gender Awareness Trust (GAT).

The challenges of collecting this information were that, most states do not have up to date public information on: (1) the total number of commissioners and (2) the number of women. In the 21st Century this opacity with regards to such vital information is not a good signal in terms of holding officials accountable. We invite all States which feel aggrieved by the information to provide the Nigerian Women Trust Fund with up-to -date information by writing us at 19 Monrovia Street, Wuse 2 Abuja or using Twitter (GenderFactor) and Facebook (Nigerian Women Trust Fund) to share current information.

**Lagos State’s Deputy Governor is also the Commissioner for Women Affairs

 Ms. Ayisha Osori is the CEO of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. She contributed this fact file in commemoration of  today International Women’s Day celebration.


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