Nigeria’s National Assembly: why adding seats for women isn’t enough

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June 11, 2021

Nigeria’s National Assembly: why adding seats for women isn’t enough

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Nigeria cannot afford the high cost of creating additional seats in its National Assembly. Sunday/Aghaeze/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria has very few women participating in politics. Only seven out of 109 senators and 22 of the 360 House of Representatives members are women. And only four out of 36 deputy governors are women. The country has never had a woman state governor. To create gender balance, the country’s lower house – the house of representatives – is planning to create an additional 111 seats for women at the country’s national assembly. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Damilola Agbalojobi, political scientist and gender specialist, for insights.

Will creating additional seats for women make a difference?

Quota systems provide opportunities for more women to stand for election, help women pull down barricades between them and the public, and give political parties incentives to target women’s votes. But they’re not enough.

Electoral quotas fall into three broad categories: party quotas, legislative quotas and reserved seats. Party quotas are the measures voluntarily adopted by political parties to make room for a certain proportion of women among their parties’ candidates. Legislative quotas are measures passed by national parliaments requiring all parties to nominate a certain proportion of female candidates. Reserved seats policies make room for women in political groups. The goal of this system is to ensure a minimum representation threshold is met.

Click here to read the full article published by The Conversation on 31 May 2021.

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Damilola Agbalajobi