In this latest No Time For Fear column, I want to share a Reuters article that I came across recently. Nigeria is having its general election in 2019; this alone is cause for worry. Female politicians and civil society leaders have said that women are not likely to win seats in Nigeria’s 2019 election due to discrimination and a shortage of female candidates running for office.

Female leaders are calling for more training and support for female candidates, both for the 2019 election and in future elections. In Nigeria, only about one in 20 lawmakers are female. Reuters reports that women hold only 27 of 469 parliamentary seats. The United Nations ranks Nigeria as one of the worst in the world for female representation in parliament.

At an event in the capital of Abuja aimed at boosting women’s involvement in politics, politicians said that women who want to enter politics should receive more training in skills like fundraising and political negotiation. Political leaders are also trying to reach out to young girls and get them interested in and excited about politics. The Girl Pride Circle Initiative helps girls to get internships in Parliament.

The founder of the Girl Pride Circle Initiative, Olaoluwa Abagun, says that getting girls inspired by politics and getting them actively involved is vital.

“If you walk into a room where you have adolescent girls, you most likely won’t find them talking about politics,” Abagun said. “Even boys as young as 10 say: I want to be president…We need to be conscious about investing in adolescent girls.”

Like in other parts of the world, if more women were involved in government, then there would be more policies created that support women. Nigeria’s female lawmakers say that more women are needed to support policies focusing on gender-based violence and maternal mortality.

Current female Nigerian members of Parliament say that gender discrimination is a major obstacle to getting more women in politics. Women have to work twice as hard to convince their constituents that they can, in fact, lead and are up to the challenge.

-Sage Daugherty
Associate Editor
Girl Museum Inc.


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