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POLI 3311 (5)

Women and Development

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Political Science
POLI 3311
Peter Arthur

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Women and Development: - Four conditions of African women: - Overall political and economic conditions in African make life difficult for women and men but women are doubly oppressed - African societies and gender roles are highly diverse (difficult to generalize) - Class as well as gender influence status of women - Treatment of women in African reflects indigenous, pre-colonial and European influences - Gordon suggests trajectory that women will lose status in sub-Saharan societies, subordination will continue unless women make a concerted effort to change the status quo - Imposition of European patriarchy in the former colonized regions of Africa is largely responsible for modern say subordination of Africa - Precolonial history of sub-Saharan African is ambiguous, little written records - Modern historical accounts are often generalized and inaccurate - Women in pre-colonial Africa were producers, respected as child-bearers, greater autonomy; respected for contributions to society - Colonial Legacy: European imposition of patriarchy, commercialization of agriculture served as a detriment to women, women remaining the in rural regions growing food crops, while men went to the towns to farm commercially - African gender relations were disrupted to assist European endeavors - Women suffered economically and politically under colonization, and this continues today - Post Independence Period: - Social structure imposed by colonies continue in Africa - Independent African nations are largely modeled on their “colonial predecessors” - Gender roles based on the European model - Women lack legal rights Women in Nigeria (Agbalajobi): - Women make up half of Nigerian population - Not given recognition and largely discriminated against - Very prevalent in politics, women excluded and underrepresented Reasons for discrimination: - Cultural beliefs, religious/traditional practices, patriarchy - Culture creating gender - Colonialism; introduced Western male superiority, social structure - Patriarchy - Physical and biological differences - Low level of political interest, knowledge and activity; due to education/knowledge Further Problems: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - Assumes no barriers to women’s participation - Women are not aware of their rights and the rules protecting these rights - If women were aware of their under-representation in government, they would be more likely to vote for women running for office Existing System - Democracy an elusive concept - Participation vs Representation - Chapman (1993): When women compete with men for access to polticial power, they do so on the terms already established by men for competition among themselves (76) - The success of women cannot be achieved within a system without displacing of replacing the existing elite (76) Nigerian Politics - 1979 Nigerian constitution guaranteed rights of women to participate in government - But did not ensure equal representation - In practice much discrimination and few women - Nigerian politics turbulent, forceful, violent Factors Against Women - Do what men do to succeed - Money for political campaigns - Social expectations for women Possible Solutions - Affirmative action - Women’s groups, women’s empowerment groups - Form of Nigerian Women in Politics - UN declarations and conventions - CEDAW - International bill of rights for women - Beijing Conference 1995 - Quotas, education - Support networks and prospective role models - Building a coalition of NGOs and grassroots women associations Current Status of Women in Nigeria
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