assessment of broadcast media role in mobilizing women for political participation



1.1Background of the Study

According to Hans Klein (2005), political participation refers to ‘citizen’s rights to influence public affairs’. In line with this thought, political participation can be identified as those actions taken by the citizens of a country either to influence or to support government and politics. It derives from the freedom to speak out, assemble and associate; the ability to take part in the conduct of public affairs; and the opportunity to register as a candidate, to campaign, to be elected and to hold office at all levels of government.

In Nigeria, women play a minimal role in politics. Just few women are found in political leadership positions although the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Chapter 4 sections 30 and 40 guaranteed rights to all citizens of Nigeria- both male and female- rights that are basic and fundamental to all without discrimination between both sexes Onabajo, O. (2000).

Women have been actively engaged in political struggle since the 19th century. Women like Amina of Zaria, Madam Tinubu of Lagos, Olufunmilayo Ransom Kuti of Abeokuta, Margaret Ekpo and Hajjia Gabon Swabia among many others have fought to give Nigerian women a pride of place in Nigeria’s history Luka (2011). In the areas of politics, these women amongst others contributed immensely to the mobilization and sensitization of women with a view to ensuring that women participated actively in politics. According to the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Professor Attahiru M. Jega, ‘Women should not be reduced to only voting and supporting male candidates win elective positions’. This was the motivation behind the unveiling of the INEC Gender Policy that institutionalizes the following:

1. Ensuring that INEC policies, plans, processes and operations are gender responsive;

2. Encouraging gender equity and balance within political parties, especially in the identification of candidates in line with the provisions of their statutes;

3. Increasing budgetary provision and mobilizing partners to effectively provide funding for gender sensitive actions within their purview and

4. Supporting an enabling legislative environment to achieve gender equality and bridging gaps in political representation in elective posts at all electoral levels.

1.2 Statement of Problem

It is not a hidden fact that women are under represented in the field of politics. In agreement with the assertion of Luka (2011), that “Politics is too serious a business to be left solely in the hands of men, the continuous low political participation of women in Nigeria becomes a major concern. In 2011, out of 109 senatorial seats available in Nigeria only 20 seats were occupied by females, same goes for the House of Representatives as only 24 seats out of 362 seats were occupied by women. In addition to the above, with vacancy in 36 states in Nigeria there are no female governors in the country neither has there been any female president or vice president.

There has been and still instances of women holding high political positions of leadership in countries like, Britain, Philippines, Brazil, Liberia, Germany etc, but in Nigeria reverse is the case. Women are also called to be leaders and not mere followers because they have equal rights as provided for in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria. The mass media especially the radio has an important role to play in mobilizing women for political participation, as this is one of the primary functions of the mass media.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is therefore stated as follows:

1.      To explain the role of the broadcast media towards mobilizing women for political participation.

2.      To encourage gender equity and balance within political parties.

3.      To know ways which societal culture and norms affect women   participation in politics in Nigeria.

4.      To examine the effect of media in mobilizing women towards political     participation.

5.To find out some problems facing women in participating in politics.

1.4 Research Questions

In this study, an attempt will be sufficiently made to answer the following questions.

1.      What is the role of the broadcast media towards mobilizing women for political participation?

2.      What is the perception of women on these political programs?

3.      In what ways is societal culture and norms affect women     participation in politics in Nigeria?

4.          What has been the effect of media in mobilizing women towards political participation?

5.      What are the problems facing women in participating in politics?

1.5       SCOPE OF STUDY

The study will be centered basically on the Assessment of Broadcast Media Role in Mobilizing Women for Political Participation.

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is expected that at the end of this study, to update knowledge within the framework of the study. Particularly, it will assist people’s views on the usefulness of broadcast media in mobilizing women to take part in decision-making. This study will draw the attention of government to empower women to participate in politics through the use of radio, television, films and motion pictures in their packaging of news reports and events, and to academics in their practices and training of journalist. The government should promote the welfare of women in general. Also the federal government should promote the full utilization of women in the development of human resources and to bring about their acceptance as full participation in every phase of national development with equal rights and corresponding obligations least involving 30% elective positions for women.

Another important significance of this is for election to be conducted according to the rules, in which all qualified individuals especially women are free to vote or be voted for with out constraints of manipulations. (Williams, 2008).

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