Nigerians Endorse Women’s Participation in Politics; 8 in 10 Would be Willing to Vote for Women

 

 

Abuja, Nigeria. March 17th, 2015 – Latest snap poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that most Nigerians (86 percent in total) support the idea of women contesting for political positions in the upcoming 2015 elections; to this regard, 8 in 10 (81 percent) would be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position.  This stance was regardless of age, geo-political zone and gender, although support was higher among female than male respondents. This finding therefore suggests a great transition in the perception of the participation of women in governance over the years. In line with this, the present administration’s implementation of the National Gender Policy has marked a significant increase in women’s representation in Government from 10 percent in 2011 to over 33 percent in 2013 with the appointment of 13 female Ministers out of 42, representing 31 percent and 4 Special Advisers out of 18, representing 23 percent.[1] This breakthrough in Nigeria’s political history has contributed to the overall success of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality which is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).[2]

More findings revealed that 83 percent of Nigerians believe women in political offices add value to their positions and this cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups. Reasons given by Nigerians for this assertion include ‘Women perform better than men’ (29 percent), ‘Women are capable and focused’ (18 percent) and that ‘Women are considerate’ (13 percent) amongst other reasons. On the other hand 17 percent have a contrary belief citing reasons such as ‘Women are weak’ (32 percent), ‘They have not done well in the past’ (11 percent) and ‘Women should be subjected to men’ (10 percent) amongst other reasons. Finally, An evaluation of the awareness of Nigerians on women in governance revealed the current Coordinating Minister of Finance ‘Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’ (37 percent), late ‘Dr. Dora Akunyili’ (15 percent), and Minister of Petroleum ‘Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke’ (11 percent) as the top 3 women Nigerians are aware of. These are the key findings from the recent Women in Governance poll conducted in the week of March 9th 2015.

Brief Background

The population of Nigeria has been estimated to be about 167 million people and women form half of that population.[3] Women have diverse roles in the society which cannot be over emphasized, although their participation in politics has been very limited. From time past, men's status was always considered to be as superior to that of women, even among the most socially advanced nations of the world, until after the International Women’s Conference held in Beijing in the year 1995 which marked a remarkable turnaround on the perception of a woman.[4]

Barriers to female participation in Nigerian politics are as a result of the limitation to culture, gender equality and African tradition among other reasons. Nigerian women's participation in the country’s politics is an issue of great importance, however it has been relegated for several years and this has stimulated women’s representation in the public sector.[5] Most women venture into politics in Nigeria so as to have a fair share and support for the female gender, making it one of their major responsibilities with a   great percentage of them emerging successfully as public office holders who now occupy key positions in the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government in Nigeria.[6]

Against this background, and in commemoration of the International Women’s Day which was celebrated on the 8th of March 2015, NOIPolls conducted its recent poll to gauge the perception of Nigerians on Women in Governance. The poll sought to measure the support of Nigerians for women running for political offices and their willingness to vote these women; as well as the perceptions of Nigerians on the performance of such women.

Survey Findings

Respondents to the poll were asked four specific questions. Firstly, to gauge support for women contesting for political offices, respondents were asked: To what extent do you support the idea of women contesting for political positions in Nigeria in the upcoming 2015 elections? Findings revealed that the vast majority (86 percent: 47+25+7 percent) of respondents support the idea of women contesting for political positions especially in the upcoming 2015 elections to an extent, where 47% affirmed to a very large extent; while, 14 percent of Nigerians are not in support of women contesting for political positions in  Nigeria.

Further analysis by gender revealed that more female (70 percent) than male (53 percent) Nigerians appreciate the idea of women contesting for political positions in the country to a very large extent. Analysis by geo-political zone revealed that the South-East zone (70 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who support the idea of women contesting for political positions in Nigeria to a very large extent. In addition, respondents aged 61 years and above showed the highest level of support for women contesting for political positions.

 

Subsequently, respondents were asked: Personally, would you be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position? Responses to this question depicts that a large proportion of the Nigerians (81 percent) would be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position, while 16 percent of Nigerians would not be willing to vote for a woman contesting for a political position.

Further evaluation by geo-political zone revealed that while the majority of respondents across all geo-political zones would be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position, the North-West (23 percent) and the North-East (20 percent) zones accounted for the largest proportion of respondents who stated that they will not be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position. 

 

In order to ascertain the perception of Nigerians on women in political positions, respondents were asked: In your opinion, do you think that women in political offices add value to such office/positions? In response to this question, the majority (83 percent) acknowledged that women in political offices add value to their positions and this cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups. Conversely, 17 percent of the respondents surveyed were of the view that women in political offices do not add value to their positions.  

 

Furthermore, respondents were asked: If yes or no to the question above, please give reasons? Respondents who admitted that women add value to political positions gave several reasons for their assertion such as ‘Women perform better than men’ (29 percent), ‘Women are capable and focused’ (18 percent) and that ‘Women are considerate’ (13 percent) amongst other reasons.

Meanwhile, respondents who said no gave reasons such as ‘Women are weak’ (32 percent), ‘They have not done well in the past’ (11 percent) and ‘Women should be subjected to men’ (10 percent) amongst other reasons.

 

Finally, respondents were asked: Can you mention the names of some women holding political offices that you are aware of? The results revealed that the current Coordinating Minister of Finance ‘Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’ (37 percent) tops the list of women holding political offices that Nigerians are aware of. This is followed by late ‘Dr. Dora Akunyili’ (15 percent), the current Minister of Petroleum ‘Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke’ (11 percent) and Mrs. Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufa'i (3 percent)  amongst other women in the list.

 

In conclusion, current poll results revealed that most respondents (86 percent: 47+25+7 percent) support the idea of women contesting for political positions especially in the upcoming 2015 elections to an extent; and a large proportion of Nigerians (81 percent) would be willing to vote for any woman contesting for a political position. More findings revealed that 83 percent of Nigerians believe that women in political offices add value to their positions and this cuts across gender, geo-political zone and age-group and reasons given for this belief include ‘Women perform better than men’ (29 percent), ‘Women are capable and focused’ (18 percent) and that ‘Women are considerate’ (13 percent) amongst other reasons. Finally, the current Coordinating Minister of Finance ‘Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’ (37 percent) tops the list of women holding political offices that Nigerians are aware of. This is followed by late ‘Dr, Dora Akunyili’ (15 percent), the current minister of petroleum ‘Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke’ (11 percent) and Mrs. Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufa'i (3 percent) amongst other women in the list.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of 9th March 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95 percent confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3 percent. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA) to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1]www.nigerianstat.gov.ng/pages/download/156

[2]http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/06/all-the-presidents-women-the-tale-of-a-paradigm-shift/

[3] http://www.population.gov.ng/index.php/84-news/latest/106-nigeria-over-167-million-population-implications-and-challenges

[4]Abiola AA (Ms), Lanre A (eds.) (2003). Gender Audit – 2003 Election and Issues In Women’s Political Participation In Nigeria, A Publication of Women Advocates Research And Documentation Centre (WARDC).

[5]www.onlinenigeria.com/nigerianwoman/?blurb=151

[6]Ezegbe, N. B. (2000). Problems and Prospects to Women Participation in Politics: Implications for Poverty Alleviation. Journal of Nigeria Educational Research Association.