If you have been wondering why most women don’t participate in the political affairs of their countries, this article is for you. Today, i will extensively discuss some of the reasons why many women don’t participate in politics.
During my university days, i was friend with one of the most recognized ladies in my class. Her name was Crystalbell. When we first came into the school, she was respected by many students (including our seniors). Crystalbell was loving, kind and friendly. Her charisma earned her the post of “Assistant Class Representative“. As the assistant class representative, she was not doing too many jobs. This continued until the actual class representative, who was a boy, broke one of the school rules and he was suspended. Crystalbell had to take up the leadership of our class from him instantaneously.
For the few months she acted as the class representative, she did very well. She was even better than the suspended class representative. However, some male students were not happy about it. In fact, they condemned her for every single thing she did. This was apparently because she was a woman.
When her tenure as the class representative ended, she contested for other political positions in the faculty, but failed. It was as if the school did not want her to continue her political career.
She didn’t wrong anybody before leaving office. The whole class seemed not to like her leadership or the leadership of any other woman in the class.
This story captures some of the reasons why women don’t participate in politics today. In fact, it explains the core obstacles holding women all over the world from participating in the political affairs of their countries. Nevertheless, for the purpose of clearity, i will go further to list and explain why women don’t participate in politics.
Reasons why most women don’t participate in politics
Below are some of the reasons why most women don’t participate in politics:
- Predetermined gender roles in the society
- Lack of funds
- Religious beliefs
- Inferiority complex
- Corruption and bad governance
Yeah! There you have some of the causes of the non-participation of women in politics. Meanwhile, if you need more information on why women don’t participate in politics, i enjoin you to continue reading for more details on each point above.
1. Ideology: The Websters dictionary defines Ideology as “a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture.” It is the way people think and see things (their world view). In most countries of the world today, women are seen as second class human beings. Thus, they are not allowed to hold prestigious offices in the politics of their countries.
For instance, in a country like Nigeria, it is probably impossible for a woman to become the president of the country. No doubt, the reason is because, women are known to be weak, frigile and incapable to making decision in critical situations.
It is pertinent to note that, this Ideology is not just nurtured my men alone. Some women even agree to the fact that they are second class humans. In today’s world, only few women run for the post of Presidency. They believe they can only be active as the vise president or leader of any other lower position. Researchers have confirmed that not up to 10 percent of the countries in the whole world is led by women.
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2. Predetermined gender roles in the society: Aside from Ideology, the predetermined gender roles assigned by the society also contribute to why women don’t participate in politics today. Predetermined gender roles in the society are those role assigned to women and men by the society.
For instance, women are known for cooking and caring of children while men are known as protectors of the family. In a speech made by one of the popular presidents in the world said on TV, that his wife belongs to the “kitchen, bedroom and every other rooms”.
I was very disappointed when i heard this, but it is just the truth. Women are enjoined to be submisive to their husbands in everything. Conversely, even in politics they are expected to be submisive.
Many scholars have actually written on this topic claiming that “what a man can do, a women can do better”, but the works of these scholars seems to be doing nothing to the predetermined gender roles assigned to women in the society. It is like an adamant belief.
3. Lack of funds: Lack of funds is also one of the causes of non-participation of women in politics. Before going into politics, one of the factors every politician must consider is money.
Most people are easily moved when they see politicians spend money. In countries where money is very necessary for winning elections, women don’t participate in politics because they have little or no chance of succeeding in their political career.
Let me use my country for instance. To win a common governorship election in my country (Nigeria), every candidate must be ready to spend nothing less than a million naira just for the governorship form and campaign. This money is different from the money paid to godfathers and other corrupt leaders for their consent.
In light of all these, it is probably impossible for a woman to contest for the office of a governor because she may lack the fund to sponsor herself for all the campaigns and necessarily payments to become one.
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4. Religious beliefs: Most of the religions in the world today portray women to be the submissive gender. In fact, from our study of many religious stories, it is clear that only men are allowed to rule nations. And because the world today is shaped by many religious beliefs women tend to accept what religion say about them.
Take for instance, if a woman should stand up against a man in many homes today, it will be considered to be an abomination. The Bible book of 1st Corinthians 11: 3 – 16 tells us that a man is the head of a woman. A similar thing was provided for in An-Nisa, 34 (Quran book).
Apparently, this may not be a direct cause of why women don’t participate in politics but it is undoubtedly a contributing factor. Most women have accepted to misinterprete these provisions and it’s used as a reason not to participate in politics or stand against a man. In general, the world is most probably going a support a woman if she has a male opponent competing in politics with has because of this same reason.
5. Inferiority complex: I used to think that men are the only ones who see women as inferior. But recently, i found out that even women see themselves as inferior. Two years ago, one of the female friends i had told me that she want to run for the post of presidency, Faculty of law UNN. It didn’t sound so odd to me because i saw it as something striking.
What actually got my attention was the words of a girl we met in one of our campaigns. When we met her, we told her about the office and the person aspiring to occupy the office. In reply, she said we were never going to win the election. She even advised us to apply for a lesser post, like the “vice presidency” because that is the only position fit for a woman.
After that incident, i was shock. Well, the truth is that, she is not the only woman with that kind of thinking. There’re thousands of women out there who believes they are Inferior and thus; they are expected to either run for lower political positions or totally leave politics for men. No doubt, Inferiority complex is one of the reasons why women don’t participate in politics today.
6. Stereotyping: Stereotyping is close to the point i already mentioned above. However, Wikipedia defines stereotyping as “A conventional, formulaic, and often oversimplified or exaggerated conception, opinion, or image of (a person).”
It will surprise you to know that most humans act based on their past experiences. For instance, if a woman has led a country like Iran before and she failed, citizens of Iran will be more prone to voting a man in their next election than voting a woman. Immediately one woman fails, people quickly generalize the fact that women are weak and incapable of handling political positions.
In the just concluded 2019 presidential election in Nigeria, one of the female contestants gave up even before the election. She claimed that her opponent (a male) was better. Thus, she decided to quite for the good of the nation. After explaining this one Twitter, Nigerian rebuked her for not being able to face a male contestant.
In fact, some persons on Twitter vowed not to vote a woman for any political position again. That is what i am trying to highlight here. Because most women failed in the past, people don’t see any need to give women the opportunity to play active role in politics because they are likely to fail again.
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7. Corruption and bad governance: Another obvious reason for the non-participation of women in politics is curruption and bad governance. There is no doubt that most women don’t vote, participate in political campaigns or declare their interest to run for any political position because they believe politics is a dirty game. In fact, why do i have to vote if my vote don’t count?
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Other reasons why women don’t participate in politics
Women are usually less exposed to political information and discussion:
This is another important reason why a considerable number of women don’t participate in politics. From a poll I conducted before making this article, i found out that most women don’t participate in politics because they don’t even know much about politics.
Today, in every Home, School or Social gathering, men are more likely to be making comments about the political affairs. Most women don’t do this because, they don’t think that a woman has a role to play in politics.
Women are not usually given the same encouragement as men:
This is part of the “gender role” which I have discussed above. Whenever a woman declares her interest to run for a political post, she is not usually given thesame encouragement. Of course, some people are going to give are little courage to make her fit for the position, but deep down, they don’t support here.
In Nigeria participate, due to the past experience of the country, many people have decided never to leave powers in the hands of a woman. So, even if a women comes up to campaign for a political position, only few Nigerians will support her.
These are the things most women consider and decide not to participate in politics. Research has shown that about 67% of people who do not participate in politics do so because they see their government as a failed one.
By way of conclusion, I enjoin every leader who has gone through this article to look for ways of increasing women’s participation in leadership. The reason is because, some women are actually better leaders. Coupled with that, increasing women’s participation in politics consolidates the principle of equality and fosters democracy.
More so, i encourage women to continue doing the little they have been doing for the grouth of their countries. Trust me, if you continue this way, you will be given an opportunity to participate actively one day. Hope this article was helpful? Of course it was. Please don’t forget to let me know if you know other reasons for the non-participation of women in politics.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ChMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.