The pace of change in women's quest for equality in Nigeria is particular very slow. A critical examination of the status of women in Nigeria shows that despite the strides made by some women like those you mentioned above, our women remain at the lower rung of the ladder in all spheres of our society be it education, economic/finance, health, security, politics etc.
In politics in particular, women's position as the underdog is even more glaring. For instance, only three percent of Nigerian women hold an elective or appointive position at the federal, state and local levels.
According to records, in 1999, there were only 12 women elected into the State Assemblies as against 978 males. Also only three women out of 109 senators were elected into the Senate in the same year, while 13 women were equally elected into the House of Representatives as against 347 men.
In 2003 for instance, the number of women who participated in elections increased slightly. In the State Assemblies, 39 women were elected as against 951 men. Also only 6.1 percent (21 women) were elected into the House of Representativesin contrast to 339 male House of Representatives members and 3.7 percent that is 4 women were elected into the Senate, against 105 males senators.
Even in appointment into offices, records from 1999 showed that 833 persons were appointed with 86 of them women, representing only 11.9 percent.
The 2007 elections was no difference, the figures as collated from the database of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that a total 7160 candidates (both men and women) contested in the April elections. Of this number, only 628 women participated.
Out of the twenty five candidates that viewed for the office of the President, only one is a woman. Five women contested for the office of the Vice President.
474 candidates contested for the gubernatorial elections in the thirty-six states of the federation.
Of this, only 14 women contested for the office of governor. 21 contested for the office of deputy governor. 799 contested for the senate, with only 59 women 2342 candidates contested for the House of Representatives, with 150 women ' 5647 contested for the State Assemblies with 358 women.
From the records so far, there are nine female senators out of 109 senators and 27 women in the House of Representatives of 360 members.
There are fifty-four female members of the State Assemblies. This is a mere two percent improvement on the gains of the 2003 general elections.
These figures say a lot about where women are today in Nigeria when it comes to gender equality. And the fundamental factor responsible for the almost inconsequential role of women in our society and politics in particular is the patriarchial nature of our society. It has disabled women to a less privileged status so that economically, and otherwise they are unable to match the men in political activities especially in our political climate where money politics and god fatherism is the vogue. Not to talk of the violence and sexual harassment that still pervade our electoral system.
These factors though not peculiar to Nigeria, does seem more entrenched in our country and it will take a radical reordering of our society to change this.