An Analysis of the Culture of Patriarchy and the Participation of Women in Politics in Enugu North Senatorial Zone
The objective of this paper is to examine the cultural factors inhibiting the participation of women in electoral politics in Enugu North Senatorial Zone of Enugu state. This is because global patriarchy has given ascendancy to men in politics, authority and decision-making in and outside the family. Under such a male-centred system without a female face, women lack access to politics and decision-making and are highly under-represented at most levels of government. This paper analyses marginalization of women in decision-making and the challenges encountered by female politicians on their way to political participation in Nigeria. It also, contends that the power relations that have prevented women from political activism operate in many levels of society, from the most personal to the highly public. It argues that the gender uneven electoral politics in Nigeria is as a result of men’ majority in the political party hierarchy, which places them at a vantage position to influence party’s internal politics in terms of selecting or electing candidates for electrons, and political patronage .The paper notes that socio-cultural, economic, political, organizational, legal and political factors have combined to shape the “home-centred’ perception of Nigerian women ,and explains the level of participation of women in political and bureaucratic decision-making positions. Data for the study were drawn mainly from primary and such as interview, focus group discussion and secondary sources like journals, textbooks, government and other official publications among others. To reverse the historical under-represented Enugu North Senatorial Zone women in politics, and decision-making in governance, the paper proposes a triad strategy for women disempowerment in the zone. First, is a women friendly legal framework in which affirmative action principles are incorporated into the Nigerian Constitution and Electoral Act. Second, is exhibition of positive role modeling for gender image laundering by the few women in top political and administrative positions .Third, is the advancement of women’ agenda and support of party activities as well as funding of women who are actively seeking political offices as a mechanism for addressing the imbalances and injustices against Nigerian women.