SAGE Policy Brief 1

HOW COVID-19 COULD WORSEN WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION TOWARDS 2023 ELECTION IN NIGERIA

Many reports have viewed COVID-19 from the gender lens. However, only a few probed the consequence of its effect on women’s political participation and representation, most especially in Nigeria. The main narrative in the global and local media has centered on female-led governments’ effectiveness in managing the COVID-19 health crisis. Women Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, and Slovakia are being recognized for the rapidity of the response they are leading, which has included not only measures to ‘flatten the curve’––such as confinement measures, social distancing, and widespread testing––but also the transparent and compassionate communication of fact-based public health information. As good as this is, we have amplified these headlines so much that it conceals some more worrisome pictures, especially in vulnerable countries like Nigeria. The political and socio-economic effects of this pandemic could halt or reverse the advancement that has been in women’s political inclusion journey.
Gender advocates, civil society organizations, HeforShe, and feminist organizations need to amplify conversations around the implications of these effects for women’s electoral and political participation. All concerns about gender equality need to act swiftly to ensure that the pandemic does not spur a hardening of exclusionary political structures. This can be achieved by seizing the opportunity provided by the ongoing reforms to provide recommendations that could mitigate these pandemic effects by looking at the 2023 general elections in Nigeria. Elections are vital processes for ensuring democratic accountability and women’s representation in formal political institutions.

TO KNOW SOME EMERGING RISKS TO WOMEN’S ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION DUE TO
COVID-19 PANDEMIC, DOWNLOAD THE POLICY BRIEF: Policy brief (FINAL)2

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