Women’s participation and gender issues in local governance in Nigeria
Local governance, interpreted as the active involvement of the local population in ensuring improved quality of service and leadership at the local level, involves greater participation by civil society in decision-making processes. The paper examined women’s participation and the prevailing gender issues in local governance in Nigeria. Analysis in the paper derived from an empirical study of gender issues and women participation in local governance at Amuwo-Odofin Local Government in Lagos State and Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara State. Qualitative methods such as focus key informant interviews, personal observation and focus group discussions were used to generate data for the study. The study discovered that the Nigerian society, operating largely on patriarchal sentiment, allocates sensitive and powerful political posts for men and deliberately marginalises women at the local level. Also, in the absence of a gender policy, planning and budgeting did not target gender equity goals and women’s rights and empowerment programmes were hardly implemented at the local level. Given the devolved nature of governance in Nigeria, the paper concluded that local government represents an important political space that can strengthens good governance by ensuring that women’s interests are represented in policy making and service delivery.
Keywords: Gender issues, local governance, women empowerment, women participation