The low rate of female participation in politics compared to that of
their male counter- parts in Nigeria creates a need to examine the
situation in this study, “The role of broadcast media in mobilizing
women for political participation in Nigeria”. This study examines the
problems, first, defining the importance of women to participate in
politics. The survey research method was employed in this study and
questionnaires were used for data collection, then the hypotheses were
tested using chi-square statistical procedure to reach a definite
conclusion. The results reflect that broadcast media have positive
impact in mobilizing women to participate in politics. In summary,
broadcast media is found wanting in fostering development for gender
equality in politics. In recommendations, suggestion of ways to
stimulate female participation was made by looking at practical examples
of how this was done in the pre-colonial era. Finally, in conclusion,
the study emphasizes that no sex or gender is more important than the
other because in politics, intellectual ability counts more than
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Women constitute a critical segment of the Nigeria
population. They are active in the agriculture and economic sectors of
the society and have also contributed immensely to the decolonization
and general development of this great country.
Women struggles date back to the 19th century when women
like Amina of Zaria, Madam Tinubu of Lagos, Olufuamilayo Ransom Kute of
Abeokuta, Margaret Ekpo and Hajji Gabon Swabia among others fought to
give women the pride of place in Nigeria’s history even after the
struggle for independence was over and Nigeria became an independent
soveign nation, women continued to contribute their quota in the post-
independence match towards development and progress. In the areas of
politics, the above named amongst others contributed immensely to the
mobilization and sensitization of women with a view to ensuring that
women are involved in the politics of the country.
At present, the issues pertaining to women have contributed
to draw a global attention with the result that the problems that
impede their progress are currently being addressed concretely.
Consequently, the crusted for women empowerment has heightened the
political consciousness of women. Some of them occupy strategic
positions in government where they have continued to prove their mettle.
For instance Dora Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili of Due process Fame, Ndi
Okereke Onyilike and Ngozi Okonji Iweala among others has undoubtedly
distinguished themselves in their official assignments.
The role of women in development has for a long been taken
for granted and relegated to the back ground. For a long time, politics
in Nigeria has been played with the usual patronizing attitude which
usually does not go far in enlightening women. Some of the factors
employed are social and cultural practices which hither to have been
misinterpreted to create biases against women. There is need for women
to be properly oriented so that their numerical strength and voting
power can be profitably galvanized and oriented towards empowerment of
other women who will in turn look after the welfare of all women by
formulating gender sensitive laws to promote women’s cause.
What is really the meaning of politics? Various scholars
resulting in different views of politics have defined it as the art of
possible, a game of wits, all that begins and ends with government.
Politics is essentially the art and science of government. That is, the
study of the control, distribution and use of power over human
activities in society.
The word politics is derived from the Greek word Polis,
which means “city state”. Winter and bellows (1968) pointed out that
Aristotle (384-322 Bc) in his treatise on human associations stated that
the most sovereign inclusive association is the polis which presupposes
the establishment of government, law- making, enforcement and eliciting
obedience from the members of the society. Aristotle observed that man
is by nature, political animal. This means that politics permeates all
human actitivities. It manifests in social, economic and cultural
intersections among individual and groups and transcends international
The obvious maneuver associated with the concept and
practice of politics influenced the emergence of the Laswellian theory
of politics, which states that politics is who gets what and how
The Nairobi world conference to review and appraise the
achievements of the UN Decade for women in 1985, and the Beijing fourth
world conference on women in 1995, both had top on their agenda issues
concerning women and the media. These conference brought to the fore the
importance of the media in the quest for gender equity in development,
despite there international conferences and polices aimed at gender
friendliness however, women’s participation in Nigerian politics is
undermined by the way the media represents politics as an exclusively
Contemporary experiences have shown that broad- cast media is
important to the political development of nations. Broadcast is not only
a means of teaching, sensitizing and transmitting message on issues of
development, but also crucial to the process of development. Considering
the fact that broadcast is increasingly being used world-wide with its
power of reaching a large mass of audience, it should not be ignored in
the political scheme of things. This might account for why Nwankwo
(1996: XI) said that, ‘one vital factor in the pursuit of gender
equality in politics is the media’.
The aim here is not just to critically analyze the impact of
broadcast media in the quest for a gender equitable polity, but to also
turn the searchlight of feminists and media scholars to broadcast with
regard to gender and politics. Thus, the focus is on the gender
dimension of broadcast and the quest for a gender equitable polity.
It is here posited that broadcast media could significantly influence the acceleration and acceptable of women in politics.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
It is not a hidden fact that women are under represented in
the field of politics. This may be because of the basic assumption that
“a women’s place is in the kitchen”. In other words, her home duties
and family responsibilities should be her sole priority, thereby
underling her active participation in national development in general.
Another assumption militating against female participation
is that, female is biologically not designed for energy exerting and
hazardous occupation. This argument may not be true because, with the
age of automation and revolution in decision making intellectual ability
counts more than physical energy.
The issue of gender bias too, contributes enormously to the
low participation of women in politics. Beverly’ (1995), notes that the
society assumes that women should be mothers, school teachers,
hairdressers, secretaries, nurse, maids and social workers only,
therefore, they do not need education not to talk of taking part in
decision making. This believe is wrong, as both men and women need and
can purse politics and projects in development, each in their own unique
ways, alongside each other.
The home too is not left out in contributing to female lack
of participation in politics. In the home husbands attitudes can
directly or indirectly influence the choices their wives make in whether
to enter into politics or not.
Many political parties, reflecting the more general
conditions in the rest of society, do not easily accept or promote many
women into their echelons, let alone permit women’s occupation of
important positions within these parties. This issue is particularly
important in view of Abdullah’s (1993) argument that to achieve women
liberation, it will be tacked within democratic movements.
Thus, if this issue is not looked into, women will be illiterates and
there will be backwardness in the economy of the country and growth of
politics will depreciate.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to use broadcast media to mobilize
women to participate in politics also to voice out some cultural values
in Nigeria that make it difficult for women to participate in the
decision making process. There is need for attitudinal change and total
reorientation in this respect.
Another objective of the study is to stop the issue of women being victims of violence in the home.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is expected that at the end of this study, to update
knowledge within the framework of the study. Particularly, it will
assist people’s views on the usefulness of broadcast media in mobilizing
women to take part in decision-making. This study will draw the
attention of government to empower women to participate in politics
through the use of radio, television, films and motion pictures in their
packaging of news reports and events, and to academics in their
practices and training of journalist. The government should promote the
welfare of women in general. Also the federal government should promote
the full utilization of women in the development of human resources and
to bring about their acceptance as full participation in every phase of
national development with equal rights and corresponding obligations
least involving 30% elective positions for women.
Another important significance of this is for election to
be conducted according to the rules, in which all qualified individuals
especially women are free to vote or be voted for with out constraints
of manipulations. (Williams, 2008).
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In this study, an attempt will be sufficiently made to answer the following questions.
1. Does colonial antecedent influences women participation in politics?
2. To what extent does culture affect women participation in politics in Nigeria?
3. Do broadcast media actually mobilize women enough towards political participation?
4. Does women participation in politics depend on their exposure to broadcast media?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following research hypothesis derived logically from the problems posed in the research questions.
This is necessary in order give direction, focus as litmus
test of the statement of claims or prepositions contained in the rein.
H1: Colonial antecedents influence women participation in politics.
H0: Colonial antecedents do not influence women participation in politics.
H2: Culture affects women participation in politics in
H0: Culture does not affect women participation in politics in Nigeria.
H3: Broadcast media actually mobilizes women enough towards political participation.
H0: Broadcast media does not actually mobilize women enough towards political participation.
H4: Women participation in politics depends on their exposure to broadcast media.
H0: Women participation in politics does not depend on their exposure to broadcast media.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In this study, certain key words will be explained into conceptual and operational definitions.
Role: The degree to which somebody/ something is involved in a situation or an activity and the effect that they have on it.
Role: Functions, expectations associated on a given past or position
Broadcast: A channel through which information/ programmers are sent out on television or radio.
Broadcast: It include television and radio which are means of communicating to heterogeneous and homogenous audience.
Mobilizing: To make people ready to pursue a particular cause.
Mobilizing: It has to do with organizing or preparing people for a particular purpose.
Women: Womanly-having qualities held to be appropriate.
Participation: The art of taking part in an activity or event
Participation: Taking active part in that particular activity or event.
Politics: The activities involved in getting and using power in
public life and being able to influence decision that affect a country
or a society.
Politics: A competition between political parties to wards who or which party assumes political leadership
In my study, it is obviously seen that the broadcast media
will always be at its peak in mobilizing women for political
participation through which these women are enlightened, educated and
sensitized more on political participation.
This will certainly correct the gender in balance in
politics and promote women participation in politics and governance.
Broadcast media has contributed greatly to the political
reforms in our country through her numerous programmers’ on politics and
women participation, ranging from her news programmers’ such as
Paradise Park, which is geared towards institutionalizing women
participation in Nigeria politics.