If Nigeria is to achieve the sustainable development goal of ensuring gender equality in the political and business arena, there is a lot of work to be done. In the Africa at LSE blog, PfAL 4 alumna Nwamaka Ogbonna has a checklist for the government, private sector and civil society.
Women make up about 49 per cent of the Nigerian population and nearly one out of four women in sub-Saharan Africa is a Nigerian. While this presents potential human resources that can be harnessed to enhance economic productivity; the disparities in social and economic opportunities between men and women have never been starker. Nigeria has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Saharan Africa and ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation. Women own only 20 per cent of enterprises in the formal sector and only 11.7 per cent of Board Directors in the country are women. Although it must be acknowledged that the country has made some progress in closing the gender gap in certain areas ie primary school enrollment rates, gender equality still remains in a deplorable state and these statistics reveal that there is still so much work to be done.
I therefore argue that if Nigeria is to meet the sustainable development goal of “ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life”, there is an urgent need to adopt a more holistic approach to the inclusion of women that comprise various stakeholders in society.