Women and Gender in Nigeria. Relative Political and Economic Power. Only 56% of women are literate Only 32% of people in the government are women Only 7.5% of the Nigerian National Assembly (aka Congress) seats are held by women Only 22% of women have access to bank loans
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Women’s rights in Nigeria compare equally (if not unfavorably) to that of women in the United States, this is mostly due to the religious and cultural limits that Nigerian society has.
Marriage for instance has been Polygamous for decades (which originates from tribal cultures and variants of Islamic culture), although it is beginning to wane. If the couple is unsuccessful in life or economic standing, it is the woman who is generally blamed. In many cases men devalue the work a woman does at home (one of the few places they are allowed to work) and can readily abandon the woman and their family at any time.
Abortion is universally illegal in Nigeria, and has even been shown that the most anti-abortion groups consist of women.
That said, through the very cultural tenants that have limited women and modernization, women’s rights are rapidly expanding in Nigeria.
Shari'ah law does allow many rights to women (such as owning land and having a job), and men are beginning to see value in women as they begin to take Higher ranking jobs.
Women also are guaranteed suffrage in the Nigerian Constitution, there is even a Ministry of Women to make sure Nigerian women’s rights are secured
Chapter 21, Articles 214 & 217 of Nigerian penal code: Imprisonment up to 14 yrs for same-sex sexual activity
Cross-dressing’s association with homosexuality -> punishment even where the Shari’a law doesn’t apply
100 lashes and one year imprisonment for unmarried Muslim men
Death by stoning for married or divorced Muslim men
Prohibits men from dressing as women or addressing each other as women and Muslim men have been punished
Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2006: controversial draft bill proposed in Nigeria
-Intent of bill was to ban anything associated or actually gay in the country
-Criticism from United States and other human rights organizations
- Obasanjo Administration’s attempt to appeal to public sentiment in his efforts for election year
The People's Democratic Party and the All Nigeria Peoples Party: two most successful political parties in Nigeria -> maintain an overtly hostile stance on LGBT-rights.
Various protections guaranteeing all citizens equal rights and other rights like health care and equal opportunity in workplace -> still no legislation (like 14th amendment) to protect against discrimination or harassment
1901 – Colonization and Western influences restricted women’s participation in politics
1954-1975 – given right to vote
1954: Eastern region
1955: Western region
1959: Southern region
1975: Northern region
1996 – BAOBAB formed to raise awareness about women’s rights
1999 - Nigerian Constitution outlaws discrimination based on gender
2000 – implementation of Sharia law placed restrictions on rights of women
Ex: Sex out of wedlock punished by death
2006 – Nigeria Feminist Forum – various Nigerian women’s groups gathered to discuss social changes
In 1982 a national conference was held at Ahmadu Bello University where a national feminist movement was inaugurated
Nigeria's university-educated women presented that they believed the place of women in society required a concerted effort and deserved a place on the national agenda; however, the public perception, remained far behind