Every day in Nigeria we ignore the fact that women are major stakeholders in the development project of any society that has attained some level of global development. They contribute greatly to the social and political development of our society against all odds. In recent years, the issues of women’s marginalization and lopsided participation in political leadership and decision-making have attracted the attention of lots of scholars, world leaders, and the world at large.
Although women and men may not be the same concerning the physical or biological appearance, we can’t deny the fact that they share common features such as educational qualifications, socio-economic status, and many others with men. Women should be women; they don’t need to be men or given the attributes of a man in some kind of way to be noticed. Furthermore, they should be given an open ground to participate in the activities of society. A woman using her unique powers and qualities to rule and uplift others in society should be encouraged. Yet, they are relegated in virtually all aspects of public life or social-political areas. Sadly, this is the norm in many African countries.
The Nigerian patriarchal social norms have limited women in achieving their maximum potentials. Political exclusion and economic lopsidedness have silenced the voices of women in public life and decision making, giving them little or no chance at all to participate in the socio-political development of the nation. Women constitute 49% of the total population of Nigeria yet there exists a wide gender gap between men and women, especially in the areas of political representation, economic management, and leadership. This socio-economic disparity is a problem we need to profound solution to.
Why Women Leaders?
As we face one of the deadliest emergency crises of our lifetime, take a look at the countries led by women leaders and how they’ve performed. Germany, led by Angela Merkel, has had a far lower death rate than its neighboring countries; Britain, France, Italy, or Spain. Finland—where Prime minister Sanna Marin aged 34, governs with a coalition of four female-led parties— has had a 10 percent fewer death rate than nearby Sweden. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand has been successful in eradicating the Virus—while she was heavily pregnant—as she called off the lockdown she put in place on March 25th.
Why am I telling you all this? According to a recent study, COVID outcomes are systematically and significantly better in countries led by women. Women possess leadership prowess that. People should not always assume the worst about women’s leadership. They are often seen as weak because of our compassionate thoughtfully way of leading which I see as a unique quality in leadership. In fact, women are stronger. They are more empathetic than men and are great listeners.
Gender roles shouldn’t be a criterion in choosing leadership as it has been over time. If we are to look at the current trend, it’s safe to say men aren’t better leaders as we have more men in leadership than women. Yet we have all kinds of problems without a solution at hand. Perhaps the stage should be set for women leaders to come to try their best. Leadership shouldn’t be particular for one gender only in society.
Nigeria as a whole needs the impactful women’s contribution to attaining this good governance. We currently are among the country with the highest number of out of school children in the world. We are the poverty capital in the world. More than half of the population of the country live below 1 dollar per day, in a nation led by men. Perhaps, we should give women a chance to redeem things. Women have the right emotional intelligence, the right temperament can multitask, and can handle crises well. As such, we need to educate our girls to allow them to make effective decisions in the development of our society in the future.