In Africa's Biggest Democracy, Women Go Backward in Politics

(Bloomberg) -- In Africa’s biggest democracy, women are struggling to make any progress when it comes to political representation.

Nigeria, home to almost 200 million people, had one of the world’s lowest ratios of women in parliament before general elections in February and March. Now it’s even lower.

Only 11 women were elected to the 360-seat House of Representatives, which is the smallest number since the West African nation ended military rule in 1999, according to the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. Eight won campaigns for the 109-member Senate compared with seven for the last vote in 2015, the Abuja-based advocacy group said.

In Africa's Biggest Democracy, Women Go Backward in Politics

Before the most recent polls, the Inter-Parliamentary Union said 6 percent of Nigeria’s lawmakers were female, ranking it 181 out of 191 countries for which the Geneva-based group had data.

In the U.S. mid-term elections in November, a record 102 women were voted into the 434-seat House, while a quarter of the Senate is female. Rwanda has the world’s highest proportion of women parliamentarians at roughly 50 percent. The East African country has made strides after setting a quota in 2003 for 30 percent of elected positions to be held by females.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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