The study examines the efforts of the female parliamentarians in promoting issues that border on women empowerment in Nigeria. Specifically however, the study investigated the attempts by the female legislators in initiating bills that enhance women empowerment in Nigeria since 1999. Utilizing the theory of substantive representation which upholds that representation of women through initiating of policies is not a function of numerical strength but what each individual legislator does, the study variously transcended the existing inquiries to unveil that female legislators in Nigeria have not been able to play leading roles in initiating bills that enhance women empowerment. To this effect, a number of recommendations were proffered for policy implementation.
Generally speaking, the past four decades have not only witnessed a growing global attention to the issues affecting women, but have equally witnessed the convergence of women at both national and international levels such as the Nairobi Conference of 1985 and the Beijing Conference of 1995, to deliberate on a wide range of issues that affect women. These efforts, to some extent, have increased the awareness of gender consideration and women empowerment considerably.
Though globalization has generally presented new challenges for the realization of the goals of women’s equality, it however, appears that the problem of women marginalization is more pronounced in developing countries especially in Africa where the level of awareness of gender issues as well as women organisations and women’s development advocacy are just emerging and visibly gaining ground in countries like Nigeria.
Truly, organisations such as Nigerian Women Bar Association (NWBA), National Council of Women Medical Doctors (NCWMDA), National Council of Nigerian Women Journalists (NCNWJ), Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Women’s Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and so on, have been in the forefront in their effort to sensitize people on issues of gender equality and women empowerment (Udegbe, 1998:4). Through sundry means, the issues of women empowerment have, at least, to the level that they are, become part of political discourse.