The Role Of Radio In The Awareness Of Gender Inclusion And The Mobilization Of Women For Political Participation


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1.1 Background of the Study

Nigerian women make up of half the population size of the country, yet the constitutional policy of women getting one-third of seats remains a mirage. With only one-third of seats in politics, there is still that misrepresentation of the marginalized group. Statistics has it that only 6 percent of ministerial and sub-ministerial officials in Nigeria are women(Population Reference Bureau, 1998). According to Gender audit and Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) Parline database (2003 and 2008) as cited in Agbalajobi, (2010); ‘There was no seat for women in 2003 and 2008 for the governorship office and also the house of assembly with 990 seats; women got 36 and 54 seats in 2003 and 2008 respectively.’ All these reveal that women participate in politics but there is still that under-representation of women in Nigeria even after women are only vying for one-third of seats to represent their group. Could this be as a result of paucity of knowledge or could this be a result of low level of sensitization by the media?

The mass media in any society cannot operate in isolation. They must operate within a state.  The mass media are usually regarded as the fourth estate of government which serves as the watchdog of the society. They see what is happening in the society and report back to the people as it is. Mass media could be television, radio, newspapers, magazines, radio, etc.  That is any medium used to transmit large information to a large heterogeneous group of people.  They report the happenings of the Executive, Legislative and the judiciary arm of government in any given state that practices democracy.

The focus is on radio which is regarded as the most effective medium because it transcends the barrier of literacy and it covers a wide geographical region. The UNESCO reporters on Indian’s rural forum observe that in the developing countries, the greater part of the people live on the land, they are frequently isolated by illiteracy and lack of transport. Effective communication with rural people and their active participation in the life of their country is essential for developing societies. Thus, radio broadcasts, when skilfully used, have proven to be the most effective medium of communication with the population.

Nigeria claims to be practicing democracy, but this practice does not seem to be absolute as it does not go according to the tenets of democracy.  According to International IDEA (2000, p.46),

A culture of democracy must reflect norms and values that place a premium on the freedom of the individual- freedom from state abuse and from infringements of rights by other individuals. It further guarantees equality before the law, as well as providing opportunities for all citizens to have equal access to the material and cultural resources that guarantee their basic livelihood. The essence of democracy is that citizens must be able to ventilate their views through unrestrained debates, from the lowest level and smaller unit, and that there should be active citizens’ participation in governance as well as unrestricted communication between government and the governed.

From the above statement, it is seen that Nigeria’s democracy is not “true” democracy because not all citizens of the state have equal rights to the material and cultural resources especially for the women group where we still have all forms of stereotyping, Women who make almost half the population of the country are not able to air their views base cultural, religious and marginalization women, most woman won’t go for political position because the voter won’t vote for then due to gender inequality, leading to a low level of participation in governance. Therefore, there is a need to use the tool used for social change which is the mass media to effectively sensitize this group of people (women) so that their views can be aired without any restraints and encourage their participation in governance, and not leave government in the hands of the few, but many.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Several studies have been carried out concerning the issue of women’s participation in politics and they have come out with various findings about this issue, and these studies focused more on other factors; social, cultural, economic, that led to their non-participation.

There is obvious difference in the ratio of men to women in politics and this has led to the under-representation of this group in making national decisions.  Idebi (2008) said radio has come to educate women in their newly ascribed civic function while simultaneously addressing them as mothers and housewives located in the private/public sector. Since 1999 when the present civilian government came into power after a long period of military regime, women politicians in River state like their other counterparts in other part of the federation have continued to express dismay over the low participation and alienation of women in the politics of the state. Consequently, in 2003 a female governorship aspirant, laurettaAniagolu joined the race for the seat of governor in Enugu state. Unfortunately she was maneuvered in the party primary of the united Nigeria people party. She later joined the national conscience party and was defeated by her fellow aspirant ChimarokeNnamani.

Therefore, the gap of the problem is on the issue of cultural disadvantage which might have impacted negatively on the women’s participation in politics and all sphere of life.

At best, women were strategically, through several means including cultural exclusion, reduced to the second fiddle offices of ‘deputy’ and ‘vice’. This development has raised several questions which remained largely unanswered, and has equally attracted many gender-related studies and intellectual discourse on gender-related matters. Against this background, this paper attempts to address some of these questions and thus, constitutes a gap-filling or gap-bridging in the ever increasing literature on gender studies in Nigeria.

1.3 Aim and Objective of the Study

The main aim and objective of this study is to examine the radio and political mobilization of woman in Rivers state. The specific objectives of this study are:

  1. To ascertain gender as a barrier in radio and political mobilization in Rivers State.
  2. To identify the cultural disadvantages associated with the women absence in participation in politics with their male counter parts.
  3. To identify if the income status of women which hinders them from mobilization in elective offices in Rivers state

1.4 Research Questions

The research question for this study are:

  1. Has gender been a barrier in radio and political mobilization of woman in Rivers State?
  2. Has cultural factors enforced the discrimination and marginalization against women over political participation in Enugu State?
  3. Has money politic hindered women mobilization to elective political offices in Rivers state?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The hypothesis of this study are:

Hypothesis 1

Ho: Cultural factors do not caused enforced discrimination and marginalization against women over political mobilization.

H1: Cultural factors caused enforced discrimination and marginalization against women over   political mobilization.

Hypothesis 2

Ho: Money politics do not hindered women mobilization to contest for political offices in Rivers state.

H1: Money politics hindered women mobilization to contest for political offices in Rivers state.

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is expected that at the end of this study, to update knowledge within the framework of the study. Particularly, it will assist people’s views on the usefulness of Radio in mobilizing women to take part in decision making. This study will draw the attention of government to empower women to participate in politics through the use of radio, television, firms and motion pictures in their packaging of news reports and events, and to academics in their practice and training of journalist. The government should promote the welfare of women in general. Also the federal government should promote the full utilization of women in the development of human resources and to bring about their acceptance as full participation in every phase of national development with equal rights and corresponding obligations least involving 30% elective positions for women.

Another significant of this study is for election to be conducted according to the rules, in which all qualified individuals especially women are free to vote or be voted for without constraints of manipulations, (Williams, 2008).

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this is centered on examining radio and political mobilization of woman. The area of study is River State. Rivers State, also known simply as Rivers, is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. According to census data released in 2006, the state has a population of 5,198,716, making it the sixth-most populous state in the country. Its capital and largest city, Port Harcourt, is economically significant as the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry. Rivers State is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by Imo, Abia and Anambra States, to the East by Akwa Ibom State, and to the West by Bayelsa and Delta states. It is home to three major indegenious ethnic groups: Kalabari, Ikwerre and Ogoni. The people from Rivers State are known as “Riverians”.

1.8 Definitions of Term

Politics: is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state.

Participation: Taking active part in that particular activity or event.

Mobilizing: It has to do with organizing or preparing people for a particular purpose.

Woman is a female human being. The word woman is usually reserved for an adult; girl is the usual term for a female child or adolescent.


Agbalajobi, D. T. (2010). Women’s Participation and the Political Process in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. Journal of Political science and International relations. 4. 2. 75-82.

Idebi, S. K.  (2008). Fundamentals of radio production. Oyo, Nigeria: Media concept publishers

International IDEA, (2000).  Democracy in Nigeria: Continuing Dialogue(s) for Nation –Building.

Williams, B. (2008, July 6). Stakeholders Take Stock of Women Participation in Politics. Sunday Guardian Newspaper, pg. 9.

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