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Feminizing Development: The Political Sociology of Female Tokenism in the Nigerian Project

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image of African and Asian Studies
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AbstractThis paper interrogates the phenomena of gendered development and gendered opportunity structure in the context of the Nigerian project. On the basis of a body of empirical evidence, male dominance and female tokenism are presented. It is argued that while female participation has recorded steady growth, the emergence of women politicians in the “public face” makes a case for the exceptionality of agendered development in the Nigerian project. It is further argued that the rising profile e of women in the Nigerian ‘public space’ is not only one of the exceptionalities in the global discourse, but that it owes its emergence to post-colonial reform efforts. It is however argued that rising female profile under Goodluck Jonathan in the national executive space marks the rise of top-down approach to feminization of the public space. The paper also points out that the capacity of women to carve autonomous political space within the Nigerian project may be limited by the declining profile of bottom-up approach to female presence in elective offices. The sociological transition from biological femaleness to sociological maleness has engendered the phenomena of ‘female hybridization’ and token radicalism amongst women. The paper concludes with analysis of the sociological roots of de-empowerment located in the growth in women participation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University Of Benin Pmb 1154, Benin City Nigeria, Email:, URL:


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