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Women and Politics in Niger

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In Niger, the integration of women into everyday political activities is beginning to bear fruit as they are increasingly less marginalized. They emerge in several spheres of life and occupy some positions of responsibility. Women raise their voices to express their expectations and vows. They are involved in the management of the community and the country.

Thus, on the political level, women are present alongside men. In political parties, they are early activists, generally they are the ones who stand up to any situation. At this level, what is to be deplored is the place attributed to them and the ill-treatment they receive in these parties.In political offices, women generally occupy only positions of mobilization, women’s affairs or cultural affairs. The positions of party presidency and other key positions are held by men.

To date, only one party is headed by a woman in Niger. And this is due to the fact that she is the founder of her party. It is the Niger Party for the Strengthening of Democracy: PNRD-Al-Fiji of Mrs Souna Hadizatou Diallo.

It is worth noting that despite all these facts, women do not despair. They fight and carry the torches of their parties.

With the adoption of the quota law, a significant change took place in the country. From the presidential elections to the legislative elections to the local, the women presented their candidatures. For municipalities and legislatures many of them are elected councilors even if their number is still lower than the percentage expected especially that women represent 50.7% of the Nigerian population. But what explains the situation?

At first glance, illiteracy is part of the brakes that block the Nigerian woman. 80% of them have not attended school. Added to this is poverty, which affects more than 90% of them. Their positions in political formations and their lack of experience in management. But to overcome illiteracy for years in several villages of the country, associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international institutions are involved in the literacy of women.

Therefore, in order not to slow down the candidacy of illiterate individuals, the Advisory Council (the 2010 transitional institution) took steps to ensure that 25 of illiterate cases can be filed in municipal or legislative elections. One of the facts that explain this situation according to women’s organizations is the failure to respect the quota law. Several women’s organizations have denounced this fact even during this legislature (7th Republic). At a meeting, they reviewed the appointment of senior commanders during cabinet meetings. A bitter observation made by the women is that the quota law was not respected in these appointments.

By way of illustration, the women’s organizations note that only three women have been nominated from the twenty-four posts of Governors, Secretaries-General of Governorates and their deputies. This makes a rate of 12.5%, well below the 25% provided by the law on nominative and elective posts. Furthermore, according to these organizations, no woman is on the list of prefects and twelve presidential advisers with the rank of minister. Only two women were nominated among the sixteen deputy secretaries-general of Niger governorates, a rate of 12.5%. To top it off, these women’s groups claim that they have received complaints about the occupation of women’s seats by the municipal councils.

According to this statement, this situation is due to misinterpretation and misapplication of the quota law. The women’s organizations signing the declaration call on the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister to uphold the provisions of the Constitution by ending discrimination against women despite their competence.