Skip to main content

Photo Documentary: Women Voters And Their Struggles In Nigerian Economy

January 20, 2015

It is another season of electoral campaigns and voting in Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world.

Since the country’s return to democracy in 1999, Nigerian women have been a vital part of the electoral process, contributing their quota to ensure the survival of a system of government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. At each election, Nigerian women have turned out in large numbers to vote for candidates of their choice.

They have done so with their babies strapped to their backs, with their items of trade on their heads, waiting in long queues sometimes under the hot sun to cast votes.

Ironically, while male politicians continue to depend on female voters’ support to win elections, little has been done in terms of opening the political space to enable more women to become candidates for elective positions. In the 2011 elections, for instance, only seven women were elected into the 109-member Senate while there were only 25 female representations in the House of Representative out of the 360 elected members.

For a long time, women have also emerged as major backbones of their families, often playing the role of major breadwinners, undertaking various jobs in order to sustain their families.

Sadly, an increasing number of women, often between the ages of 18 and 25, are becoming single mothers, often impregnated by unemployed or underemployed young men and philandering married men ready to abandon them. 

Some of the single mothers have taken to prostitution; they can be found “hustling” in the vicinity of hotels or at nightclubs across the country in order to take care of their children. 

Some women, like Madam Rose in Akwa Ibom State, were forced to become major breadwinners for their families following the death of their partners. A widow with seven children dependent on her, Madam Rose saw herself and her children abandoned by her husband’s family after his death. Today, she sells smoked fish around her small community in order to take care of some of the needs of her seven kids.

With elections scheduled less than a month away, what does the future hold for Nigerian women?

Below are images Femi Ipaye taken at different locations and various states in Nigeria. (The project was supported by Actionaid  Nigeria).[slideshow]37258[/slideshow]