Making a career in politics: The Prospects and challenges for women

Making a career in politics: The Prospects and challenges for womenPolitics is the process of making decisions that applies to a group of people. A local government, state or the nation could be the group.

If you are going to come into politics, the first thing is to get quality education. Don’t believe that because the constitution says you only need Primary school certificates, you would stand a chance against someone with his Masters degree.

 

We need knowledgeable people in politics, that’s why you should get an education before coming into politics and don’t stop at your first degree (BSc.), go further for Masters and PhD if possible. So, you would not be intimidated by someone else’s academic qualification.

 

When you see people fighting at the National Assembly, it is because they are not properly educated. Don’t be like them, you should know that you are there to represent people and do your best to protect their interest while you carry yourself in a responsible manner.

 

Good education also helps you understand certain issues that would be brought up at the Senate on the nation’s economy, security, health, etc.

 

There are some of us who believe that there is nothing like having politics as a career. You must have a second address, you can’t just say ‘I’m a politician without a job, business or genuine means of livelihood’. I’m a lecturer today, that’s my first address and I’m also a politician. So, as a politician, you must have job. Most of those people who embezzle Public funds and abuse their offices is because they do not have genuine businesses other than politics. Hence, when they get into power it is an opportunity for them to amass wealth because they don’t have jobs or businesses.

 

As a politician, what happens after the elections end? The politicking also ends for that period so you ought to go back to your primary job or business. Remember, you should go into politics because you have a passion for it and because you want to fight for the interest of those who you’re representing. You shouldn’t go there to steal.

 

Politics as a career sounds weird to some of us. If you read Political Science, it doesn’t mean all your life should be about politicking. You could be a political adviser to someone but that doesn’t mean your whole life should centre on politicking. It’s very important that you have something worthwhile to do.

 

Only few women have got to real positions of influence and power but those women have been able to fight for the rights of other women and children. This is one of the reasons why more women have to attain certain positions of influence. We don’t expect the men in the National Assembly to start fighting for the interest of women. They are too concerned with many other issues. When we are there as women, we can ask for what is ours. If there are four seats to occupy, we would ask for two and let the men have the other two. Sometimes, we may have to ask for three, so that by the time we conclude the negotiations we can end up two slots.

 

Some of us are in politics because it’s our passion and we intend to fight for women first and children, before we begin to consider the interest of the men. There are too many men in the nation’s politics.

 

Recently, there was a move that out of the three Senators representing each state, at least one should be a woman but the number of women in the house weren’t enough to make the bill pass through. This underscores the reason why more women need to get into the National Assembly.

 

Remember, before you contest for any position in governance you would have to submit your CV and be screened. The screening committee is likely to screen you out if you only have a Primary Six certificate because those are the people that throw chairs and tables in the National Assembly. People who went through the universities can’t behave in such unruly manner. If you are well educated and you know your onus, men would size themselves up before coming to you. Politics is for the elite, because we don’t want school drop-outs making policies and laws that would govern our nation.

 

Before I became the PDP Women Leader in Lagos State, I had contested for the House of Representatives in 2007 and I almost won in Ojo Local Government. So, people knew that I wasn’t someone to be pushed aside and when someone suggested that I should be made the women leader no one challenged it, not even the men.

 

If you have N10,000 in your account and you become a Counsellor, don’t see it as an opportunity to make millions. If you’re diligent as a doctor, lawyer, or business person, you can also make millions. Don’t come into politics with the intention to steal money.

 

Well, you should look at those that are been chased by the EFCC and ICPC, you would realize that most of them are men. Women rarely indulge in the embezzlement of public funds. This means that more women in power would lead to reduction in corruption and embezzlement of public fund.

 

As a woman, don’t abandon your home because you are chasing things in politics, you must be able to maintain a balance so that you don’t neglect your primary duties as a wife and mother. So, when you’re available make sure that they feel your impact so that when you have to be at home or you can’t attend the late night meetings, they would miss your contributions and know that someone was absent. The society and men don’t accept the idea of women leaving the home because of politics; even some educated men are still puzzled at what the women have to do in politics. They believe women ought to be at home, because they believe that the role of women is to give birth to children, nuture them and move from the kitchen to the other room.

 

Those of you schooling in private universities know how much your parents are paying for quality education. So why would you get all that education to just sit in the kitchen? Remember, as a woman in politics your husband may not be comfortable with it, your inlaws would be wondering what kind of woman you are, and the men outside wouldn’t want you to come and compete with them. It’s a big challenge and you must be ready to handle it. The men in politics would rather have women who would be there to cheer them and celebrate them rather than female competitors. Why don’t they allow women contest and equally sing for them.

 

While your husband wonders what you are doing in politics, your inlaws would equally be lamenting that you don’t stay at home and the men in politics are expecting you to come and clap for them. It’s your responsibility to make them understand your role and balance the position at your home, family and in politics. We are not saying that the men should leave politics for women; we are only saying let’s do it side by side so that we can complement the men and achieve more in governance.

 

In politics most of the crucial meetings start late in the evening and last until 1am or worse; the men don’t have problems with the timing but women do because we have families to cater for. Sometimes, as a woman you have to be at those meetings because if you’re not there your interest wouldn’t be considered. If you’re not going to be there just stay at home and when you are prepared to attend such meetings just take them by surprise also. Once in a while, endeavour to attend such meetings so that you are taken seriously. However, you equally have to manage the home properly so that you don’t have problems with your husband.

 

Women in politics are not prostitutes, we don’t go there to sleep with the men. If anybody chooses to be a prostitute, that is the person’s choice and it has nothing to do with politics. If some of the men there ask you out, remember it is your decision to say yes or no. However, in politics your answer should be no!

 

Nevertheless, if you like him and you say yes because you’re interested in the relationship, you shouldn’t say it is because you are a politician. I am a politician and nobody can say that I have been involved in such act. It all depends on the person.

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