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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although one may expect that democratic transitions lead to improvements in women’s rights based on citizens’ access to democratic policy processes, meaningful policy changes to improve Nigerian women’s daily lives and representation have not been forthcoming or adequate. Since Nigeria’s transition to democracy, an unfavorable interpretation of its “federal principle” has trumped women’s rights, despite a new constitution that prohibits discrimination based on sex. This chapter argues that women’s movements and feminist allies should target Nigeria’s thirty-seven subnational governments to deepen democracy. This decentralized approach should include the creation of effective “gender policy trifectas,” which fit with Nigeria’s national and international commitments to gender equality. An increased and strategic focus on the subnational level should improve women’s descriptive and substantive representation at the subnational and national levels and strengthen Nigeria’s women’s movements, which are critical to achieving meaningful policy changes for Nigerian women, men, and children.

Keywords: women’s rights, representation, women’s movements, gender policy trifecta, feminism, intersectionality, violence against women, federalism, Nigeria

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