GUIDANCE NEEDS OF RIVERS STATE WOMEN TOWARDS IMPROVING REPRESENTATION IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP


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GUIDANCE NEEDS OF RIVERS STATE WOMEN TOWARDS IMPROVING REPRESENTATION IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP  

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the guidance needs of Rivers state women towards improving representation in political leadership. The purpose of this study was to investigate the educational, vocational and personal-social guidance needs that Rivers state women need towards improving representation in political leadership. The study was guided by six (6) research questions and six (6) null hypotheses that were based on the women’s educational level and location. The researcher adopted Need Assessment Survey. Women were first sampled through Multi-stage sampling technique. Later, 2000 women – 500 literate, 500 non-literate, 500 urban and 500 rural women respectively – were purposefully selected for the study from a population of 2,474,713 females. The researcher developed questionnaire called Inventory for Women’s Political Guidance Needs (IWPGN) which was used to collect data from the respondents on their educational, vocational and personal-social guidance needs. Three experts in the Faculty of Education at University of Nigeria Nsukka validated the instrument, while the reliability of the instrument was analysed using Cronbach Alpha statistics. The result gave overall Alpha Coefficient value of 0.90. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used; this included frequency tables, mean and standard deviation that were used to answer the research questions. The null hypotheses were subjected to t-test at 0.05 Alpha level of significant. Major finding of the study reviewed among others that literate, non-literate, urban and rural Rivers state women need educational and vocational guidance for them to improve representation in political leadership, while the non-literate and urban Rivers state women need personal- social guidance more than the literate and rural rivers state women for them to improve representation in political leadership. Significant difference existed in the mean scores of the educational and personal social guidance needs of literate and non-literate rural Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership. Also, significant difference existed in the mean score of the educational and vocational guidance needs of the urban and rural Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership. Some of the counselling implications noted in the study were: women are more aware that education and political ideology constitute negative impact on their political prospects; women are no longer comfortable with lobbying to win political leadership positions but need guidance on how to be assertive and manage self etc. Among the recommendations of the study were establishment of guidance and counselling units in urban and rural areas, establishment of adult learning centres in the localities, leadership training for women and so on.

1

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Participation and representation of women in political leadership seems to be a global problem cutting across national and international levels. The poor participation of women in politics has influenced their poor representation in political leadership. This attitudinal behaviour of women has attracted international conferences, seminars and other processes by the United Nations and other international agencies to address these issues of poor participation and representation of women in political leadership. Beijing platform for Action (1995) emphasized that women’s equal participation and representation in political life plays a vital role in the general process of development of women and achievement of the goals of equality and peace of nations. It also recommended that women should have equal access to and full participation and representation in power structures, decision making and leadership. The United Nation Development Report on Executive Opinion Survey study (2004), conducted on 58 countries of the world on women political empowerment, findings revealed that: Women are poorly represented in the lower levels of government; they are rarer still in the upper echelons of decision-making and that women are absent from structures of governance in national, regional and local, meaning that they do not contribute meaningfully on how resources are allocated.

Politics, according to Ogunna (2003), is the process through which people are kept in orderly and peaceful behaviour and through cooperative endeavour; skilful management of tensions and resolution of conflicts, disagreements, social leadership, the general interest and welfare of the people are attained, sustained and the survival of the state is maintained. To Northouse (2007), leadership is the process whereby an individual influences a group of individual to achieve a common goal; Unanka (2002) sees political leadership as involving politicians who implements or interprets the laws while promoting the active and intelligent cooperation of the ruled. In another view, Pitkin (1967) defines political representation as the activity of making citizens’ voices, opinions and perspectives “present” in the public policy making process. Pitkin also notes that political representation occurs when political actors speak, advocate, symbolize and act on the behalf of others in the political arena.

In Nigeria, women seem to participate in politics passively and this has affected their representation in leadership positions. Agbara (2007) survey study on women participation and representation in politics in Nigeria revealed that from 1979-1983 there was only one female out of 57 members of the senate, three females out of 445 in the Federal House of Representatives and only two female ministers. Between 1991-1993, only 27 (2.3%) of 172 legislators in the House of Assembly were women, while only nine women contested for the position of state governors out of 300 aspirants with none of the women emerging as winner. Still on the above mentioned years, out of 8,800 counsellors only 143 were women; 774 local government chairmen, only nine were women. In the State House of Assembly, out of 983 members, only 12 women represented. Based on these poor representations, women empowerment programmes were formed to empower women socially, economically and politically. Among these programmes are: Better Life programme for rural women, Mass Mobilization for Self-reliance, Economic Recovery and Social Justice (MAMSER), National Orientation Agency (NOA), to list but few. In addition, some women Professional Associations were put in motion all over the country to empower women. These include: Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) which articulates the interests of women in the media, Association of Female Lawyers (FIDA) which interest is to fight for women’s right in all sphere of life, Professional House Wives Association (POWA), Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) and the Women’s Empowerment Movement (WEM) (from Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, 2007).

After 2003 and 2007 respective general elections where women represented lowly, other measures were put in place against 2011 generation elections. Such measures as: enforcement of the National Gender Policy 2008 with the promise of providing 35% affirmative action, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund inaugurated in 2011 at Abuja by the Ministry of Women and Social Development which served as a launch pad for female candidates at d poll. This 100 million naira Trust Fund was set up to help offset the campaign costs of about 230 female aspirants; another of these measures was the Women for Change Initiatives founded by the First Lady – Dame Patience Jonathan. The initiative programme was aimed at encouraging and promoting political ambition of Nigerian women as well as their socio-economic status. Though there was an improvement it was less than expected compared to the measures that were put in place for the elections. In all elective positions, only 9.06% of the women assumed leadership positions (Independent National Electoral Commission, 2011, and Business and Management Research Institute 2011)

Leadership involves trust, confidence and effective communication of the leader. That is, helping the subordinates understand strategy, contribute in achieving key objectives, sharing information, trusting and having confidence in one another (Lamb and McKee, 2004). In other words, leadership involves one’s ability to make the followers contribute meaningfully towards the achievement of the set goals based on prior motivation. It involves guiding, directing, administering, leading, organizing and managing human, financial and material resources in assigned post(s). The problem of women political participation that would encourage representation in leadership positions has become the concern of all in Nigeria as the 36 states of the federation are affected. This has attracted the attention of many researchers like Nwogu (1998); Epelle (2000); Agbi (2004) and some others, who share same view of women being under-represented in political leadership positions as a result of their poor political socialization, low level of education, lack of confidence, poor self-concept and so on.

Rivers State is one of the highest populated states in the federation (National Population Commission, 2008). The state has literate, non-literate, urban and rural men and women that are politicians. World Bank (2014) defines urban area as an area with agglomerations of more than 1 million percent of total population in Nigeria, while a rural area is less than that of urban population. Urban men and women are referred to those living in areas of the state where all the basic amenities are provided, while rural men and women refer to those living in areas of the states where few or none of the basic amenities are provided. Urban areas in this study include areas with planned infrastructures with people from different parts of the world, living, working and doing business. Rural areas lack planned infrastructure, dwellers are mostly natives with few or non foreigners. These dwellers mostly engage with farm activities, petty trading and few government workers.

The focus of this research is on how to improve women representation in political leadership through guidance. The researcher, as a resident and social worker in Rivers state, has observed that there are some women in the state who are politicians and others that are not involved in power struggle for positions. Some female politicians are at all times dedicated to carrying out tasks while others do not understand things going on in their political terrain or places of work due to lack of information of events. Similarly, while some lack basic education others do not know how to pay attention, organize, analyze and interpret environmental information. Some of the women are disciplined and can interact favourably with both colleagues and outsiders, understanding concepts of values and morals while some lack these qualities. Dare & Folorunso, (2012); Okafor, (2010); Fatile, Akhakpe, Ibeto, Okpo and Chinyeaka (2011) also made similar observations in their survey studies on women and political participation. Therefore, the state chosen for this study has adequate characteristics that can achieve the purpose of the study; the populace need more political awareness - the women need guidance counselling on effective participation and representation in political leadership.

Women passive participation in political leadership has been found to be influenced by some factors. Information collected by the researcher as a resource person and facilitator with National Teachers’ Institute and National Open University of Nigeria in Rivers State from Focused Group Discussions (FGD) held (in 2005, 2009 and 2012) respectively during Retraining of Teachers in Ahoda and Ogba-Egbema Local Government Area in Rivers state revealed some reasons why many women do not feel like participating or representing in politics and men not allowing their wives to participate and represent in politics. Findings show that both men and women members of the group responded similarly, opining that in most cases, some women have been falsely accused on one thing or the other. This study will assist in creating more political awareness to the women by providing strategies that will be used to guide and counsel them on how to participate and represent effectively in political leadership.

Affuruma (1993), Konya (1993), Alliance for Africa (2004), Kobia (2007), Ezeilo (2011), and Ajao (2012) in their survey studies on women and political barriers observed that women need leadership training, decision making training, public speaking training, self-assertion training and other institutional arrangement that will bring about some substantive increase of women participation and representation in political leadership. Based on these hindrances the women are facing, the researcher deems it necessary that women need to be guided and counselled on how to identify their needs in regards to improving participation and consequently representation in political leadership.

Guidance, according to Idowu (1998), Kolo (1992), is a firm assistance given to individuals so as to understand themselves and their world to become more efficient, productive and happier human beings. To them, counselling is a one-on-one interpersonal communication whereby the counsellor helps the counselee achieves adaptive attitudes, insights and behaviour. Prayitno and Amti (2004) opine that guidance is the process of aid committed by people who are experts on one of several individuals, both children, adolescents and adults so that people can be guided to develop their own abilities and self-contained with harnessing the power of individuals and facilities that exist and can be developed based on the prevailing norms. Meanwhile, Winkel (2005) defines guidance as an effort to equip individual with knowledge, experience and information that could enable them understand self and environment, make choices and set realistic goals, thereby using (efficiently and effectively) all the opportunities to develop self.

From the definitions of these experts, guidance is an activity aimed at assisting every individual in the environment, irrespective of age, sex, career, vocation, marital status and the likes. It helps individuals to acquire new ways of doing things positively, exploring their environment and attributing meanings to their environment. Individuals need guidance to understand their environment, understand themselves, plan, set-goals, make choices and decisions that will help them actualize their goals in whatever that they set out to do.

Guidance comprises of three areas, namely, educational, personal-social and vocational. Oladele (1987) and Ipaye (1986), respectively see educational guidance as all information that will assist one understand the educational world, contribute actively in the development of the environment as well as participate actively in taking requisite decisions as regards to ones social, personal and vocational choices. Personal-social guidance as defined by Denga (1976) includes assistance given to individuals to resolve interpersonal problems, family problems, marital disharmony, broken homes, sexual difficulties, emotional disturbances, self-concept problems, drug abuse, juvenile and adult delinquency and other forms of maladaptive behaviours which constitute indiscipline. On vocational guidance Oladele (1987), explained that it is aimed at helping people to come to a clear realisation of their aptitudes, attainments, interests, dispositions and circumstances in the light of occupational demand. This is to say that vocational guidance assists one to acquire all necessary information that would enable one choose correctly based on interest and capability and also get success in life.

It is imperative for women to identify their guidance needs for them to improve their participation and consequently representation in political leadership. According to Maslow (1970), man is constantly pre-occupied with needs that must be met. Unless the deficiency needs are met, growth needs can never be achieved. He further explains that need is a motivational force that compels action for its satisfaction. Needs range from basic survival needs to cultural, intellectual and social needs. Maslow identifies these as preconditions for basic needs satisfaction such as freedom to speak, freedom to do ones wishes as long as it does not infringe on others right, freedom to express oneself, freedom to investigate and seek for information, freedom to defend oneself, freedom to gain justice, fairness, honesty and orderliness in the group.

Guidance needs, in this respect, involve all assistance that will be given to the women in order to develop skills that will expose them to varying experiences, to build their competence, achieve self-direction and have representation and partnership with men comfortably. Guidance needs of women here would mean any help that would make them plan their families and other activities effectively without any serious problem on their health and or that of other members of their families. It involves motivating them to develop a good sense of personal competence, their obligations and exposure to options. In view of all these needs, the researcher proposes that if women are guided to identify their individual needs and counselled, they would be more active to participate and eventually represent in political leadership.

Statement of the Problem

Women’s poor participation in politics and its resultant poor representation in political leadership are seen to be a global problem of which Nigeria is not excluded. This poor representation of women in political leadership has been attributed to some factors, such as higher illiteracy level, gender discrimination against women, and lack of information to list but few. It is no gain saying that this poor representation of women in political leadership has caused some of the denials of benefits such as representation of women in the upper echelons of political leadership and as members in decision making structures of governance in national, state and local levels.

It is in view of government concern over this poor political representation of women that some empowerment programmes were initiated by both government and non- government organizations. Such programmes include. Better life for Rural Women, Women Empowerment, Movement, Association of Women Journalist, Women for Change Initiative and some others. However, it is worrisome that despite these programmes to beef up women’s societal image, knowledge of their human rights and need to actively participate and be represented in political leadership, their responses still remain low. Rivers state women are equally facing the mentioned problems or more like other women in different parts of Nigeria. However, it is necessary that they should be guided and counselled for effective participation and leadership representation. The researcher is poised to ask why women are non-responsive to active participation and representation in political leadership. Could it be that there are guidance needs that they require to enable them understanding themselves better in order to participate and represent in political leadership? It is on the bases of these concerns that this study was carried out.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to identify the guidance that Rivers state women need for improving representation in political leadership. Specifically, the study identified the:

1. Educational guidance needs of literate and non-literate women for improving representation in political leadership.

2. Vocational guidance needs of literate and non-literate women for improving representation in political leadership.

3. Personal-social guidance needs of literate and non-literate women for improving representation in political leadership.

4. Educational guidance needs of urban and rural women for improving representation in political leadership.

5. Vocational guidance needs of urban and rural women for improving representation in political leadership.

6. Personal-social guidance needs of urban and rural women for improving representation in political leadership.

Significance of the Study

This study has practical and theoretical significance. The theoretical significance is anchored on Murray (1938) and Maslow (1954) theories of Needs. In the simplest sense, theories of Needs involve one to understand the level of the needs, achieve the primary or lower level needs, as well as master all the needs, at any point in time. These will aid to plan programmes that will enable the person to actualize the objectives. In a more detailed sense, the theories take cognizance of individual differences, interrelationship of needs that can manifest negatively or positively in one’s personality. These needs could be shaped positively through training programmes. The theories were able to indicate that different levels of motivation could occur at any time in the human mind, but one has to be focused to identify the basic types of motivation and the order in which they should be met so as to satisfy the need(s).

The justification for using Need theories are premised on the fact that political institution is made up of human beings with different roles to play. The leaders, representatives, godfathers, kingmakers, entertainers to mention but a few interrelate with each other with the sole aim of achieving effectively in politics. They all have their individual needs to achieve before they can actualize. Other reasons for the use of these theories are:

⦁ The theories are flexible to numerous techniques that could be applied effectively by the counsellor to reshape the individual, especially the women that are yet to achieve their needs for self-actualization in politics.

⦁ The theories indicate that every individual, irrespective of sex, status and the likes must achieve primary or low-level needs before the secondary needs at any point in time.

⦁ The theories are explicit enough and give directions on how the counsellor can organize the women’s identified needs from primary, secondary to self-actualized needs.

On the practical significance, since guidance is all about assisting individual to see meaning to their existence, the guidance counsellor, the women, political institutions, government, future researchers and other institutions for human development will benefit from the findings of this study. Guidance counsellors stand to benefit from   the findings of the study as it would enable them understand the needs of the women, identify the appropriate techniques, guidance and counselling programmes which would free and expand rather than limit the women potential and political ambitions. The counsellor stands to benefit from the study as the identified needs will guide counsel the women on how to deal with normal as well as complex personal and emotional needs that would prevent them from participating and representing in political leadership.

The women will benefit from the study as they would be guided and counselled on how to understand and identify their needs individually, thereby, assisting them to achieve effective political participation and representation in leadership. Also, Women stand to benefit from the study as the findings will enable them plan programmes that will benefit all women, irrespective of educational levels and locations. It will also help to organise them from time to time identify the guidance that they need and plan on how to help resolve their problems.

Political institution members stand to benefit from the findings because they would come to understand that both those aspiring to enter politics, inside politics as floor members and those on leadership representations need guidance and counselling services from time to time. These will enable them achieve their unmet needs, probably manifesting negatively in their personality.

The government would also benefit immensely from this study because the findings would serve as guides for the educational and social sectors on how to plan, organise and expand the school curriculum so as to integrate learning experiences that will encourage learners to develop proper attitude towards values, develop sense of responsibilities and originality. It will encourage the government to start guidance and counselling early enough in schools so as to assist the learners identify their need area and proper solutions. Also, it will facilitate the establishment of guidance and counselling wards in Local Government Area, public places to mention but few.

Future researchers will benefit from the study as the reviewed literature instrument of data collection, findings and the developed catalogue of Needs and Strategies would contribute in providing wealth of information for them on similar and other ongoing studies in the same study. It would also create an avenue for further researches based on suggestions.

Other institutions stand to benefit from the study as the catalogue of Needs and strategies would serve as placement and orientation techniques for old workers, newly employed and unemployed persons. They would guide them to identify their areas of needs and how to achieve them for effective input. Findings will also encourage institutions to open guidance and counselling units in their organisations, since all human beings have one need or the other to achieve at any point in time.

Scope of the Study

The study was carried out in Rivers state of Nigeria. The geographical scope of this study was limited to Rivers State in ten local government areas of the state. This includes Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyibo, Eleme, Khana, Ahoada, Bonny, Ikwere. Okirika and Gokana. The content scope was limited to investigating the educational vocational and personal social guidance needs of urban and rural literate and non literate women needs necessary for political participation and representative in political leadership.

Research Questions

The following research questions formed the basis for the study.

What are the:

1. Educational guidance needs of literate and non-literate Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

2. Vocational guidance needs of literate and non-literate Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

3. Personal-socio guidance needs of literate and non-literate Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

4. Educational guidance needs of urban and rural Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

5. Vocational guidance needs of urban and rural Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

6. Personal-socio guidance needs of urban and rural Rivers state women for improving representation in political leadership?

Null Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.5 level of significant:

H01. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of literate and non- literate Rivers state women’s educational guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

H02. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of urban and rural Rivers state women’s vocational guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

H03. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of literate and non- literate Rivers state women’s personal-social guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

H04. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of urban and rural Rivers state women’s educational guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

H05. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of literate and non-literate Rivers state women’s vocational guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

H06. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of urban and rural Rivers state women’s personal-social guidance needs for improving representation in political leadership.

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GUIDANCE NEEDS OF RIVERS STATE WOMEN TOWARDS IMPROVING REPRESENTATION IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP


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