The role of money in political pariticpations especially for the female politicians was so glaring in the just concluded 2011 elections. The lack of strong financial based for many female politicians hindered the large coverage of campaign and their popularity. No one is advocating for blood money or fraudulent resources but hard earned money or support from credible sources to do the necessary public awareness, campaign and rallies.
There is no denying the fact that there are many other obstacles alienating women from political participations and offices. Patriarchy is a key factor, violent and unsafe political landscape as well as parties’ discrimination and unfair selections have tremendous roles to play but with these many obstacles, if women do not have money for their campaign and to start early will these not be a double tragedy?
With the new elected leaders in various offices in these 2011 elections women were obviously less than what we had in 2007 (see statistic), sending the dream of affirmative action in 2015 fifty- steps backward. This does not mean that all hopes are lost. Advocacy for credible women in appointive posts is still ongoing but if this ultimately fails, what are we going to do to achieve affirmative action in 2015 to 2019? What can be done, to have credible female politicians play their leadership roles in governance? While many women and leadership organizations keep at their advocacy work, policy implementation effort and others, female politicians and change makers must strategize effectively for a change in the status quo. Money is the key to a successful campaign; early awareness effort will go a long way to revalidate the determination of many credible female politicians to the change they seek to see.
Part of what must be done to revalidate women’s commitment to political inclusiveness in the year 2015 is to look for resources. These resources are not limited to finances but also human resources and social media resources. The lists of the plans on what female politicians must do to have more ground covered in the next four years are:
Finding the money: There are organizations including the UN Women, UNDP interested in women inclusion in political participations and it will not hurt anyone to look into these places for financial support or the already existing nigerianwomentrustfund. Organizing get –to-gather of like minded change makers who can contribute to the campaign is another vital way of raising money. And making savings from personal salaries or profit from one’s business is important. In finding the money through a genuine platform, female politicians must search and be open to information via the various forms of media that we have, as not to miss out any genuine fund-raising opportunity.
Starting early: 2011 is the right time to being your campaign. It is good to strategize at this point, map out key areas of projects you will like to undertake, start small on a few of them, gain popularity and keep working on it! If your project is to light up Nigeria, you can start effort on working with the government or challenging the government to solve these problems. Seek advice from veteran female politicians as well as their male counterparts, use this advice to prepare your registration expense and campaign budget for next four years!
Expanding your network: There are like-minded individuals at home and abroad. This is the time to expand your network and pull human resources from all quarters. There are many Nigerians from walks of lives at home and in the diaspora who will be happy to work with you when they see the uniqueness of your ideas and the passion to make a change. Now is the time to identify these valuable individuals and expand your network. Not only would they contribute ideas to your campaign, some of them will share great ideas on how to fundraise!
Seeking support from different organizations: In 2012 the Association of Women In Development (AWID) will be hosting its forum in Istanbul Turkey and the theme for this forum is Transforming ECONOMY power! Forum such as this is a must for female politicians to attend, to increase their knowledge and rub minds with others for way forward in economic advancement! Being present at this forum among others out there, will help you build support for yourself and get information on how to garner more support before 2015! Working with many women, gender and leadership organizations in Nigeria is of advantage as well. No information is useless!
Garnering support from women with financial standing: Sometimes, it pays to look within ourselves as women, recognize and approach successful women in business and entrepreneurial who are all ready to promote the inclusion of women in leadership and governance. These women want change that they believe can ultimately come from credible women and you will do yourself a lot of good to mingle and get this help! Some say help comes with a price but not necessarily, you have to find women with philanthropic hats who are just there for the change they want to happen, your task, find them now!
Changing Mindsets: There are organizations working to change mindset and pressurize government to adopt policies of equality! In your unique approach to leadership, you will have to join the effort to change mindset that women have roles to play as men in leadership! As money is important to your campaign so is healthy and changed mindset!
Having SMART manifestoes: How Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound are your manifestoes? You cannot wait till 2015 to have this ready! There are many changes that need to take place in your community and your environment, all you need is focus and passion to look for the ones that are high on the scale of preference of the people and work out plans to achieve them!
Winning Political Party Endorsement: You must look for political party that are women friendly and that have interest of the masses at hear to belong to. If this political party is not popular, your effort and uniqueness can make it become known! If you are in a political party that needs more work to recognize a female candidate, you have got four years to strategize effectively to deal with these albatrosses!
Using Social Media: The world has moved to global village with the use of social media making huge impact in peoples’ lives. You need to get a team to get you out there. You need to use social media and the time to start is now! If you don’t have access to the internet or you don’t have a computer of your own, you need to invest in these now!