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Oil and women's political participation: a sub-national assessment of the role of protests and NGOs in Nigeria

Shochat, Sharon (2014) Oil and women's political participation: a sub-national assessment of the role of protests and NGOs in Nigeria. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The resource curse literature, which links natural resource abundance with negative political and economic outcomes, is largely based on large-N cross-national studies. This thesis examines the effects of oil production on women’s political participation at the sub-national level, comparing the 36 states in the Nigerian federation, of which some are oil-producing. Shedding new light on the negative effects of oil production at the local and community level, and exploring the gender-related dimensions of the resource curse, I argue that the effect of oil varies across different forms of political activity: while oil production may have a negative impact on women’s legislative participation, it can also have a positive impact on non-formal types of political participation, specifically protest and NGO activity. I further suggest that the underlying trigger for both of these effects is oil’s impact on women’s work, which is manifested differently at national and local levels. The analysis is based on a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative and qualitative tools, including original datasets on oil production and legislative participation, women’s protests, and women-led NGOs across Nigeria’s states. The combination of evidence offers a wide-ranging repertoire of the impact of oil on women. Drawing on historical evidence and women’s testimonies, this thesis suggests that oil production has negatively affected women’s labour force participation in Nigeria, while women’s work in oil-producing states has been further diminished due to environmental degradation and regional militarisation. The extremely low levels of female legislative participation in Nigeria at both the national and state levels are linked with the negative impact of oil on women’s work. Analysing a dataset of press reports and a directory of Nigerian NGOs to compare oil and non-oil producing states in the Nigerian federation, this thesis finds strong evidence for the impact of oil on women’s non-formal political participation at the local level, in oil-producing states. Thus, evidence from Nigeria suggests that oil production may have a dual effect on women’s political participation – undermining formal participation while increasing non-formal participation,a finding that adds to our understanding of the resource curse, women’s political participation, and the link between the two.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Sharon Shochat
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Wehner, Joachim and Held, David

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