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ABSTRACT

In this modern age of development, political inequality between men and women has always been an important issue of concern. This is so because of the realization that the marginalization of a segment, race or particular sex in the society has far – reaching implications on the development of that society. Nigerian society and perhaps many countries in Africa seem to have a tenacious tradition of inequality in different facets of life. With the understanding that there is a growing tradition of political inequality against women, Nigeria adopted some gender discriminatory strategies that sought to protect women from cultural practices that demeaned and made them second class citizens no matter their background or social orientation. This is to restore confidence in women and encourage them to participate in all fields of human activity for a better human and material development. But despite the adoption of quota system, affirmative action, and gender development communication campaigns, some societies in Nigeria have shown little sign of progress especially in the area of women participation in politics. The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of existing communication practice on women participation in politics in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The study also attempted to examine some socio-cultural practices that discourage women participation in politics and also suggest some communication strategies that could enhance women political participation in the area under study. This study utilized the qualitative approach to collect information from men, women and relevant persons, Institutions and Government Departments in Four Ward districts of Kajuru Local Government through Focus Group Discussions (F.G.D.) as well as in-depth interviews. The data collected were analyzed and they have shown that, communication practices that exist in the area of study do not always address the established cultural practices that have adversely discouraged or off-put women from participating in politics. It was also gathered from the study that, rather than religion and other cultural practices, the major problems of inadequate participation of women in politics are in the content and medium or pattern of communication which is patriarchal and akin to the vertical and mass media kind of communication. However, in seeking to contribute to the development of more effective communication practice in the area under study, the study recommended the Horizo- vertical pattern of Communication. This is a blend of the mass and folk media or interpersonal communication. Its strength is in its flexibility and multimedia approach. In a whole, the study helped to highlight how media culture and content might affect the participation of particularly women, in politics. Hence, the problem of inadequate participation of women in politics is a problem of culture and of how the culture is communicated in this modern age.

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