This study examined the developments and trends of women's political participation in Africa in general, with specific reference to Nigeria. It relied on secondary sources of data and content analysis. Using an eclectic approach of a four tied theoretical discourse: liberal feminist theory, radical feminist theory, cultural determinism theory and functionalist theory. The study reveals that the gladiator level is the most common, but the transitional and subject levels of political participation which are covertly more instrumental to women’s influence in politics are less probable channels for promoting women into elective and appointive positions. The paper identified key issues like financial, cultural and political constraints as widening the political gap between men and women. The study observed that cultural factors like socio-cultural beliefs, attitudes, biases, stereotypes and patriarchy not only emphasizes the superiority of men over women but institutionalizes the wide gap in women’s political participation when compared with men. The study recommended that gender-sensitive laws, policies, programmes and budgets based on a thorough understanding of the multifaceted issues that affect women should be considered in making electoral laws, with electoral body (INEC) implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programmes saddled with these tasks.
Keywords: women, political participation, political autonomy, gender equality