Gender Inequality In the Nigerian Society
By Morakinyo Ladipo-Ajayi
Student # 6345172
DVM 1100 A
October 30th, 2014
University of Ottawa
Discussions on gender equality in recent times have focused on steps taken towards putting women in their proper prospects. In the past, each sex had clearly defined roles and the issue of gender conflict never arose. The extent of gender inequality had been hidden for so long that its seriousness is now attracting international attention. Under the conditions of international human rights, the legal concept of gender equality is entrenched in the 1948 universal declaration of Human Rights. It was also stated again in the 1979 United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. In a society like Nigeria, which is a largely patriarchal society, women tend to be comfortable to certain close-ended function in the society. It has also been confirmed that though men and women are supposed to be complementary partners in society's overall progress, women in policy have not reflected this in terms of equal participation. Gender equality yearns for a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of their existence. Equality between men and women can only exist when both sexes are able to share equally in the distribution of power and have equal opportunities for financial independence through work, enjoy equal educational opportunities and opportunity to develop a personal ambition. The fulfillment of gender equality and the empowerment of women is number three on the Millennium Development Goal list, which is set to expire in 2015. Therefore, the question is will this be achievable realistically in a patriarchal continent/society, seeing as the role of women has been devalued in such a society. In a patriarchal society like Nigeria, there are a lot of social factors militating against gender equality. These factors are what will be discussed in the following essay.
Sexuality and Violence:
Sexually active women are often seen as very loose and sometimes dubbed as “slags” or “drags” (Walby, 1990). They are often seen as sex “objects” used by men to satisfy their sexual desires. Therefore, men prefer their wives to stay at home as full time housewives than taking a paid job outside. This mindset has however been changed and the 21st century Nigerian woman is able to fulfill her roles as married women and uphold a paid job at the same time. This can account for why male violence against women remains unabated. Some women are sexually assaulted, battered and sexually abused as early as childhood. These forms of violence are a show of power of women by the more dominant males in the society. The fear of being assaulted or harassed has kept women’s mouth shut and rendered them helpless against the barrage of men.
Education of Women:
Education is the most fundamental prerequisite for empowering women in our society, and therefore the importance of an educated woman cannot be overstated. As stated by the Millennium Goal Development reports in 2004, two-thirds of the world’s populations are female. While globally, there are only 96 girls to every 100 boys at the primary school levels (MDG Report 2004:4-5). According to works published by UNICEF on attaining quality school environment for girls, there have been findings that about 121 million children who are not in school are girls (UNICEF, 1999). It was also noted that the female child is usually the one to be sacrificed if the family is unable to afford school fees for more than one child, as it is the male child that will be chosen to attend school. Without the same level of education given to men and boys, women will continue to be denied well paying jobs, participate in social and gain any form political influence in the society....
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