NIGERIA: In today’s world, where we see women making their mark in every field of society, it is disheartening to see women still fighting for equal rights. Gender inequality is a multifaceted issue that affects both men and women. However, women are mostly affected by this. Inequality makes societies that are less cohesive.
Gender equality is essential to attain progressive and sustainable economic development and a peaceful environment.
Gender equality has been the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2030 agenda for developmental strategy. UNDP believes that gender inequalities that hold women back, must be eliminated.
Impacts of gender inequality in Nigeria
When Nigerians think of gender equality, they think of getting equal positions and pay in the workforce, getting the same number of political spaces as their counterparts and getting leadership opportunities.
But is it possible for the Nigerian women to achieve this in the coming future?
Since its inception, Nigeria has had a hard time in attaining gender equality. In Nigeria, women are considered inferior to men, they are seen as child bearers and treated as an object used for sexual purposes.
Adding to this, women doesn’t have the right to make their independent choices and usually mistreated.
These factors have resulted in the unjust treatment of girl child especially in times of education, child marriage where priority is placed on the male child to female child.
Organizations rooting for gender equality
Nigeria Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill has yet witnessed a setback as the senate has ended deliberation on the bill at the National Assembly, reasons are based on religion and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
The bill, if rightly passed, will guarantee the rights of every woman, in terms of employment opportunities, equal rights for an inheritance. It will also help in reducing poverty, gender equality and other issues affecting women.
The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) has stood firmly in the time of advocating for women/girls’ equal rights. The primary aim of this organization is to see whether feminist realities have been attained or not.
Other organizations promoting gender equality in the counrty include the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), Plan International, Women for Women International (WWI), and Men Engage Alliance among others.
Causes of gender inequality
Here are some of the chief causes of gender inequality;
Gender-based violence (GBV); has been one of the major factors affecting gender inequality in our society today. Many women have suffered brutally at the hands of their partners just because they are female and they don’t have the physical strength to fight back when abused by the opposite sex.
Societal mindsets; how the society views and places the two genders are far different from one another, and that in turn has contributed immensely to the issue of gender inequality.
Lack of political representation; women are grossly underrepresented in the political arena of Nigeria. Research has shown that as of 2019, in the whole country’s parliament, women are occupying only 24.3% of the positions.
Women are substantially more likely than men to perceive the electoral environment as highly competitive and biased against female candidates.
Lack of religious freedom; both the society and the government capitalized on the religion’s restriction about some certain responsibility or role of women in the society.
The recent failure in the implementation of the gender equality bill was attributed to religion, saying both holy books and the country’s constitution have already spelled out the role of women and men so there is no need for further inclusion.
Lack of legal protections; Legal protection to safeguard the rights of women in our society has posed an integral challenge in their lives. There are no rights protecting women in their workplaces, schools, and even in their homes where they face a lot of domestic violence.
There is a need for improvement in enacting laws for the protection of rights and privileges of the women’s gender.
Lack of access to equal education; women or girl children is very much underrepresented academically. Many girl children don’t finish primary school.
However, when a girl child doesn’t have the same privilege as a boy child, it has a very big challenge on the life of the child in terms of the type of job changes that will come their way.
Solutions to achieve gender equality
There has been an important and significant focus on race equality over the years, but an understanding of what the promotion of gender equality should mean remains under developed.
Making education gender-sensitive will pave the way for bridging the gap of gender equality. Girls’ and women’s voices need to be heard. For several years girl children have been suppressed where they are hardly heard in the larger society.
Stopping child marriage and sexual harassment: This is a big problem in the face of every girl child. Where girls are forced to marry at a tender age without their own will. Stopping this will bring a reduction to the problem of gender inequality.
Empowerment; empowering women from the grassroots will help in reduction as it will, in turn, help every empowered woman to support their child academically without waiting for the girl’s father.
If gender inequality can be fought against in Nigeria, the economy of the nation will witness a drastic increase as it will help women to grow and be able to fend for themselves to sustain their future.
If women should be given at least equal opportunity of representation in terms of politics, society will be more productive and developed.