Women participation in Nigerian politics is crucial to the development of Nigeria and since women constitute a sizeable proportion of the population, neglecting them may mean losing their valuable contribution. Traditional socio-economic and political and cultural structures aid discrimination against women leading to loss of contributions of women to societal development. Raising the status of women through gender empowerment has is considered in certain quarters as vital in the quest towards improvement in living standards and wellbeing of the masses in economies transiting to stability. Despite global efforts to improve the poor conditions of women through numerous conventions and conferences such as CEDAW, MDGs among others, gender discrimination has not ceased. The paper aims at throwing light on gender discrimination, obstacles to gender equality and suggests strategies for promoting effective gender equality and empowerment of women. Using secondary data, from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the paper found that gender discrimination exists in all variable indicators considered. Current status of Nigerian women in relation to men in the areas of education, income, labor force and share of seats in parliament or level of political participation were considered.
- Background of the study
The collective consciousness of women regarding the feminine mystique, which saw women’s identity restricted to the roles of wife and mother are gradually fading off as more women are liberating themselves in the workplace especially in civil and corporate organizations. The social attributes associated with being male and female and the relationships between women, men, girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization. They are context- and timespecific and changeable. Gender is part of the broader socio-cultural context. Other important criteria for socio-cultural analysis include class, race, poverty level, ethnic group and age (UN/OSAGI, n.d.). The concept of gender also includes the expectations about the characteristics, aptitudes and likely behaviours of both women and men (femininity and masculinity). The concept of gender, applied to social analysis, reveals how women’s subordination (or men’s domination) is socially constructed. As such, the subordination can be changed or ended. It is not biologically predetermined nor is it fixed forever (UNESCO, 2003). The equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities women and how those relationships will impact programming. Sexual violence occurs throughout the world. Although in most countries there has been little research conducted on the problem, available data suggest that in some countries nearly one in four women may experience sexual violence by an intimate partner, and up to one-third of adolescent girls report their first sexual experience as being forced. Sexual violence has a profound impact on physical and mental health. As well as causing physical injury, it is associated with an increased risk of a range of sexual and reproductive health problems, with both immediate and long-term consequences. Its impact on mental health can be as serious as its physical impact, and may be equally long lasting. Deaths following sexual violence may be as a result of suicide, HIV infection or murder – the latter occurring either during a sexual assault or subsequently, as a murder of ‘‘honor’. Sexual violence can also profoundly affect the social wellbeing of victims; individuals may be stigmatized and ostracized by their families and others as a consequence. Coerced sex may result in sexual gratification on the part of the perpetrator, though its underlying purpose is frequently the expression of power and dominance over the person assaulted. Often, men who coerce a spouse into a sexual act believe their actions are legitimate because they are married to the woman. Rape of women and of men is often used as a weapon of war, as a form of attack on the enemy, typifying the conquest and degradation of its women or captured male fighters. It may also be used to punish women for transgressing social or moral codes, for instance, those prohibiting adultery or drunkenness in public. Women and men may also be raped when in police custody or in prison. While sexual violence can be directed against both men and women, the main focus of this study will be on the various forms of sexual violence against women, as well as those directed against young girls by people other than caregivers. How is sexual violence defined? Sexual violence is defined as: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. Coercion can cover a whole spectrum of degrees of force. Apart from physical force, it may involve psychological intimidation, blackmail or other threats – for instance, the threat of physical harm, of being dismissed from a job or of not obtaining a job that is sought. It may also occur when the person aggressed is unable to give consent – for instance, while drunk, drugged, asleep or mentally incapable of understanding the situation. Sexual violence includes rape, defined as physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object. The attempt to do so is known as attempted rape. Rape of a person by two or more perpetrators is known as gang rape. Sexual violence can include other forms of assault involving a sexual organ, including coerced contact between the mouth and penis, vulva or anus
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Nigerian society sets the parameters for women’s structurally unequal position in families and markets by condoning gender-differential terms in inheritance rights and legal adulthood, by tacitly condoning domestic and sexual violence and sanctioning differential wages for equal or comparable work. Tradition or culture and religion have dictated men and women relationship for centuries and entrenched male domination into the structure of social organization and institution at all levels of leadership. Patriarchy justifies the marginalization of women in education, economy, labour market, politics, business, family, domestic matters and inheritance (Salaam,2003). It is against this backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of crime and violence as a barrier to gender equality in Nigeria
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is on crime and violence as a barrier to gender equality in Nigeria, to aid the completion of the study, the following specific objectives were put forward;
- To investigate the effect of sexual violence on gender equality in Nigeria
- To ascertain the effect of gender equality on female participation in governance
- To investigate the role of government in ensuring gender equality
- To investigate the effect of gender equality on national development.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher
H0: sexual violence has no effect on gender equality in Nigeria
H1: sexual violence has effect on gender equality in Nigeria
H02: the government does not play any role in ensuring gender equality in Nigeria
H2: the government does play any role in ensuring gender equality in Nigeria
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study the findings will be great importance to the state and federal government in policy formation as the study may guide them in inculcating the challenges encountered by previous administration in tackling the issue of gender inequality, the study will also be of importance to the ministry of women affairs, as the study seek to enlighten the women on their role in community development, the study will also be of importance to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic, finally the study will be of great importance to the student, teachers, lecturers and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers crime and violence as a barrier to gender equality in Nigeria, but in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term “crime” does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though.
Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation”, although the group acknowledges that the inclusion of “the use of power”
something material that blocks or is intended to block passage highway barriers, barrier contraceptive
Gender equality, also known as sexual equality, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making
- ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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