Women in Higher Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Responses

Women in Higher Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Responses

Abiola Ibidunni Odejide, Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3814-2.ch010
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This chapter examines issues of female access to higher education in Nigeria and the equity and empowerment interventions available to female staff and students in higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the light of Items 4 and 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals. It focuses on the major challenges, responses, their drivers, and their effectiveness. Statistical and existing qualitative data are used to highlight the persistent sociocultural, economic, political, security, and policy challenges that continue to negatively impact female participation and experiences in higher education. It advocates enactment and implementation of legislation and institutional policies to promote gender equity, gendering of the curriculum, females' equitable and quality participation in leadership positions, and better security from internal and external threats. Advocacy to foster widespread attitudinal change and collaboration on global and regional development initiatives marked by national priorities should facilitate the attainment of these goals. .
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Access to education at all levels refers to the opportunity to attend formal schools to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes which facilitate participation in local and global knowledge required for full citizenship in a country and the world . In Nigeria, the Universal Basic Education project provides free education to children at the primary and first-three years of secondary education in Nigeria. This, including adult literacy, nomadic and non-formal education, was introduced in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The National Policy on Education (1977 modified in 2012), and the National Gender Policy of 2006 are legislations providing legal framework for the actualization of gender equality and women’s empowerment, integration of gender sensitivity into critical sectors of the economy. However, religious, economic, political and cultural drawbacks have reduced the effectiveness of these legislations and policies, with varying degrees of success in the geopolitical zones (Kezie-Nwoha, H., 2007;British Council, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Femocracy: The (ab) use by female spouses or relations of men who hold important positions in governments or institutions of such powers in an anti-democratic way to their own benefit, rather than to benefit ordinary women.

Multivocality: The use in research of a method to obtain multiple perspectives on atopic which may contradict one another, rather than a sole perspective.

Equity: Fairness in access to, and distribution of resources according to whether a person is biologically male or female.

Patriarchy: A societal structure which enables men to dominate women by conferring on them material advantages while constraining women’s roles and activities.

Equality: Parity in rights, responsibilities, and distribution of resources according to whether the individual is male or female.

Micropolitics: The covert operations used by small networks within organizations to assign resources and formulate policies for all without recourse to the established systems.

Gender: The behavioral, social, and cultural distinctions which communities make about males and females, rather than biological ones.

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