United Nations And The Challenges Of Promoting Gender Equality In Nigeria

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Women  in  Nigeria  are  faced  with  various  challenges  both  at  the  private  and  public

sector.  As  a result  of  this,  there  are  gender  imbalance  that  tends  to  take  place  among  both

sexes. There are various gender inequalities that preoccupies the system which ranges from

violence  to  abuses,  discriminations  as  well  as  denial  to  political  offices.  Even  though  the

attainment  of  gender  equality  is  not  only  seen  as  an  end  in  itself,  it  is  equally  an  end  in

ingredients to and a product for the achievement of sustainable development of countries.

The method of the research work is based on the secondary source of analysis which

is  done  through  the  use  of  journals,  internet  materials  and  other  archival  sources  of

information  which  is  going  to  be  relevant.  Though  Nigeria  as  a  country  with  the  Federal

Ministry  of  Women  Affairs  and  Poverty  Alleviation  and  Nigeria  has  been  a  signatory  to

various international treaties and policies as well.

Various discoveries has revealed that gender inequality is a great challenge to Nigeria

even as a developing country, such as discriminations that women are faced with including

abuses.  Although,  the  UN  been  an  International  Organization  having  established  various

policies such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against

Women (CEDAW) etc. Despite all these policies that have been established for the purpose

of  nullifying  the  distinction,  exclusion  made  on  the  basis  of  sex,  UN  itself  still  encounters

various problems, such is the fact that women work more than women but are still been paid

low.  With  this  policies,  UN  still  have  its  challenges  such  that  lack  of  women  to  improper

education, cultural and social beliefs of the women, poor recognition of women issues etc are

still some of the challenges the United Nations is facing.

In conclusion, if all the policies that the United Nation has established coupled with

the treaties that Nigeria has signed are put into effect, it will thus increase the knowledge of

women  as  well  as  curb  barriers  that  are  been  placed  against  women,  such  as  vying  for

political positions, for instance, in Brazil and Germany; they have females as their Presidents

known as Chancellor, Nigeria also can get to that position.


AFA- Alliance for Africa

AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

AWU- Abeokuta Women‘s Union

BUDFOW-Business and Development Fund for Women

CEDAW –Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

CPP- Convention People‘s Party

CRC- Convention on the Rights of Child

ECOWAS- Economic Community of West African States

EU- European Union

FGM- Female Genital Mutilation

HIV- Human Immune Virus

ICPD- International Conference on Population and Development

INTL ORG- International Organization

MDG‘S- Millennium Development Goals

NACA- National Agency for the Control of AIDS

NCW- National Council of Women

NCWS- National Council of Women‘s Societies

NDHS- National Demographic Health Survey

NDWPD- Niger Delta Women‘s Movement for Peace and Development

NEEDS- National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy

NEPAD- New Partnership for Africa‘s Development

NFF- Nigeria Feminist Forum

NWU- National Women‘s Union

PFA- Platform for Action

POA- Programme of Action

SDGEA- Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa

SNA- Sole Native Authority

UN- United Nations

UNDP- United Nations Development Programme

VAW- Violence Against Women

WANEP – West African Network for Peace building

WARDC- Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center

WARSHE- Women Against Rape, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation

WIN- Women in Nigeria

WISCORD- Widening Scope for Rights and Development

WOCON- Women‘s Consortium of Nigeria

WOPED- Women Center for Peace and Development

WRAPA- Women‘s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative

                           TABLE OF CONTENT

Title page                       i

Certification             ii

Dedication                                                                                iii

Acknowledgment                                                                      iv

Abstract              vi

Acronyms                viii


1.1Background to the Study                3

1.2 Statement of the problem               6

1.3 Objective of the study               6

1.4 Research Methodology               6

1.6 5Significance of the study               7

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the study             7

1.7 Definitions of terms                  8

1.8 Literature review                8

1.10Chapterization               16

Reference               17


2.1 Institutional\laws and treaties and laws           18

2.2 Regional instruments              26

Reference                32




3.1Introduction                  33

3.2 Development of Feminism and Women Organizations            34

3.3 Women‘s Empowerment and National Integration             41

3.4 Women‘s Participation in Political Process in Nigeria                           44

Reference                                                              49


4.1 Issues of Discrimination against Women in Nigeria             50

4.2 Issues of Violence and Abuses against Women in Nigeria                51

Reference                                                               56



5.1 U.N and Women Issues in Nigeria                  57

5.2 Challenges of the U.N on Women Rights in Nigeria                63

Reference                      67


6.1 Summary                      68

6.2 Conclusion                      69

6.3 Recommendation                     72

Bibliography                      73


                                  CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background

There  are  various  International  Organizations  and  Non-Governmental Organizations working on gender issues in various parts of the world today and doing many things relating to gender issues. Various Organizations are been created to balance the gender differences in the  world  today.  Even  as  an  International  Organization  or  Non-Governmental,  they  have various goals, aims and objectives and coupled with this is the fact that they are faced with different  challenges  in  carrying  out  their  duties.  For  instance,  United  Nations  sponsored intergovernmental conference on women opened with much fanfare and optimum in Mexico City,  such  as  women  discrimination,  disclaiming  of  women‘s  rights  etc.  Promoting  gender equality has become a globally recognized and an acceptable reality. Gender issues have also been identified as an issue indispensable for the achievement of national development goals.

According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, ‗Gender is defined
as  the  fact  of  being  male  or  female,  males  or  females  ,  considered  as  a  group  :differences  between  the  genders‘.  According  to  the  English  Dictionary,  it  defined  gender  as  the biological  sexes  of  an  individual  usually  male  or  female,  the  mental  analogue  of  sex  .i.e. one‘s  male  (masculinity)  or  femaleness  (femininity)‘.  According  to  Bridget  Osakwe  of  WANEP  she  ‗defines  Gender  as  a  social  and  cultural  construct  differentiating  women  and men  and  defining  the  ways  in  which  women  and  men  interact  with  each  other‘.  It  is undermined by the composite of shared expectations and norms within a society concerning appropriate  female  and  male  behaviors,  characteristics,  and  roles.  Gender  and  gender  roles are  culturally  specific,  learned,  and  changeable  over  time,  and  influenced  by  different variables  such  as  race,  age,  class,  and  ethnicity.  A  literature  text  on  women  and  peace building confirms that the concept of gender refers to social relationships produced by social, cultural, economic, and historical processes and the various roles played by men and women.

In  fact,  the  attainment  of  gender  equality  is  not  only  seen  as  an  end  in  itself  it  is equally  an  ingredient  to,  and  a  product  for  the  achievement  of  sustainable  development  of countries.  Nigerian  government  which  has  compounded  the  problem  of  expanding  the capacity  level  that  is  required  to  increase  the  enhancement  of    the  opportunity  of accommodating  the  varying  needs  of  both  male  and  female,  gender  also  contends  that  the attainment of gender equality in Nigeria which is already time-barred, will be a mirage due to many  constraining  factors.  Globally,  the  growing  importance  of  gender  equality  has  been recognized and accepted in various countries.  The  normative  framework  for  human development  (UNDP:  2012)  is  reflected  in  the  broad  vision  espoused  in  the  Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed set of time-bound targeted goals for ensuring gender  equality  and  advancing  opportunities  in  diverse  sectors  of  the  global  economy.  The convention  on  the  elimination  of  all  forms  of  discrimination  against  women  (CEDAW) adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly which was accepted by 180 states, states the rights and equality of women, their freedom from discrimination and equality under the law.

Also, promoting gender equality which is a sine-qua-non to the actualization of the protection of  fundamental  human  rights  is  critical  to  the  whole  concern  for  human  development  that center on  allowing  people  to  live  a  life  that  they  value  and  enable  them  to  realize  their potentials as human beings. Realizing the growing need for gender equality is also germane to  the  survival  and  development  of  children  and  the  building  of  healthy  communities, societies as well as a nation.

The  gap  between  the  Millennium  Development  Goal  of  promoting  Gender  Equality and its actualization in Nigeria, however, is the action dilemma by the Nigerian government  that  is  known for  mis-governance, lack  of political  will,  the  prevailing  patriarchal  culture, false public investment and the absence of adequate productive capacity that will create the opportunities  for  women  empowerment  and  development  in  the  country.  These  problems explain the inevitability and imperative of an action-based approach that will translate gender equality programme into concrete reality.

Gender is a fundamental element of conflict and of peace .Gender analysis has helped in  playing  important  role  in  understanding  successful  peace  building  which  helps  to illuminate and contributes to knowledge and skills in maintaining peace rather than violence or conflicts. Gender as  a term which has brought about different other terminologies such as gender sensitivity, gender mainstreaming which is  a strategic tool towards the achievement of greater equality between men and women as endorsed in the Beijing Platform for Action from the United Nations(4th) World Conference on Women in1995. Gender mainstreaming is,…..the  process  of  assessing  the  implications  of  women  and  men  of  any  planned action, including legislation,  policies or programs, in  all areas and  at  all  levels.  It  is  strategy for making women‘s as well as men‘s concerns and experiences an integral dimension  of  the  design,  implementation,  monitoring  and  evaluation  of  policies  and programs  in  all  political,  economic  and  society  spheres  so  that  men  and  women benefit  equally  and  inequality  is  not  perpetuated.  The  ultimate  goal  is  to  achieve gender equality. [WANEP Nigeria (2009) pg. 17] .

Gender  equality  has  become  one  of  the  central  themes  in  global  treaties,  covenants and  declarations  principally  due  to  the  understanding  that  it  is  a  catalyst  to  clear-cut development  strategies  which  is  targeted  at  poverty  reduction,  improved  living  standards, good governance and profitably productive investments that are critical to the creation of an enlarged capacity that provide men and women equal opportunity and unrestrained access to decision-making and policy implementation institutions and processes. The various definition of gender  equality  arises  from  various  social  sciences  literature  including  economics,  it manifests as hierarchical      gender relations, with less valuable solely by virtue of their sex.


The  issue  of  gender inequality  is  a  fast  growing  trend  in  all  spheres  of  the  Nigeria system both in the public sector as well as the private sector coupled with family mentality on issues  relating  gender  particularly  women  in  the  society.  The  Nigeria  government  despite been   signatory to various policies still do not abide by these policies. The study on the topic United Nations and the challenges of promoting gender equality will address the challenges of gender inequality between the two sexes ,the role of UN in propounding solutions as well balancing the various challenges and gender differences in Nigeria.


The specific objectives of the study are to:

i. Establish  the  various  advocacies  of  promoting  gender  equality  by  the  Nigerian government.

ii. Identify and examine the activities of the UN in promoting gender equality in Nigeria

iii. Discuss the challenges of the UN in promoting gender equality in Nigeria.


Secondary  source  of  data will  be utilized  in  carrying  out  this  research  work.  This  sources includes textbooks, proceedings, journals, reports, magazines, newspapers as well as internet materials  and  other  library  or  archival  materials.  All  data  shall  be  interpreted  and  analyzed qualitativelyusing the historical and descriptive method.


The  significance  of  the  study  is  to  know  the  various  policies  that  the  UN  as  an international  organization  has  put  in  place  which  Nigeria  has  benefited  from  coupled  with  various policies that the  Federal  Ministry of women affairs has adopted  and propounded in terms of balancing gender equality as well as to know the various gender issues as they affect women in the private and public sector of the country. Similarly the study will  encourage at a great  degree  the  participation  of  women in  politics  as  well  as  to  make  decisions  that  will stand and effect the changes required.

Furthermore,  the  importance  of  the  study  is  to  look  at  the  gender  differences  in Nigeria,  the  role  of  international  organizations  like  the  United  Nations  in  helping to  curb some of the challenges and also rendering assistance in promoting gender equality in Nigeria thus  increasing  the  participation  and  recognition  of  women  thereby  putting  a  stop  to.  The study will view the various gender issues as well as to also identify the various ways in which women participates in the political process in Nigeria.


The  period  covered  in  this  work  will  be  between  independent  (1960)  and  after independence.  The  period  witnessed  the  rising  gender inequality  that  took  over  the  society with women always at the receiving end in most circumstances. This research will be limited to  information  and  materials  the  author  was  able  to  get  in  carrying  out  the  research  workeffectively, such as materials gotten from libraries, United Nations, articles on gender  as well as  the  use  of  texts  relevant  to  the  topic  and  information‘s  gotten  from  non-governmental organizations.



International  organization:  Is  a  formal  continuous  structure  established  by agreement  between  members  which  could  be  governmental  or  non-governmental organization  in  which  it  members  are  voluntary  membership  and  as  international organizations, they have their enabling instruments, which clearly states the goals, structures, modus  operandi  of  the  organization  in  which  UN  also  belongs.  UN  as  an  international organization  which  was  established  as  a  result  of  the  world  wars,  as  a  result  of  this,  the Moscow Declaration was put in place.

 Gender: Is defined as the fact of being male or female, males or females , considered

as  a  group  :differences  between  the  genders.  (the  Longman  Dictionary  of  Contemporary

English).  It is  also  defined as the biological  sexes of an individual  usually male or  female

,the mental analogue of sex .i.e one‘s male (masculinity) or femaleness (femininity) (English

Dictionary).  According  to  Bridget  Osakwe  of  WANEP  defines  ‗Gender  as  a  social  and

cultural construct differentiating women and men and defining the ways in which women and

men interact with each other‘.( WANEP Nigeria (2009): Gender and Conflict Prevention :An

Early Warning Training Manual). It is undermined by the composite of shared expectations

and  norms  within  a  society  concerning  appropriate  female  and  male  behaviors,

characteristics, and roles. Gender and gender roles are culturally specific, learned, changeable

over  time,  and  influenced  by  different  variables  such  as  race,  age,  class,  and  ethnicity.  A

literature  text  on  women  and  peace  building  confirms  that  the  concept  of  gender  refers  to

social relationships.

Gender  Mainstreaming:  The  process  of  assessing  the  implications  of  women  and  men  of

any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs, in all areas and at all levels. It

is    strategy  for  making  women‘s  as  well  as  men‘s  concerns  and  experiences  an  integral


dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs

in  all  political,  economic  and  society  spheres  so  that  men  and  women  benefit  equally  and

inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality. UNDP defines

gender  mainstreaming  as  ―Taking  account  of  gender  equality  concerns  in  all  policy,

programme, administrative and financial activities, and in organizational procedures, thereby

contributing to organizational transformation‖.

Patriarchy:  Is  a  system  of  male  authority  and  dominance  in  which  women  are  oppressed

through social, cultural, political and so on. It tends to emphasize the supremacy of the father

in the family, the legal dependence of wives and children.

Women’s  Empowerment: This  refers  to  the  ability  of  women  to  have  skills,  control  over

resources as well as participate in decision that affects their lives.

Motherhood: This refers to the state of being a mother, the qualities or spirit of a mother. It

is the kinship between an offspring and the mother.


The  United  Nations  has  established  various  policies  as  well  as  legal  frameworks  to

combat gender inequality in Nigeria and other countries. As a result of the conference held in

Rio  de  Janeiro  1975,  Cairo  1995,  and  Copenhagen  1980,  important  issues  relating  to  the

improvement of the status of women was stressed. Gender mainstreaming has been identified

as a strategic tool towards achieving greater equality between men and women as endorsed in

the  Beijing  Platform  for  Action  from  the  UN  4th world  women  conference  in  1995.  The

strategy of mainstreaming is defined as

…..the  process  of  assessing  the  implications  for  women  and  men  of  any
planned  action,  including  legislations,  policies  or  programs  in  all  areas  and  at  all
levels. It is strategy for making women‘s as well as men‘s concerns and experiences
an  integral  dimension  of  the  design,  implementation,  monitoring,  and  evaluation  of


policies and programs in all political, economic and spheres so that women and men
benefit  equally  and  inequality  is  not  perpetuated.  The  ultimate  goal  is  to  achieve
gender equality. [WANEP Nigeria (2009), pg. 17] .

According to the UN, what is common in mainstreaming in all sectors or development

issues is that a concern  for  gender equality is  brought  into ‗mainstream‘  of activities rather

than dealt with  as an ‗add-on‘. From this, gender mainstreaming is  radical  processes which

address issues from the root causes of gender in balances in the society. Women and girls are

faced with critical issues and vulnerable positions. As a result of these challenges, the Joint

United  Nations  Programme  on  AIDS  (UNAIDS)in  collaboration  with  the  National  Agency

for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the United Nations women seek to accelerate actions

on  the  disproportionate  vulnerability  of  women  and  girls  (Progress  report  on  the

implementation of the African Union solemn declaration on gender equality in Nigeria). As a

result  of  this,  strategic  stakeholders  in  the  six  geo-political  zones  of  the  country  were

consulted in a bid to create a forum for joint articulation of the key issues and the best ways

to  identify  issues.  For  instance,  NACA  with  financial  assistance  from  the  office  of  the

MDG‘S, under the Debt Relief Grant collaborated with four other organizations to carry out

different  projects  in  various  parts  of  the  country  i.e  Oyo,  Enugu,  Lagos,  kwara,  Kaduna,

,Katsina, Niger with their core objectives of the four projects which was meant to address the

problem  of  poverty  through  empowering    beneficiaries  to  acquire  skills  for  engaging    in

income generating activities.

The  Nigeria  government  in  a  view  to  bridge  the  gap,  there  was  a  review  of  the

microfinance policy framework for Nigeria in April 2011. One of the four core targets of the

received policy is to eliminate gender disparity by ensuring that women‘s accessto financial

services increase by 15% annually above the minimum 10% across the  board. The band of

industry  has  over  the  years  worked  effectively  to  reach  the  poor  and  more  women  in

collaboration with various state government with more than 2.37billion has been approved to


various  cooperative  groups  comprising  women  and  youths)  since  2008  under  a  collective

guarantee arrangement.

Nigeria  responding  to  the  Nairobi  Conference  on  Women  adopted  the  third  world

conference on women in Nairobi and Kenya for the advancement of women, Nigeria created

a  women  development  section  in  the  Federal  ministry  of  Social  Development,  Youth  and

Sports.  The  adoption  of  the  convention  of  the  Elimination  of  all  Forms  of  Discrimination

against Women (CEDAW) by the UN in 1979 which generated awareness and led Nigeria to

create the committee on women development as well as setting up the National Commission

for  Women.  (Democratic  Dividends  for  Nigerian  Women  &Children,  report  of  an

accomplishments  of  the  Federal  Ministry  of  Women  Affairs).  The  ministry  created  a

relegated  background  of  women  from  dependence  to  independence,  poverty,  prosperity  as

well as from  primary through secondary to tertiary production. The ministry has worked in

various  spheres  such  as  advocacy,  technical  support i.e. holding  a  catalogue  of  training

workshop/events  in  the  bid  to  build  further  the  capacity  of  various  women  groups  such  as

capacity building efforts were organized single handedly by the ministry in collaboration with

other  developments  in  women  and  children  affairs  ,  empowerment  which  is  also  an

operational tool which has helped the Nigerian women to move forward. Here, the ministry

identifies weak points of women groups and seeks to strengthen them economically, socially

or politically.

The  economic  and  political  empowerment  of  the  Nigeria  women  is  in  different

stages. The ministry went beyond the initial stage which is advocacy to action which involves

various  funding  mechanism  for  economic  growth  of  the  women  such  as  Micro-credit  loan

(WOFEE),  business  and  development  fund  for  women  (BUDFOW).The  UN  convention  on

the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was an important

and significant international response to the rights and demands their inclusion in all spheres


of  national  and  human  development.  Article  1  of  CEDAW  calls  on  government  to  abolish

any  distinction,  exclusion  or  restriction  made  on  the  basis  of  sex  which  has  the  effect  or

purpose  of  impairing  or  nullifying  the  recognition,  enjoyment  or  exercise  by  women,

irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights

and fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.

Although,  Nigeria  has  signed  and  ratified  CEDAW  and  its  optional  protocol,  but,  the

provisions of the treaty enjoy international laws, they are not  yet part of the domestic legal

frameworks (The federal ministry of women affairs and social development).

The Federal  Ministry of  Women Affairs and social  development  beginning with  the

2013  budget,  a  certain  billion  naira  has  been  earmarked  to  cater  for  gender  related

components of the budget in the affected ministries. In an effort to ensure the implementation

of policies and programme by both tiers of government and other stakeholders that represent

Nigeria‘s  regional  and  global  commitments  to  the  welfare  and  development  of  women,

children, persons with disabilities and the elderly. Advocacy was adopted as a strategic tool

which  high-level,  state  advocacy  and  policy  dialogue  with  development  partners,  forum  of

female ministers and special advisers to the president(Federal ministry of women affairs and

social development, 2013 national ministerial platform). The objective of creating the forum

is  to  further  provide  Nigerian  women  in  governance  and  decision  making  with  a  platform,

upon  which  they  can  discuss,  share  ideas,  compare  their  experiences  in  governance  and

strategizing  properly  in  meeting  the  challenges  of  mainstreaming  gender  issues  in  national


The  most  obvious  indication  of  the  popularity  of  this  shift  was  the  international

conference on Images of Motherhood-African and Nordic Perspectives held in Ile de Gorce,

Dakar  Senegal  in  February  2003.  It  was  an  opportunity  to  advance  deconstruction  as  the

opening  statement  by  Mama,  (2003)  indicated  that  motherhood  was  under  theorized  and


invisible in feminist discourse and the gap had to be filled in view of the increasing number

of single parents worldwide. Mama (2003) acknowledged that theorizing motherhood was an

important  part  of  the  African  theoretical  framework.  In  the  conference  summary,  Arnfred

(2003) highlighted other concepts that were under scrutiny: the distinction between wife and

mother,  mothering,  mother  work,  motherhood  and  the  patriarchal  influence  of  colonialism,

the  state  and  religion.  These  concepts  are  radical  because  they  can  resolve  some  of  the

inequalities of the past and present social, economic and political formations as pilots of the

transformation  agenda.  The success  of the transformation  depends on the forms  of feminist

action.  For  example,  the  political  organization  of  social  radicals  in  the  North  of  Nigeria,

NEPU, founded with the objective of fundamentally changing the norms in this conservative

Islamic-ruled  society,  had  represented  a  direct  attack  on  the  status  quo  right  from  its

founding.  With  its  motto  yama(freedom)symbolizing  three  freedoms –political,  economic

and social – it sought at its creation in 1950 within the NPC to fight for the grassroots against

the constraints of the feudal social structure of the emirate system which the British Indirect

Rule system had largely preserved and perpetuated in many ways there.

NEPU‘s  programme  for  local  government  reforms  involved  a  serious  attempt  at

establishing  grassroots  democracy.  Powerful  emirs  and  certain  administrative  officers

regarded  the  NEPU  within  the  NPC  then,  with  its  radicalizing  initiatives,  as  dangerously

radical group and effected the elimination of the radical elements from the NPC at an early

stage.  Their  socially  radical  programme  and  attempts  to  redefine  the  political  culture  and

norms in this Northern Nigerian society in more egalitarian ways directly challenged both the

traditional  rulers  and  the  colonial  authority  who  would  together  continue  to  seek  to

marginalize  NEPU  and  the  radicals.  The  Zikists  in  the  NCNC,  labour  radicals  in  the

Convention People‘s Party (CPP) in the Gold Coast, and other organizations and/or coalitions


of  social  radicals  in  mainstream  organizations,  also  experienced  similar  hostility  and

reactionary measures, including expulsion, by leaders of these parties.

In  the  case  of  women  radicals,  the  narrow  organizational  structures  and  agendas  of

the more mainstream parties with which they went into alliance marginalized them and their

organizations  in  those  parties  and  they  also  failed  to  impact  them  from  within.  The  social

radicals stood outside these more mainstream organizations and parties, then, challenging the

framings  and  narrative  encodings  of  community  and  citizenship  as  constituted  in  the

discursive  practices  of  African  ethno  political  entrepreneurs  who  led  those  parties.  The

radicals  contested  the  differences  among  citizenry  that  were  ordered  by  class,  religion,

gender,  and  other  logics  of  centereness  and  marginalization  inscribed  in  mainstream

construction  of  community  and  notions  of  citizenship.  They  challenged  the  perceived

exploitation  and  patterns  of  domination  and  exclusion  concealed  in  the  use  of  language  of

ethnicity, race, religion, class, etc., by the ethno political entrepreneurs.

The  colonial  social  radicals  stood  in  a  dialectical  relationship  vis-à-vis  the  ethno

political  entrepreneurs and their organizations, but  without negating the  reconstituted social

contradictions of the past or present, or turning contradictions into a dialectical process. They

stood,  rather,  as  the supplementaryspaceof  cultural  signification,  challenging  the  power  of

what  became  the  dominant  discourse,  i.e., the master-discourse,  and  thus  antagonizing  the

power  to  generalize  and  its  tendencies  to  totalize  the  social  in  a  ―homogenous  empty  time.

Colonial  social  radicals  imagined  the  nation  more  in  inclusive  terms  as  a  new  kind  of

community based on citizenship conceived of as a kind of ―fraternity of equals‖ and a ―deep

horizontal comradeship.‖

Women’s movements/organizations in Nigeria continued to value the complementary

of women’s and men’s interests, an idea reflected in the strategy of Nigerian women’s groups


to  demand  reserved  places  for  women  in  political  offices.  The  Abeokuta  market  women

protestsin 1948 came almost two decades after the Aba women riots. Women again revolted

against  colonial  taxes  and  the  failure  of  the  traditional  rulers  to  defend  their  interests  by

challenging the colonial masters. Instead under indirect rule, the Alake of Abeokuta was the

person ultimately responsible for tax collection. Funmilayo Ransome‐Kuti, who, at the time

was head teacher at the Abeokuta Grammar School learned about this women‘s struggle, and

formed  the  Abeokuta  Women‘s  Union  (AWU)  where  the  ‗elite‘  Abeokuta  ladies  joined  in

solidarity with  the market  women of Egba land  to  work together to  find a way to  stop  this

practice  of  excess  and unnecessary  tax  collection.  This  women‘s  group  coordinated  by

Mrs.Funmilayo Ransome‐Kutiwas able to question the character of governance with regard to

the  authoritarian,  arbitrary nature  of  decision‐making  by  the  Sole  Native  Authority  and  the

colonial government. This later grew to a movement that became a string component of the

independence  movement.  Also, through this  development,  women  were  able  to  develop  a

clear voice in questioning the repercussion of existing policies on the quality of life and status

of women. These women used different cultural traditions to threaten the authority in order to

bring the change they so much desired in the status of women.

In  the  case  of  the  Abeokuta  protest,  women  bared  their  bodies  naked  at  the  Oba‘s

palace, an action which was a taboo in Yoruba tradition. This eventually led to the vacation

of the throne by the Alake, though, for a period. It was through this anti‐colonial resistance

struggles  that  the  different  foundations  for  women‘s  emancipation,  equality  and

empowerment  were  initially  laid  such  as  the  formation  of  the  National  Women‘s  Union

(NWU),  the  first  national  women‘s  organization  founded  in  1947.  It  was  also  the  first

women‘s organization in Nigeria with nationwide representation covering all ethnic, religious

and  class  lines.  The  Union  had  prominent  female  leaders  such  as  Margaret  Ekpo  and

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti  who  created  a  political  niche  for  Nigeria  women  through  their


active  roles  in  mainstream  political  movements  and  individual  female

organizations.(Ojikutu,2011: pg. 15).


The project is divided into six  chapters, the first consists of the introductory aspects

of  the  project  which  includes  the  background,  statement  of the  problem,  objectives  of  the

study,  research  methodology,  significance  of  the  study,  scope  and  limitation,  definition  of

terms,  literature  review  and  chapterisation.  Chapter  two  comprises  of  the  legal,  policy

institutional  framework  aspect  of  the  project.  Chapter  three  is  on  gender  issues  in  Nigeria,

development  of  feminism  and  women  organization,  Women‘s  Empowerment  and  National

Integration, women participation in political process in Nigeria, Chapter four discusses about

Gender  equality  in  Nigeria  such as  Issues  of  discrimination  against  women  in  Nigeria,

Violence  and  Abuses  against  Women  in  Nigeria.  The  fifth  Chapter  discusses  the  United

Nations‘ Challenges in promoting gender equality in Nigeria under which UN and women‘s

issues, of the U.N on Women Right in Nigeria and so on will be discussed. The last chapter

has to do with conclusion of the research work.


Cambridge (2009): Longman dictionary of contemporary English: Fourth edition (2002).

Federal  Ministry  of  Women  Affairs (2005): Democratic  Dividends  for  Nigerian  Women

&Children, report of an accomplishment of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

Livio (2005): English dictionary: second edition

Ojikutu  O.  (2011,pg.  15): Women  and  the  Nation,  Sokari  Yoruba  Women  in  the



The federal ministry of women affairs and social development (2012.): The empowerment of

rural  women  and  their  role  in  poverty  and  hunger  eradication,  development  and

current challenges: A selection of best practices in Nigeria.

The  government  of  Nigeria  (2011): Progress  report  on  the  implementation  of  the  African

Union solemn declaration on gender equality in Nigeria.

WANEP: West African Network for Peace building, Nigeria: Gender and Conflict Prevention

(2009): An Early Warning Training Manual, Ibadan: John Archers Publishers ltd.

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