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Human rights are rights that have come to be guaranteed over time, to all men and

women, irrespective of race or creed. These rights extend to even the unborn, in

certain circumstances. However, in many societies, women are subject to

discriminatory tendencies in the form of laws, policies and practices that derogate

from their human rights, simply became of their gender.

Many international instruments have been put in place to stem these negative

tendencies, especially through the works of the United Nations Educational,

Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Labour

Organization (I.L.O)

In Nigeria, for instance, women tend to suffer inequalities in the social, political ,

economic and cultural fields. This is notwithstanding the fact that there are formal

provisions on the statute books that guarantees equality to all before the law.

As the ‘grundnorm,’ all the Constitution made for Nigeria with their fundamental

rights provisions envisage equality of all citizens, whether male or female. The

Thesis finds that the envisaged equality is at best formal and not actual, even

though the country is a party to international conventions and instruments that

provide for equal enjoyment of human rights by both genders.

Some laws, cultural practices and traditions have been fingered in restricting and

derogating from the enjoyment of basic rights by women. This thesis sets out to


identify derogations from women’s rights, its effects and proffer suggestions on

how to curtail these gustative tendencies, with particular reference to Nigeria.




Women are connected to other human beings through the biologically based activities of

pregnancy, breast-feeding and heterosexual intercourse¹. However, throughout history, women

have had to struggle against direct and indirect barriers to their self-development and their full

participation in social, political, economic and cultural activities of different societies.

Discrimination against women starts at birth, in the discriminatory

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