Introduction – Women Discrimination in Nigeria
Discrimination against women is defined by Article 1 of the United Nations Conventions on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women of 1979 (CEDAW) as “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 sex of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” This document is a landmark convention and the most important normative instrument that aims to achieve equal rights for women everywhere in the world. The Nigerian government became a state party to this convention when it ratified it in 1985 without reservations and signed the optional protocol in 2000. As defined by CEDAW, discrimination is symptomatic of a situation where patterns of structural inequality are maintained by rules, norms and procedures that dictate a subordinate role for women in all spheres of society. This call for an end to all forms of discrimination against women emphasizes the need for a radical redefinition of the process and content of economic, social and political development. It stresses the need for a holistic orientation which acknowledges the role of women in development and engineers their integration into development processes as equal partners with men. Our evaluation of discrimination against women shall be focused on women and inheritance, especially in Igbo community, South East of Nigeria; without losing sight on other forms of women discrimination in Nigeria. Discrimination affects women’s political and civil rights. Despite international, regional and domestic protections, discrimination persists in Nigeria. The persistence is due to structural and ideological factors. Nigeria is a traditionally patriarchal society. Mode of socialisation, religion and culture are created by and/or influenced by patriarchal systems that tend to subordinate women and reinforce gender discriminations. Male dominant elements of Nigeria society remain strong.
Constitutional Rights & Livelihoods
Generally speaking, situation assessment of the Nigeria society reveals the consequences of gender discriminations. This varies from employment to culture, health issues especially as it relates to HIV/AIDS among others. In Industrial sector – 11% participation by women compared to 30% for men. Mining and Quarrying – 0%. Federal Civil Service: 76% (men), 24% (women); In Management positions, only 14% (women). Service Sector (predominantly informal and unregulated forms of employment) 87% (women). Medical field: 17.5% (women), 82.5% (men). Because of gender roles that assume that men are bread winners, tax benefits related to child care are restrictively granted to male workers. Gender based norms and social roles prescribed for women (e.g. household tasks) do not diminish even when women engage in paid employment; thus prevents their mobility and self advancement. Reproductive roles, though very important, may deter women from taking advantages of opportunities to advance careers. Feminization of poverty. Lower income purchasing power (USD614) as compared to (USD1, 495) for males. Women dominate the unregulated informal sector but not adequately represented in the National Accounting System (NAS). These disparities impact on the capacity of women to contribute to the economic growth of the country. Access and affordability are major issues for women. HIV infection rate among females (20 -24 years) is put at 5.6 %. 60% of new infections are among young women (15 – 25 years). High maternal mortality ratio at 740 per 100,000 live births, Factors that perpetuate inequalities include transactional sex, lack of access to information and services; and the HIV/AIDS burden of care. Contradictory provisions in the legal system...
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