Women Empowerment

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Education: A catalyst for women empowerment

James A Ojob



Education: A catalyst for Women Empowerment in Nigeria
James A Ojobo*

This paper examines the place of education as a catalyst for women empowerment in Nigeria. The paper, using primary and secondary sources of data, has shown that in spite of all the laudable goals and objectives of education, Nigerian women still suffer a lot of constraints and inhibitions which militate against their personal and national development. The paper therefore recommends, among others, the involvement of women in educational policy formulation, extensive enlightenment campaigns, the discarding of stereotypical division of work into men’s and women’s job, and women must organize themselves to meet the challenges of a positive and meaningful role in the struggle for personal and national emancipation, development and progress.

INTRODUCTION In all countries of the world, education is recognized as the cornerstone for sustainable development.. It is a fulcrum around which the quick development of economic, political, sociological and human resources of any country resolves. In fact, the (Nigeria’s) National Policy on Education (1981:6) indicates that education is the greatest investment that the nation can make for the quick development of its economic, political, Having recognized education as “an instrument per-excellence for effective national development” as well as “a

dynamic instrument of change,” it is also the basis for the full promotion and improvement of the status of women. Education empowers women by improving their living standard. It is the starting point for women’s advancement in different fields of human endeavor. It is the basic tool that should be given to women in order to fulfill their role as full members of the society (Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies, 1985). In fact, the educational empowerment of Nigerian women is the spring board to every other form of empowerment (political, social, economic etc).


* (Associate Professor): Department of Development Management Institute of Public Management and Development Studies Ethiopian Civil Service College Addis Ababa Ethiopia. E-mail drjaojobo@yahoo.com

Ethiop. J. Educ. & Sc.

vol. 4 No. 1 September, 2008


As citizens of this great nation who form a great percentage of the population, women in Nigeria are expected to contribute their quota to the development of their country. For individual and national development, it is crucial that girls and female adults should acquire or have formal education. Unfortunately, a cursory look at the pattern of women’s involvement in education in Nigeria reveals abysmal low levels. In spite of all the laudable goals and objectives of education, Nigerian women still suffer a lot of constraints and inhibitions which militate against their personal and national development. As much as 61% of the Nigerian Women’s 44 million population (1991 Census) suffer from intellectual poverty (Ojuolape, 2000). Early history of education in Nigeria showed that women lacked easy access to formal education. By 1965, 37.7% of pupils in primary schools were girls while only 9% of under-graduates were female students (Sanni, 2001). The figure rose to 25.5% by 1974 and the students were mainly enrolled in such courses as teaching and the Social Sciences. The available figures indicate that the total full time enrolment of females in the University stood at 50,652 as against male population of 138,334 in 1992 (Federal Office of Statistics, Abuja, 1994). It is also remarkable and significant to note that the early educational curriculum was designed to train women as teachers, nurses, and clerks. They were not in medicine, politics, engineering, law and environmental studies (Achume, 2004). This obviously resulted in shortage of qualified women for top level leadership posts. In...
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