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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis

Oriji Sunday Athoney, Ukwa Christopher Nwambam
American Journal of Educational Research. 2018, 6(12), 1618-1624. DOI: 10.12691/education-6-12-5
Received October 12, 2018; Revised November 20, 2018; Accepted December 10, 2018

Abstract

Women all over the world play significant and prominent roles in all spheres of human life. The natural potentials possessed by women including their numerical strength had placed them to occupy strategic positions in most African societies. Among over 160 million Nigerians, women like their male counterpart have contributed unquantifiable in many aspects of national development such as politics, peace building, human recourse development, economic resourcefulness, and home managers. Despite all the roles of women in national development, women are still relegated to the background in many ways suffer all sorts of deprivation and humiliation. A woman for change initiative policy was put in place to address women neglect in Nigeria with a view to restoration of women dignity and pride of place in nation building.

1. Background to the Study

Women globally occupy strategic positions in all strata of human endeavors. Outside their numerical strength, women possess great potentials necessary for socio-economic, cultural and political development of a polity. At present in Nigeria, out of the total population of over 140 million Nigerians, women have quite significant number and have played prominent roles as mothers, politicians, bankers, foreign envoys, local and international sporting events etc. Nigeria women like their counterparts in other countries of the world have contributed in no small measures to the development of all the sectors of Nigerian economy, yet more of their potentials are yet to be tapped. Women as put forward by Awe 1 are great builders of peace and stability and strong instrument for coordinating both material and human resources for the overall benefits of their families and mankind in general.

But women all over the world suffer one form of deprivation and discriminations without recourse to equality of mankind.

1.1. Statement of Problem

Women occupy a prime place in the history of mankind. They have also been identified as special species for promoting national development, but despite their contributions and initiatives to the societal development progression, women are still relegated to the background in virtually all works of life. In the old and even in the contemporary societies, women are regarded as mere instrument for procreation, production of agro-based products.

Against this background, Nigerian women have been clamoring for women freedom through many platforms set up by organized women bodies and offices of first ladies. One of such programmes for promotion of women empowerment in Nigeria is women for change initiative being the brain child of Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan designed to address the issues of place of women in national development.

1.2. Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this research include:

To examine the role of women in national development

To establish that women occupy pride of place in Nation building and other forms of development.

To find out why women are still relegated to background in the scheme of things.

To find out those factors militating against women effective participation in societal events.

To put suggestions on how to improve women empowerment strategies in Nigeria using women for change Initiative Policy.

1.3. Significance of the Study

This includes categories of persons or groups to benefit from this research.

Organized women bodies of Nigeria will benefit

Policy – makers will use the research result in policy formulation

Academic institutions or a relevant institution stands to benefit.

1.4. Research Questions

In the light of the above objectives, the following research questions were considered important.

Why is that women roles are not adequately recognized in the socio-economic and political development of the country?

Why are women still being discriminated against in Nigeria?

What factors account for the neglect of women roles in National Development?

What should be done to enhance women positions in national matters?

1.5. Statement of Hypothesis

The following will guide the research work.

Ho1: There is significance relationship between Women for change Initiative Policy and the roles of women in National Development.

Ho2:There is no significance relationship between Women for change Initiative Policy and the relegation of women in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

1.6. Significance of the Study

This includes categories of persons or groups to benefit from this research.

Organized women bodies of Nigeria will benefit

Policy – makers will use the research result in policy formulation

Academic institutions or a relevant institution stands to benefit.

1.7. Limitations of the Study

Limitations includes: Inadequate resources, time, Ignorance in course of data collection.

1.8. Scope of the Study

The study scope of this research is Women for change Initiative Policy: A study of Ebonyi State Chapter. The chapter was chosen because it was one of the States where the Initiative was launched first.

2. Review of Related Literature

This chapter will present a review of scholarly works carried in the past on women empowerment, particularly on Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria.

Women empowerment has been written and commented about in so many scholarly journals and texts. Umar 2 began to note that women in the past, even now were valued not for what they are or potential in them, but for their services, submissiveness and at best for their beauty. Ezeigbo quoted in yayaya 3 opined that most Nigerian women labour under stress and they are overwhelmed by responsibilities created by the society and not women themselves.

According to Okorie 4, past administration under the offices of first ladies have launched women projects such as Better life for Rural Women Programme (BLRW) and Family Support Programme (FSP) to better the lots of Nigeria women.

2.1. Theoretical Framework

The framework adopted by this research work is the group theory. The adoption of this theory is informed by the postulation of Arthur Bentley who posits that every society or organization consists of different and divergent groups which are always in constant struggle for the protection of group interests. Essentially, decision making process of every society is greatly influenced by the interplay of the government and women on policy matters that affect them directly and otherwise.

The 21st century events have proved with sufficient evidence that women are capable of holding leadership positions as men. According to Okeke 5, Women naturally have been described as weak vessel, feeble minded, home manager, emotional being, man’s helper, wealth preserver. But on the contrary, women are not as envisaged and labeled by men counterpart. This is proven in the women personalities like Margret Thatcher (Iron Lady) the former Prime Minister of Britain, Indira Ghandi – former Prime Minister of India Queen Elizabeth II of England, Ellen Johnson Sir Leaf President of Liberia. In Nigeria, such women include; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Late Professor Dora Akunuili, Dr. Ndii Okereke Onyiuke. These women have distinguished themselves in leadership, politics and administration of Nigeria.

Olaleye 6 argued that the status of women and the need to integrate them into the development process of any nation have formed core debates and discussion both at national and international conferences and workshops. Nigeria women are still relegated to the background as the lack education, economic and political power necessary to realize their innate potentials. Ifedili (2012), cited in Ovute 7 observes that Nigeria women are stalled by culture which made them very vulnerable to effectively join the workforce and to contribute to economy and national development.

The history of development shows that nations are usually established by the collective efforts of men and women. No nation can develop effectively unless women are fully involved to take up responsibilities and work collectively with men towards the political and socio-economic development of the country. In the words of Ovute 7, time has come when women should be fully integrated into the scheme of things for national development.

Challenging Factors to Women Participation in National Development.

The introduction of women for change initiative policy was a clarion effort by the then first Lady, Dem Patience Goodluck Jonathan to address numerous problems confronting women hood in Nigeria and to bring them to lime light into the socio-political and economic development of the country. Women in Nigeria are disadvantaged specie with high level of discrimination against them and obnoxious traditions, habits and practices which inhibit their progress and active participation in national affairs.

Despite numerous contributions made by Nigeria women to national development, they have remained constrained in their efforts to play their roles effectively in national development. Agu 8, blamed the colonial masters for setting bad precedence for weakening the roles and influence of women in Nigeria.

Problems Militating against Women Participation in National Development include:

(1) Illiteracy:

Illiteracy is a serious problem to both developing and developed societies. Ainabor and Ovbiagele 9 noted that education is very basic to any person’s ability to maximize any opportunity, but unfortunately the problem of gender disparity in Nigeria educational development had remained the basic constraint to women development.

(2) Culture and Traditions:

Various cultural practices and traditions restrict Nigeria women to domestic activities.

(3) Sex Stereotype:

Socialization process in Nigeria train people to believe that certain roles are played by a particular sex. Some competitions are discouraged between men and women folk. Yomi 10 observed that partrilineal system of descent in which generations are identified through their male offspring is an inhibiting factor to women development.

(4) Poor Participation in Political Activities:

The level of women participation in political matters in Nigeria is still at it lowest ebb. Okemakinde 11 noted that women do not see themselves as viable instruments of political participation and national development.

2.2. Empirical Review

This stage of the research reviewed the work already carried out on the topic Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: Its implications to research and development in the third world.

The Authors: Ugwu, S.C. & Nwori B.C.

The paper after the introduction focused on historical background of women status. The philosophies of the policy were discussed. Such objectives include:

(1) Reduction of Nigeria women political timidity through adequate education and sensitization.

(2) Encouraging Nigeria women to offer their time, talent and support to nation building.

(3) Facilitating international agreement for liberation of women and child right in Nigeria.

(4) Championing revision of inimical laws to welfare and peaceful existence of women.

(5) Reaching out to the less privileged and lifting the down trodden in Nigeria, particularly women and children.

Again, achievements of the Women for Change Initiative Policy (WCI) were noted by the authors. Problems militating against successful implementation were also discussed, recommendations were made and conclusion.

3. GAP in Knowledge

Though Ugwu, S.C and Nwori, B.C wrote on women for change initiative policy, but there were some identified areas of differences with the current study.

(1) Ugwu and Nwori’s study on women for change initiative policy (wfci) was conducted in 2013 which has need for update to accommodate current issues on the subject matter.

(2) Their research centered on the implication of the policy on research and development in the 3rd world, while the current study used Ebonyi State wing as a study group.

4. Research Methodolgy

4.1. Research Design

The research designs adopted by the researcher are Survey design and empirical research approach. While the Survey Approach Studies the representative of the study population, the empirical research approach shall deal with the already existing studies or data carried out by other researchers on the subject matter.

4.2. Area of Study

The area of study of this research shall be the women empowerment in Nigeria with special focus on policies and Programmes directed at alleviating women problems in the country.

4.3. Population of the Study

The population of this study covers organized women bodies in the thirteen local government areas of Ebonyi State and women of not Ebonyi Origin resident in the State.

4.4. Sample and Sampling Technique

In a bid to come up with good prediction of population, this study will adopt random sampling technique in the determination of the ample size. The use of random sampling technique is necessitated by the fact every member of the population has equal chance of being selected. It is not possible to get the opinions or perceptions of all the members of the population. Yoyo Yamani formula will be adopted in determining the sample size.

Where n = Sample size

N = population size

e = Level of Significance =5% =0.05

I = Constant.

4.5. Instrument for Data Collection

This research will make use of the following instruments for data collection: Structured questionnaire, oral interview and empirical data collected from scholarly articles and bulletins.

4.6. Source of Data

The two categories of this research work include:

Primary source of data: These include raw information elicited from the respondents directly through the use of structured questionnaire and oral interview.

Secondary source: This comprise of already exiting information or literature which are relevant to the study of the subject matter. Such sources include: text books, journals, Bulletins and reports.

4.7. Validity and Reliability of the Study

The research instrument used in this study shall be validated using the content validity approach. Expert in the department of public administration also criticized the instrument and all the corrections and inputs made were carefully affected. On reliability the questionnaire was administered on the population at intervals of period and the data generated proved the same.

4.8. Method of Data Analysis

The data generated from the use questionnaire shall be analyzed and the hypothesis tested using Chi – Square (X2) as the Statistical technique. Based on the analysis, the hypotheses are either accepted or rejected.

4.9. Summary

Women empowerment and the issue of women liberation have been issues that have created a lot concern to social science experts and practitioners. A lot of debates still ravage social science literature as to the position and place of women in socio-economic and political stead of Nigeria.

In this light, many women organizations, including the women for change initiative policy to carter for women problems and advancement in the country.

5. Data Presentation, Analysis and Summary

In this chapter, all the data and information gathered relating to the subject matter were formally presented and analyzed in tables as shown hereunder. All responses of strongly agreed and agreed, strongly disagreed and disagreed were pulled together respectively and their percentages calculated. Thereafter, each table was analyzed and relevant conclusion drawn.

In Ebonyi north zone of the state, Izzi and Ohaukwu L.G.As were selected. 140 people comprising 30 women, 60 civil servants and 50 politicians with 46.7% out of the 300 population were randomly selected for the study. In Ebonyi central zone, Ishielu and Ezza North LGAs were selected. 70 respondents (23.3%) made up of 20 women, 35 civil servants and 15 politicians were selected for the research. While in Ebonyi South, Ohaozara and Ivo LGAs were selected for the study.

Distribution of Questionnaire on Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria.

Out of the 300 questionnaires distributed to the respondents selected from the six local government areas of three zones of Ebonyi State, 290 of were duly completed and returned, while ten questionnaires were not returned as shown in Table 2.

Research Question 1: What are the roles of women in national development?

Analysis: From Table 3, 65 respondents representing 22.4% of the sampled population strongly agreed that child bearing and domestic responsibilities are the major roles of women in Nigeria, 45 respondents (15.5%) agreed to that assertion. 126 respondents, representing 43.4% strongly disagreed to that notion, while 54 persons (18.6%) also disagreed.

In item 2, 83 respondents (28.6%) strongly agreed that women only engage in farm/vocational activities, 37 of them representing (12.7%) equally agreed to that notion. On the contrary, 107(36.8%) strongly disagreed with the statement, while 63 respondents (21.7%) disagreed to such assertion.

Item 3 showed that 23 respondents (7.9%) strongly agreed that women should only engage in civil service works, 4 persons (1.3%) just agreed. On the other hand, 211respondents (72.7%) strongly disagreed, while 52 persons (17.9%) in the vein disagreed to that assertion that women only engage in civil service jobs alone.

Lastly, item 4 clearly showed that 45 respondents (15.5%) strongly agreed that political activities at local and national levels are the roles of Nigeria women in national development, 34 respondents (11.7%) also agreed to the notion. 132 respondents (45.5%) strongly disagreed, while 79 persons (27.2%) equally disagreed to that assertion.

Research Question 2: Why are women roles not adequately recognized in socio-political development of Nigeria?

Analysis: Table 4, 230 respondents representing 79.3% agreed that women are regarded by men while 60% persons (20.7%) disagreed to that assertion. Item 2, 233 respondents (80.4%) agreed that women are not resourceful as men folk while 59.7 (19.6%) disagree.

Item 3, 222 respondents (76.5%) agreed that women are not intellectually endowed as their men counterparts whereas 68 respondents (23.5%) disagreed.

In item 4, 247 respondents (85.2%) agreed that women cannot withstand challenging task in the society while 43 respondents (14.8%) disagreed with the assertion.

Research Question 3: Why are women still being discriminated against in Nigeria?

Analysis: Table 5, item one showed that 278 respondents (95.9%) agreed that age-long cultural and traditional practices are reasons why women are being discriminated against in Nigeria; 12 persons (4.1%) disagreed to that assertion.

Item two, 271 respondents (93.4%) were in agreement that sex stereotype that certain tasks are only done by males while 19 persons (6.6%) disagreed.

Item 3 indicated that 248 respondents (85.5%) agreed that lack of courage affect Nigeria women in performing some tasks, while 42 persons (14.5%) disagreed to that assertion. In item 4, 274 respondents (94.4%) agreed that high level apathy affect women roles in political activities in Nigeria, while 16 (5.6%) respondents objected to that notion.

Research Question 4: What factors account for the neglect of women in national development?

Analysis: Table 6, 256 respondents (88.2%) agreed that women position as second fiddle to men account for their negligent in national development while 34 people (11.8%) kicked against the assertion.

Item 2, 256 respondents (88.3%) were in the agreement that ignorance on the part of third world states account for women negligent in national development while 34 respondents disagreed.

In item three, 261 respondents (90%) agreed that superstitious beliefs in Africa political system contribute to women neglect, whereas 29 (10%) of them disagreed completely.

Lastly, 242 responds (83.4%) agreed that men domineering influence on women folk affect their involvement in national development, while 48 respondents (4.5%) disagreed to such submission.

Research Question 5: What should be done to enhance women positions in national discourse?

In item 2, 259 respondents (89.3%) agreed that all artificial barriers should be removed while 31 respondents (10.7%) disagreed with such arrangement. (Table 7)

Item 3, 255 respondents (87.8%) agreed that that government should float policy centered on gender balance while 47 of them (1.2%) were not in support of such arrangement.

Finally, item 4 has 289 respondents (99.6%) were agreed that women on their own should brace up with challenges of the time with whole lots of determination and courage while only one respondents disagreed to that notion.

6. Discussion of Findings

The findings of the research are as follows:

1) The women have child bearing/domestic work as their major responsibilities;

2) It was established that farming and vocational words, civilian service and politics are not the only activities of women;

3) That women are weaker vessels, not resourceful as men not intellectually powerful as men counterpart and they cannot withstand challenges as men folk;

4) That women in Nigeria are still being discriminated against as a result of age-long cultural practices, sex stereotype, and lack of courage by women to perform some task and high level of apathy on the side of women.

5) That women position as second fiddle, ignorance, superstitious beliefs and men domineering influence on women account for the neglect of women on national development.

6) The research recommended that enabling legislatives should be enacted to enhance women positions in national issues. Government should remove artificial barriers on women, promotion policy centered on gender balance and that women should brace up with the challenges of the contemporary time.

7. Conclusion

The need to promote women oriented policy cannot be over-emphasized in every democratic setting so as to develop their potentials for overall national development. In a bid to promote the place of women in Nigeria, the policy of women for change initiative was put in place to create awareness forum to assist women realize their potentials, which would enable them contribute meaningfully to national development. Problems inhibiting women active participation in national activities were discussed.

8. Recommendations

In order to promote women activism in national development. The following recommendations are put forward:

1) Awareness campaign should be created to enhance women activism in all political and socio-economic matters.

2) All artificial and institutional barriers based on culture, religion or traditions should be removed.

3) Government should promote policy centered on gender balance in education, politics and social issues.

4) Ministry of women affairs should wake up to their challenges to ensure that women are not robbed off their rightful positions and authorities.

5) Women should on their own try to break the barriers through determination, perseverance, solidarity and desire to conquer natural challenges.

References

[1]  Awe, B. (1990), The Role of Women in Management in the 90’s. Journal Management in Nigeria.
In article      
 
[2]  Umar, F. A. (2014), State of Women's Empowerment and Community Perception in Rural Pakistan (A Case Study of Malakand Division) Asian Journal Of Empirical Research. Journal homepage: http://aessweb.com/journal-detail.php?id=5004, Retrieved: 14th June, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[3]  Yayaya, A. L. (1999), Women Empowerment in Nigeria: Problems, Prospects and Implications for counseling. The Counselor (Journal) by the Departments of Guidance and Counseling, University of Ilorin.
In article      
 
[4]  Okorie, C.O. (2008), Gender Roles in Politics: Nigerian Experience. Journal Of Politics and Administration. Published by the Department of Political Science, Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo.
In article      
 
[5]  Okeke, C (2010), Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Nigeria, Akataenwere Press.
In article      
 
[6]  Olaleye, F.O. (2008), Empowering Women through Education. In M Boucouvalas and R.Aderioye (eds) Education for Millenium Development. Essays in honour of Prof. Michael Omolewa.
In article      
 
[7]  Ovute, A.O. (2015), Empowering Nigerian Women for National Development: State of the Arts, Challenges and Prospects. Umudike, Journal of Research in Business Management. Vol 3 (1). www.questjournals.org.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Agu, S. (2007), Gender equality, Education and Women Empowerment: The Nigerian challenge. Multi-Disciplinary Journal of Research Development.
In article      
 
[9]  Ainabor, A. E. and Obiagele, A.I.O. (2006), Women Education in Nigeria: Implications for Socio-economic Development. Journal of Academics, Vol1 (1).
In article      
 
[10]  Yomi, M.K. (2007), Women: The disadvantaged specie, Ibadan, third World Information Services Publishers.
In article      
 
[11]  Okemakinde, T. (2014) Women Education: Implication for National Development in Nigeria: European Journal of Globalization and Development Research. Vol9 (1).
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2018 Oriji Sunday Athoney and Ukwa Christopher Nwambam

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Oriji Sunday Athoney, Ukwa Christopher Nwambam. Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 6, No. 12, 2018, pp 1618-1624. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/6/12/5
MLA Style
Athoney, Oriji Sunday, and Ukwa Christopher Nwambam. "Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis." American Journal of Educational Research 6.12 (2018): 1618-1624.
APA Style
Athoney, O. S. , & Nwambam, U. C. (2018). Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis. American Journal of Educational Research, 6(12), 1618-1624.
Chicago Style
Athoney, Oriji Sunday, and Ukwa Christopher Nwambam. "Evaluation of Women for Change Initiative Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis." American Journal of Educational Research 6, no. 12 (2018): 1618-1624.
Share
[1]  Awe, B. (1990), The Role of Women in Management in the 90’s. Journal Management in Nigeria.
In article      
 
[2]  Umar, F. A. (2014), State of Women's Empowerment and Community Perception in Rural Pakistan (A Case Study of Malakand Division) Asian Journal Of Empirical Research. Journal homepage: http://aessweb.com/journal-detail.php?id=5004, Retrieved: 14th June, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[3]  Yayaya, A. L. (1999), Women Empowerment in Nigeria: Problems, Prospects and Implications for counseling. The Counselor (Journal) by the Departments of Guidance and Counseling, University of Ilorin.
In article      
 
[4]  Okorie, C.O. (2008), Gender Roles in Politics: Nigerian Experience. Journal Of Politics and Administration. Published by the Department of Political Science, Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo.
In article      
 
[5]  Okeke, C (2010), Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Nigeria, Akataenwere Press.
In article      
 
[6]  Olaleye, F.O. (2008), Empowering Women through Education. In M Boucouvalas and R.Aderioye (eds) Education for Millenium Development. Essays in honour of Prof. Michael Omolewa.
In article      
 
[7]  Ovute, A.O. (2015), Empowering Nigerian Women for National Development: State of the Arts, Challenges and Prospects. Umudike, Journal of Research in Business Management. Vol 3 (1). www.questjournals.org.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Agu, S. (2007), Gender equality, Education and Women Empowerment: The Nigerian challenge. Multi-Disciplinary Journal of Research Development.
In article      
 
[9]  Ainabor, A. E. and Obiagele, A.I.O. (2006), Women Education in Nigeria: Implications for Socio-economic Development. Journal of Academics, Vol1 (1).
In article      
 
[10]  Yomi, M.K. (2007), Women: The disadvantaged specie, Ibadan, third World Information Services Publishers.
In article      
 
[11]  Okemakinde, T. (2014) Women Education: Implication for National Development in Nigeria: European Journal of Globalization and Development Research. Vol9 (1).
In article