The Role Of Women Education In Promoting Healthy Society In Developing Society

Health Education Project Material

The Role Of Women Education In Promoting Healthy Society In Developing Society


Chapter One


Introduction

Background of the Study

Education in its broadest perspective is the lifelong learning, both formal and informal, which aims at equipping the individual effectively with acceptable skills, knowledge, attitudes and competences that will enable him/her to cope favorably with the problems of the society. It is one of the main keys to economic development and improvements in human welfare. As global economic competition grows deeper, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage, closely linked to economic growth, and a way for countries to attract jobs and investment. In addition, education appears to be one of the key determinants of lifetime earnings. Countries therefore, frequently see raising educational attainment as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation.

In developing countries, education is also linked to a whole batch of indicators of human development. Unfortunately, the potential contribution of women in education is undervalued and underutilized (Onyishi, 2007). In Nigeria, there had been several developmental initiatives in the sector since 1960; however, the standard has been degrading instead of getting better (Norah & Ihensekhien, 2009). In view of the crucial role of women in molding individuals from birth and throughout human lifecycle, there is no way a country can achieve development without the participation of women in government. It is not just the participation of women in government that is the necessary solution, but having women in decision making positions. In many countries of the world, the contributions of women were not being recognized until when the United Nations (UN) declared the Decade of Women (1976-1985), making it mandatory on governments to focus on issues of women as an integral component of national development (Lawson, 2008).

Women’s education can be regarded as a kind of knowledge given to women for enhancing their self-respect and self-dignity. This knowledge can be in form of formal, non-formal and informal education, it can also be in form of adult education, community development, workshops, seminars, conferences and training. Women’s education is for making women to become economically independent and self-reliant (Lawson, 2008). Women as mothers, are educators within their families, what they learn, they pass on to their children and their future generations (Lawson, 2008).

Education for women is a development priority due to the dynamic potential of educated women. Therefore, the main objectives for women’s education are as follows:

  1. To enable women to improve their family’s health and diet.
  2. To increase women’s productive ability, thus raising their families’ standard of living.
  3. To give women access to appropriate technologies, management of cooperatives and the use of loan facilities.
  4. To improve women’s social and culture status.
  5. To enable women to discharge their responsibilities more effectively
  6. Helping women to fight their own fears and feelings of inadequacy or inferiority.
  7. Educating women in all round development. That is mentally, socially, physically, psychologically, religiously and economically.
  8. To make women participate fully in all the affairs of their nation and to be at centre of sustainable development.
  9. To make women able to acquire their own basic needs of the society, like food, shelter, fuel, clothes and nurturing.
  10. To enhance nation building in terms of economic and human development.

Since Nigeria has joined the rest of the world to allow women to participate fully in the society; from going to school to doing formal jobs, she has witnessed a remarkable improvement in educational sector and the workplace (Anugwom, 2009). The Federal Government of Nigeria has also fully embraced some of the resolutions of these conferences and has in the past ten years or so appointed women generally into some decision making positions such as Ministers, Special Advisers, Director Generals, etc. To this effect, this study is set to investigate the role of women of education in the development of Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state.


Statement of the Problem

The current wave of globalization has greatly improved the lives of women worldwide, particularly the lives of women in the developing world. Nevertheless, women remain disadvantaged in many areas of life, including education, employment, health, and civil rights. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank, 57 percent of the 72 million primary school aged children who do not attend school are females. Additionally, girls are four percent less likely than boys to complete primary schools (Gender statistics, 2010). While many gains have been made with regards to overall level of education worldwide and more children than ever are now attending primary school (King, 2013), there is still not world-wide gender parity in education. In every income bracket, there are more female children than male children who are not attending school. Generally, girls in the poorest 20 percent of household have the lowest chance of getting an education (Jensen, 2010). This inequality does not necessarily change in adulthood.

Statistics show that of the 774 million illiterate adults worldwide, 64 percent are women – a statistic virtually unchanged from the early 1990s (Herz & Gene, 2004). The United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to promote gender equality and empower women therefore uses education as its target and the measure of gender disparity in education as its indicator of progress. Through the efforts of the international community, the UN hopes to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education in all levels of education no later than 2015. What a lofty target to realize!

There are still 58 million girls worldwide who are not in school. The majority of these girls live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. A girl growing up in a poor family in sub-Saharan Africa has less than a one-in-four chance of getting a secondary education. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to get as many girls as boys into primary and secondary school by 2005 is likely to be missed in more than 75 countries. Nigeria is still among the nations facing many challenges in reaching that target by 2015 as well bridging gender gap in primary and secondary education. It is imperative to say that education plays a particularly important role as a foundation for girls’ development towards adult life. At the time ensuring gender equality requires adapting equally to the needs and interests of girls and boys. International human rights law lays down a threefold set of criteria where by girls should have an equal right to education, equal right in education and their equal rights should be protected and promoted through education (Akmam, 2002).

Gender inequality in education is extreme. Girls are less likely to access school, to remain in school or to achieve in education. Despite almost 30 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and 20years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), today girls make up around 56 per cent of the 77 million children not in school, and women make up two thirds of the adults who are illiterate. Even girls who do enroll in school may have irregular attendance due to other demands on them, and the fact that their education may not be prioritized. Girls are more likely to repeat years, to drop out early and to fail key subjects, and in most countries girls are less likely to complete the transition to secondary schooling. Inequality in society inevitably has an impact on the provision and content of education. Hence, the need to examine and address the issues surrounding poor education of women in our society cannot be overemphasized.


Purpose of the Study

The intent of this study is to examine the role of women education in Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state. The study will specifically investigate:

  1. The challenges of women education in the area under study.
  2. The extent to which women are venturing into tertiary education in the area under study.
  3. The benefit of women education in the area under study.
  4. The role of women education in the area under study.

Significance of the Study

Theoretically, this will throw more light on the existing literature with regard to the place of women education in developmental processes and the extent to which women are embracing educational ventures.

It will be of great help to students and researchers who may want to investigate issues relating to women education. This work will also serve as a working document to women community-based organizations and other established women organizations that are interested in improving the status of women.

This study will provide Nigerian women with the fundamental reliability and understanding of the women and access to education in Enugu state, thereby keeping them abreast on the mechanisms suitable for the promotion of gender equality in economic and political participation.

This work will also be more beneficial to women, especially those who are aspiring for political positions.

This work will serve as a basis for building structures that will promote the aspirations of women on gender equality in political participation.

This research work will also be beneficial to policy makers in general, thereby including more women into the decision making process.

If findings of this study are implemented, it will help to restore confidence in women, thereby building a sense of belonging in them to collaborate with their male counterpart in driving the economy of the state.

This work will produce data, which will enhance the understanding of major challenges confronting women and education pursuits in developmental processes and the best strategies for eliminating the constraints. Based on this, governmental and non-governmental organizations would be able to mount effective policies and empowerment programmes that would be beneficial to women and the world in general.

This research work will equally serve as a good reading material for all those who seek knowledge, especially those who desire to enrich their knowledge on the issue concern women education and developmental strive.


Scope of the Study

The study was specifically carried out in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area and did not extent to geographical areas. The study generally examined the role of women education in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State. It is limited to investigating:

  1. The challenges of women education in the area under study.
  2. The extent to which women are venturing into tertiary education in the area under study.
  3. The benefit of women education in the area under study.
  4. The role of women education in the area under study.

Research Question

This study will be guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the challenges of women education in the area under study?
  2. To what extent are women venturing into tertiary education in the area under study?
  3. What are the benefits of women education in the area under study?
  4. What are the roles of women education in the area under study?

Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter dealt with the concluding part of the research work and it is structured in the following ways: discussion of findings, educational implications of the study, summary of the study, recommendations, conclusion and suggestions for further studies


Discussion of Findings

Research question one which was analysed on table 1 found that the challenges of women education in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State includes: insecurity and sexual harassment from male peers; sex differentiation in occupational choice; inaccessibility of some settlement such as the riverine areas; cultural and religious factors, such as early marriages, and economic factors: such as costs of acquiring education as a tool for national development.

This is in tandem with Alayande (2003) who identified certain problems in relations to the education of women for effective contribution to national development to include: cultural and religious factors, such as early marriages and the practice of purdah by the Muslims; school location; schools are located far away from parents’ homes of the females. this brings about the problem of transportation; opportunity gains of formal education to parents; time spent on household activities by the girls, and sometimes, girls taking care of the young ones when the mother attends school; the nomadic life-style among the fulani tribe; curriculum and instructional materials, and insecurity and sexual harassment from male peers or teachers.

Research question two which was analysed on table 2 found that extents to which women are keying into educational pursuits in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State includes: I attended primary school;

  • I attended secondary school; I do not have first degree due to unavoidable reasons;
  • I do not have master’s degree due to unavoidable reasons, and I do not have Ph.D due to unavoidable reasons.

Therefore, the findings from the foregoing shows the majority of the respondents could not attend post-secondary level of education due to reasons they claimed are many to be surmounted.

Research question three which was analysed on table 3 that the benefits of women education in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State includes: it helps to enlighten women on their potentials to breakthrough in career; to enable women to improve their family’s health and diet; helping women to fight their own fears and feelings of inadequacy or inferiority; to enhance nation building in terms of economic and human development, and to make women participate fully in all the affairs of their nation and to be at centre of sustainable development.

Research question four which was analysed on table 4 that role of women education in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State: economic role for sustainable development; political role for sustainable development; family role for sustainable development; religious role for sustainable development, and educational role for sustainable development. In consonant with the foregoing findings, Jones (2007) categorized the role of women education in the following ways: man-power role; politics role; family up-bringing role; socio-economic role; personal development role; education role; health role; status role and decisionmaking role. These show that women are surely indispensable in the quest for sustainable development.


Conclusion

The past 20 years have witnessed improved- but not sufficient – enrolment of the female population in higher education. However, a closer analysis of higher education statistics reveals the different nature of the problem in different sociocultural and economic contexts. A number of cultural barriers still exist in the Nigerian society which seriously impedes women’s development as citizens and professionals. Efforts to improve female education in Nigeria needs to go beyond rhetoric and should involve policies and programs with measurable results. Efforts to ensure that education is made accessible to low-income families and rural populations, with special attention and sensitivity to women/girls is paramount if family stability and in turn national development is desirable in Igbo-Eze North L.G.A. in particular and Nigeria in general.


Educational Implications

The educational implications of the findings of this study include the following:

  1. Inadequate and unequal access to education tends to pose more challenge to women than men.
  2. Inability of government to provide free education and skills acquisition and development centers makes it difficult for the objectives of women education to be actualized.
  3. Inability of government to provide enabling environment that will guarantee the safety of women at school impact negatively on the psyche of women who may wish to be pursuing educational careers.
  4. Lack of socio-cultural support for women education as it is an issue among certain religious beliefs impact negatively on the confident and interest of women who may wish to pursue education careers.
  5. Finally, dominance of men in more important positions in government tends to impact negatively on the pursuit of women education objectives. This is because men tend to advocate policies that will always ensure their dominance over the women.

Recommendations

Below are some recommendations for women education, family stability and national development in Nigeria to thrive.

  1. Both the policy makers and school administrators need to promote the principle of equality between women and men in school curricula, educational programs and teaching activities. In order to realize the above stated the steps highlighted below are necessary:
    • Introduce the issue of gender equality in teachers’ training programs;
    • Include information and knowledge about the family, gender equality, duties of women and men in the family and shared responsibility of all family members for its proper functioning in sexual education programs.
  2. Both the various governments (national, state and local) and nongovernmental agencies should set up programmes that carry out and popularize through the media educational and information programs on promoting equal status of women and men. It is necessary to improve networks for utilizing findings of research and studies on gender-based issues to raise social awareness on the issue of equal rights and opportunities in education and employment. These can be done through the following ways:
    • Use the media to promote international documents pertaining to women’s rights and gender equality;
    • Disseminate data and findings of studies providing information on the situation of women and men in Nigeria- support research institutions conducting such studies.
  3. The policy makers in education need to develop practical oriented mechanisms targeted at ensuring equal access to education for women and men (in all types of schools and at all levels) and taking particular account of the situation in rural areas. This can be achieved through the following ways:
    • Provide specialized school and vocational counseling, free of stereotypes reinforcing the segmentation of the labor market and feminization of some of its sectors;
    • Introduce the broad profiles of vocational education for girls and boys (at all levels) to facilitate adaptation to the changing conditions and needs of a local labor market;
    • Ensure that women who dropped out of school because of family responsibilities are provided with opportunity to complete their education;
    • Ensure full and equal participation of girls and women in
      extracurricular activities and school facilities, such as computer or vocational classes, or business management training;
    • Ensure equal access, for girls and boys, to physical activities, recreational and sport classes, run both at and outside of school.

Limitations of the Study

The researchers would have liked this work to cover larger areas in Nigeria but due to time and lack of finance, financial difficulties experienced during this research is a hindrance to cover the entire states of the federation.
Another limitation is on respondents who could not supply the required information when questionnaire were given to them which was conquered by the researcher educating them.


Suggestions for Further Studies

  • Problems of women education
  • Income inequality management and access to education by women
  • Similar study should be extended to local government areas in Enugu
  • A replication of the study after some years to find out the effect of time on the findings of this present study.

Summary of the Study

The study investigated the role of women education in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Descriptive survey research design, four (4) research questions and population of 2,351 respondents were adopted.

Purposive sampling technique guided the study in selecting sample size of five hundred (500) respondents which represents 21.3% of the targeted population. Structured questionnaire was employed in data collection while Arithmetic mean (X) statistic was used to analyze the data. In review of other related studies, The concept of women education has no generally accepted definition as seen from the forgoing review, yet, it has to be understood as educational advocacies or thoughts aimed at encouraging women to key into available educational programmes for proper civilization and skill development. In the concept framework, women education, content of women’s education, contributions of women’s education to national development in Nigeria, and hindrances to women education were given proper attention.

Theoretically, Feminist Theory by Chafetz Janet Saltzman in 1997 guided the study. The theory threw more light on the tussle between male and female in attempt to gain more control and power in societal affairs. It therefore summarized that the females have exceptional and indispensable role they play in the society. Thus, female should not be discriminated from expressing themselves in all sectors of the economy. In the empirical studies, it was noted that all the reported did not consider the role of women education, especially in Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state, hence the gap this study stands to fill.

The study found among other things that challenges of women education in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State includes: insecurity and sexual harassment from male peers; sex differentiation in occupational choice; inaccessibility of some settlement such as the riverine areas; cultural and religious factors, such as early marriages, and economic factors: such as costs of acquiring education as a tool for national development. Also, the role of women education in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State include: economic role for sustainable development; political role for sustainable development; family role for sustainable development; religious role for sustainable development, and educational role for sustainable development.


The Role Of Women Education In Promoting Healthy Society In Developing Society


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