The Role Of Women Empowerment And Its Impact On The Economic Growth Of The Country

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The Role Of Women Empowerment And Its Impact On The Economic Growth Of The Country


Abstract


This study investigated the role of women empowerment and its impact on the economic growth of the country. The study came as a result of the prevalent issues in developing the country economically. The followings were the research objectives: to examine the impacts of women empowerment on the economic development of Nigeria, to investigate the roles of government in encouraging women empowerment in Nigeria and to inquire the available empowerment resources that will motivate women to participate in empowerment programmes in Nigeria. The descriptive research design was adopted for carrying out this study. Data were collected and analyzed with the use of SPSS.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Ever since the United Nations (UN) Women’s Empowerment Principles was founded in year 2010, there has been growing interest from over 800 Chief Executive Officers ranging from some of the largest to the smallest companies from around the world pledging to empower women in their workplaces and communities. Although reality has yet to match aspiration, the issue of women’s economic empowerment is now on the agenda between governments and business leaders at major economic meetings such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC). Whilst there is a growing agreement among leaders in business that trying to empower women will bring about economic development and for the government in Nigeria, there is evidence of creation of women empowerment centers in almost all the states in the whole country.

Nigeria is one of the most resource rich countries in West Africa and in Africa as a whole; its economy has always been the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in West Africa and has shown positive signs of growth in recent years. Traditionally women have played the role of house help, mother, wife, child bearer and food provider. Over the years, there has been a universal shift towards women’s empowerment and supporting gender focused development. Women are gaining independence, becoming better educated, entering into politics, employment (usually dominated by men), and starting their own businesses (Stevenson and Stonge 2005). Demographically, the breakdown of women entrepreneurs in developing countries especially in Nigeria is very broad in reflecting the structure of their economies. In Nigeria, as in other countries developing countries in the world, female entrepreneurship is synonymous with significant changes in societal norms; women becoming business owners and making provisions for their families (Kelley et al., 2011). The prevalent theme usually associated with women’s empowerment scheme is lack of financial aid; something that has not been so readily available to them. Societal change and finance give room for more successful female entrepreneurship and this has two potential positive outcomes: the economic growth of developing countries and the eradication of poverty. The bone of contention here is whether the indirect positive impacts of microfinance which is poverty alleviation and entrepreneurial skills enhancement are enough to serve as a pre-condition for economic development or is further support required.

Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs involved in starting new businesses is critical for a country’s long-term economic growth. In addition to their economic and income-generating activities, women assume multipurpose roles in society, i.e. In spite of their important contributions to socio-economic development; women suffer from various constraints, which inhibit them from fully realizing their potential for development. Consequently, it shows that women serves as one of Africa’s hidden growth reserves, providing most of the region’s labor, but their productivity is hindered by widespread inequality in education as well as unequal access to land and productive inputs (World Bank,2005). Achieving greater gender equality remains a big problem but nevertheless the fundamental gains that have been made in women’s education and employment results in recent history. Most countries of the world have achieved gender equality in education attainment, but women remain severely under-represented in key areas like growth-enhancing fields of education such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Labour markets exhibit many “gender gaps”. Women are less likely to work for pay, and are more likely to have lower hourly earnings, do more unpaid housework than men and in general the gender gaps of demerit in the labour market. Given this backdrop, it is no surprise that women’s position in business leadership and entrepreneurship needs to be strengthened.

Ensuring entrepreneurship growth must be a key policy goal for serious governments of developing countries like Nigeria which share the expectation that high rates of entrepreneurial activity will bring sustained job creation and boost the development of new products, processes, and organizational innovation. Public policies to promote female entrepreneurship include: gender equality for business, quick access to loan facility, lowering interest in loans and excessive regulatory restrictions; ensuring equal access to finance for men and women entrepreneurs, and create relevant financing schemes with support measures and increased access to support networks, including professional advice on legal matters and fiscal policies.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

In most countries, expectations about attributes and behaviors appropriate to women or men are shaped by culture, tradition and history. The general pattern is that women have less personal autonomy, fewer resources at their disposal, and limited influence over the decision-making processes that shape their societies and their own lives. In the global economy, women are an emerging force that policy makers cannot afford to ignore. The contribution of women to the progress of the society cannot be put aside. This range from the economic growth like marketing, weaving, manufactured products and also household affairs. People in the society did not pay attention to the contribution of women to the societal growth socially and economically and this has gone a long way to weaken their morals and render their effort fruitless.

Additionally, it is believed that no matter how well a woman works, she can’t be considered as being equal to a man, because a man is stronger physically than a woman (Ajayi Abimbola, 2011).There is a bidirectional relationship between economic development and women’s empowerment defined as improving the ability of women to access the constituents of development in particular health, education, earning opportunities, rights, and political participation. In one direction, development alone can play a major role in driving down inequality between men and women; in the other direction, continuing discrimination against women can, as it has been forcefully argued, hinder development. Empowerment can, in other words, accelerate development (Duflo, 2012). Therefore, this study will examine the role of women empowerment and its impact on the economic growth of the country.


1.3 Research Questions

This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the impacts of women empowerment on the economic development of Nigeria?
  2. What are the roles of government in encouraging women empowerment in Nigeria?
  3. What are the available empowerment resources that will motivate women to participate in empowerment programmes in Nigeria?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the role of women empowerment and its impact on the economic growth of the country.

The specific objectives include:

  1. To examine the impacts of women empowerment on the economic development of Nigeria
  2. To investigate the roles of government in encouraging women empowerment in Nigeria
  3. To inquire the available empowerment resources that will motivate women to participate in empowerment programmes in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will be beneficial in highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship training and its impact on unemployment reduction in Nigeria. One of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) goals highlights education (training) as a critical factor to reducing poverty and dependency. Allow the identification of the concept and framework of entrepreneurship. It will also be beneficial in the area of development and its contribution to Nigeria’s economy as well as generating greater awareness among tertiary institutions on the importance of having proper and practical strategies for acquiring entrepreneurial skills.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will be carried out among selected women entrepreneurs in Lagos State, Nigeria. Information collected from these workers shall be subjected to further analysis and the results got from it shall be final.


1.7 Limitation of the study

The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.


1.8 Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Economy Growth:

This is when the real per capital income of a country increases over time.

Women Empowerment:

To participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study was conducted in three autonomous communities that make up Nsukka to represent the country, namely, Nru, Ihe/Owerre and Nkpunanor autonomous communities. A total sample of 540 respondents was chosen for this study. Five hundred and ten (510) copies of the questionnaire were administered and were duly completed and collected. An in-depth interview (IDI) which involved 15 men and 15 women, was also conducted to complement the survey instrument (questionnaire).

The general main objective of this study was to assess the impact of women empowerment on economic development. In addition to this main objective, other objectives were stated. These objectives include, to identify the empowerment initiatives available to women in Nsukka, to ascertain the ways in which women have been empowered politically; to ascertain the ways in which women have been empowered economically; to access the ways in which women have been empowered educationally;; to identify the factors which may militate against full empowerment and participation of Nsukka women in development processes; and to determine the relationship between women’s empowerment level economic growth. In line with these objectives, research questions were also raises and hypotheses postulated to guide the study.

Empirical and theoretical literature were reviewed to support the issues raised at the beginning of the study and the study was anchored on the Stromquist (1995) and Batliwala (1994) models of empowerment.


5.2 Conclusion

Women can be described as an indispensable group in the development of any nation. Women’s empowerment creates a powerful influence on community, family and the nation at large. Thus, women empowerment can be seen as a vital strategy for any development effort. Although some initiatives have been established by government, nongovernmental bodies and individual, some factors have constituted constraints to women’s involvement in these initiatives. Ignorance of the existence of these initiatives, lack of interest among women and restriction from husbands and other males have denied women access to these initiatives.

Thus, to help improve the economic development of Nsukkaand Nigerian women at large, they should be empowered politically, educational and economically.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendation were made:

  1. The National gender policy should be enacted into laws to provide a legal framework for gender mainstreaming in the national development plans and strategies.
  2. There should be coalition among women organizations and groups. This will help them share experiences and be able to tackle problems facing women. Women groups could be used as an effective mechanism for information dissemination, social and mutual learning, institutionalized process for capacity building and empowerment.
  3. Considering the relationship between income level of women and their participation in development processes as illustrated by the findings of this study, programmes for women upliftment must integrate the vital dimensions such as formation of social capitals, provision of financial and credit support systems, and enterprises and need based skill development through training. This should also include regular monitoring of women to ensure that they invest their resources in something meaningful to give them some degree of economic independence.
  4. Re-orientation of men’s mind set on women’s empowerment and participation could greatly enhance women’s empowerment. This could be achieved through seminars, training and workshops.
  5. Women should be given unlimited access to education and media. Through these, women will come to realize the scopes and opportunities through which they can improve their status in the society.
  6. The empowering agents (e.g. governments, non-governmental bodies, individuals) should create necessary awareness on the availability of the existing empowerment initiatives so that women can take advantage of these initiatives to empower themselves.
  7. All traditional and religious practices affecting women and girls should be abolished by the appropriate authorities.
  8. Finally, women leaders and other highly educated women should make effort to sensitize and educate their fellow women. They should write about women achievers and their achievement in order to educate the public on the immense contributions of women to the socio-political and economic evolution of Nigeria.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Research

  1. It will be interesting to conduct a research that will discover the available empowerment initiatives in rural communities in Nsukka local government area since this study was carried out in an urban community.
  2. The existing empowerment initiatives should be evaluated to determine the problem which the organizers encounter in the process of executing these initiatives.
  3. Other researches should be carried out in other rural communities in Nsukka local government to assess the level of women’s participation in development activities in the rural areas.

The Role Of Women Empowerment And Its Impact On The Economic Growth Of The Country


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