United Nations And The Teachers Challenges Of Promoting Gender Quality In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

United Nations And The Teachers Challenges Of Promoting Gender Quality In Nigeria


Chapter One


Introduction

Gender Equality is central to the development outcomes and is a programming principle in the UN. The UN strives to promote gender equality, in which both men and women have equal opportunity to benefit from and contribute to economic, social, cultural and political development; enjoy socially valued resources and benefits; and realize their human rights. When the UN System strengthens the capacity of stakeholders to understand gender equality principles and address constraints that impact negatively on women and men, the UN system will strengthen the effectiveness of development programming. This is not only the right thing to do; it is smart thing to do. In Nigeria’s 80.2 million women and girls have significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies… women are Nigeria’s hidden resource. Investing in women and girls now will increase productivity in this generation and will promote sustainable growth, peace and better health for the next generation”. Promoting gender equality is a shared responsibility for all development actors and it behoves all stakeholders to contribute their quota to this joint commitment. Heads of Agencies, Government MDAs and Organizations should support and hold staff accountable for compliance with principles in respect to gender in development. It is our expectation that this tool kit will go a long way to facilitate that process for all and sundry, towards more gender responsive programmes, policies and services in Nigeria.

Promoting gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty levels among women and men, improving health and living standards and enhancing efficiency of public investments. The attainment of gender equality is not only seen as an end in itself and a human rights issue, but as a prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development. In recognition of the extant National Women’s Policy and other sectorial policies to respond to the challenges of gender inequalities and attendant low socio-economic indicators, a National Gender Policy has been developed to replace the Women’s Policy. An extensive research and consultative process informed the Gender Policy framework while the goal, objectives, strategies and targets were adopted by consensus at several national and zonal workshops convened for stakeholders and partners. The goal of the National Gender Policy is to “build a just society devoid of discrimination, harness the full potentials of all social groups regardless of sex or circumstance, promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political wellbeing of all citizens in order to achieve equitable rapid economic growth; evolve an evidence-based planning and governance system where human, social, financial and technological resources are efficiently and effectively deployed for sustainable development. “Some of the key principles upon which the policy is premised are:

  1. Commitment to gender mainstreaming as a development approach and tools for achieving the economic reform agenda, evidence based planning, value re-orientation and social transformation.
  2. Recognition of gender issues as central to and critical to the achievement of national development goals and objectives and a requirement for all policies to be reviewed to reflect gender implications and strategies as contained in the gender policy and implementation modalities specified in the National Gender Strategic Framework;
  3. Realization that effective and results-focused policy. Implementation demands a cooperative interaction of all Stakeholders’. Promotion and protection of human rights, social justice and equity. (Federal Republic of Nigeria2007 National Gender Policy)

1.1 Background of the Study

The obviously sustained gender imbalances and poor representation of women in decision making processes in Nigeria is often premised on factors such as poor level of education of women, patriarchy, poor access to information, lack of experience and financial opportunities compared to men. Besides, women who have survived overcoming all these hurdles are still challenged with the lack of opportunities and space to prove their worth. Currently in Nigeria’s National Assembly, 24 women out of 360 members occupy seats in the Lower House (6.7%) and there are just 7 women out of the 109 members in the Upper House (6.4 %). The women in Nigeria’s Federal Cabinet represent a total of 31%, (as at April 8 2013), although still below 35% minimum requirement stated in the National Gender Policy, there is an indication that the old patriarchal perception of women as ‘traditional’ and ‘silent’ is beginning to shift in Nigeria. We still however have a long way to go. Nigeria ranks among the countries with the highest rates of inequality in the world, despite a 6% average growth rate of the economy. This is largely owing to rising unequal income distribution and differential access to basic infrastructure, education, training and job opportunities; and women and girls continue to bear the brunt. Teachers are a key resource for effecting gender equality in education and the knowledge and attitudes of teachers are also important for building and sustaining ideas and institutions oriented to gender equality. Training and supporting adequate numbers of teachers has been a major source of concern for education planning (Erinosho, 2010). There has been much focus on teachers’ basic educational qualifications, and less attention given to softer skills such as ideas about gender, equality or inclusion. A number of studies of teachers’ levels of knowledge of key areas of the curriculum reveal some gaps. Building institutional capacity to measure the gender distribution of resources – schools, classrooms, teachers, and textbooks – is one kind of challenge. Other challenge concerns building a dialogical space for sharing divergent views of what aspirations concerning gender issues might look like in different sites of teacher education. While this has begun in terms of constructing policy texts, much work is to be done regarding how these are interpreted, what issues they include and omit, and what means of evaluation can be generated and exchanged. Thirdly, work has not yet begun on linking visions of gender equality in education from the bottom up, with reflective teaching practice, and assessments of institutions in education, health, child protection, politics, the economy and the cultural sphere. This latter undertaking, often associated with list-based approaches to measuring well-being has not yet been adopted in policy discussions in the education sector in Nigeria. The research therefore focuses on the appraisal of United Nations and the teacher’s challenges of promoting gender quality in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Gender Equality is central to the development outcomes and is a programming principle in the UN. The UN strives to promote gender equality, in which both men and women have equal opportunity to benefit from and contribute to economic, social, cultural and political development; In Nigeria this is supported by the national gender policy whose goals is to “build a just society devoid of discrimination, harness the full potentials of all social groups regardless of sex or circumstance, promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political wellbeing of all citizens in order to achieve equitable rapid economic growth; evolve an evidence-based planning and governance system where human, social, financial and technological resources are efficiently and effectively deployed for sustainable development. Gender equality requires the recognition of the fact that current social, economic, cultural and political systems discriminate between the sexes, and that women’s status is generally unequal to that of men. Gender equality denotes women having the same opportunities in life as men, including the ability to participate in the public sphere. Gender equality interventions therefore aim to promote the full and unfettered participation of women and men in society and in all sectors of development. However there is obviously sustained gender imbalances and poor representation of women in decision making processes in Nigeria which is often attributed to poor level of education of women, These differences often result in significant forms of discrimination and gender based oppression. In fact, these differences resulting serious gaps in political, social and economic participation. The end result is a situation of persistent gender inequality. Gender equality essentially refers to equality in outcomes and results. Teachers are a key resource for effecting gender equality in education and the knowledge and attitudes of teachers are also important for building and sustaining ideas and institutions oriented to gender equality. But this is confronted by numerous challenges which impeds on the full realization of gender equality in Nigeria. This constitutes the problem confronting this research which is to appraise United Nations and the teacher’s challenges of promoting gender quality in Nigeria.


1.3 Objective of the Study

  1. To determine the nature of United Nations policy on gender development
  2. To determine the nature of the collaborative effort of the federal government of Nigeria on the national policy on gender development
  3. To determine the role of teachers in gender development
  4. To determine the challenges confronting teachers in gender development

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the nature of the United Nation Policy on Gender Development?
  2. What is the nature of the national policy on gender development?
  3. What is the role of Teachers in gender development in Nigeria?
  4. What constitute the challenges confronting teachers in gender development in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study shall appraise the nature of the United Nations policy on gender development

  1. It shall highlight the collaborative effort of the federal government through its national policy on gender development
  2. It shall appraise the role of Teachers in gender development in Nigeria
  3. The study shall appraise the challenges confronting teachers in gender development on Nigeria.
  4. The study shall also serve as a source of information on issues on gender development in Nigeria

1.6 Statement of Hypothesis

  1. Ho Gender inequality is high in Nigeria
    Hi Gender inequality is low in Nigeria
  2. Ho The role of Teachers in gender development in Nigeria is low
    Hi The role of Teachers in gender development in Nigeria is high
  3. Ho The challenges confronting Teachers in gender development in Nigeria is high
    Hi The challenges confronting Teachers in gender development in Nigeria is low

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study focuses on the appraisal of United Nations and the teacher’s challenges of promoting gender quality in Nigeria.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Gender Defined

Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, responsibilities and identities for women and men. Gender roles and identities are learned in the family, school, religious institutions and through the media. They are historically and socially specific. In other words, what is expected of our grandparents as women and men may not be the same for our grandchildren. Similarly, the appropriate roles and identities for women and men in one cultural setting may be different from those in another cultural setting. Gender and sex are different in the sense that sex is natural, universal and unchanging, while gender is learned and varies in time and space. That is, we are born as female and male, but as we grow up as girls and boys, we are taught to be women and men with appropriate behavior, attitudes, roles and activities pertaining to each sex. Moreover, since gender roles, responsibilities and identities are learned, they can also be changed

Gender Discrimination Defined

The exclusion of women (half of the productive source) from the development process Unequal relations (between women and men, rich and poor) that prevents equitable development and women’s full participation

Education Defined

Education is the method by which a society transfers from one generation to the next its knowledge, culture and values. The nature and the expected functions of education reflect the importance of education in any society. Education serves the society in various ways, which includes, preserving, rediscovering and transmitting knowledge. It is a catalyst for bringing some radical change to existing culture, and for preparing the student for the future.

Gender Equity Defined

Gender equity is a set of policy measures/special programmes targeting women with the aim of compensating them for the historical and social disparities that deprive them of enjoying access to equal opportunities, for example: measures of positive discrimination, quota system, etc. Gender equity measures are based on the recognition of women’s and men’s different positions, situation and needs. It recognizes that reaching equality in outcomes may necessitate different treatment of women. As such, it is a series of measures which recognize the need to redistribute power and resources. Equity is not incompatible with equality but rather complements and contributes to its effective implementation.

Gender Responsive Education Defined

Addresses gender-based barriers so that all girls and boys, women and men can learn respects differences based on gender and acknowledges gender, together with age, ethnicity, language, disability, and religion are all part of a learner’s identity enables education structures, systems and methodologies to be sensitive to all girls and boys, women and men

Ensures gender parity in education is part of a wider strategy to advance gender equality in society continuously evolves to close gaps on gender disparity and eradicate gender-based discrimination.


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