Women Subordination In Religion, Occupation And Education

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Women Subordination In Religion, Occupation And Education


United Nations facts and statistics indicate that women constitute more than half the world’s population and do three-fourths of the world’s work. Yet women earn just one-tenth of the world’s income; own one percent of the world’s property; three-fourths of women are starving, and above all, represent over two-thirds of non-literate adults. Critically examining the above facts with regard to Africa’s educational development further reveals diminishing returns as well as an overall impediment to the politico-economic and socio-cultural transformation. In spite of recent token changes and appointments of women to political offices in many countries across Africa, girls and women remain relegated to a secondary human status in relation to boys and men. Against this background, this study highlights the educational implications of the continued subordination of women to men.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Since early times women have been uniquely viewed as a creative source of human life. As individuals, women have participated in essentially all of the activities in human societies. As a group, however, women have been identified with particular roles ascribed to them by their societies. Marriage and motherhood are the traditional roles of women. This is not in denial, but women should have a wider choice of ways of life.

Throughout history, women generally have fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women’s most significant progressions. Historically, they have been considered not only intellectually inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. In Greek mythology, for example, it was a woman, Pandora, who opened the forbidden box and brought plagues law described women as children, forever inferior to me. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, Edition, P.1, 350).

Early Christian theology perpetuated these views. It Jerome, a 4th century Latin father of Christian church, said “Women is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word….. a perilous object” Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Christian theologian, said that women were “ created to be man’s helpmeet, but her unique role is in conception…. Since for other purposes, men would be better assisted by other men. Bedn (2000) however has it that gender inequality have hampered the full participation of women in social development, and further agues that the rapid economic and social development in our societies requires greater participation of everybody, including women in all spheres of human endeavour.

The adoption of this system of inequality was never the result of deliberation, or fore whatsoever of what would be best for humanity or the good order of society. It simply arose from the fact that from the dawn of human bondage to some man.

The ancient India, for example, women were not deprived of property rights or individual freedom, but Hinduism, which evolved in India after 500 B.C, required obedience of women towards men. Women had to walk behind their husbands. Women, they could not own property and widows could not remarry. Samuel Kramer, in his book “the Goddesses and the theologians. A reflection on women’s right in ancient Sumer, 1952, PP4-5, noted that after enjoying the privilege of able to own a property, being educated and legally able to take more than one husband, Sumerian men achieved the right and status of women from that of men.

When, in the 19th century, professional opportunities for women in Global west began to decline, the required education preparation, particularly for the practice of medicine, increased. This tended to prevent many young women, who married early and bore many children, from entering professional careers. Although home nursing in hospitals was done exclusively by men, Women predominate informal employment jobs that lack formal contracts, security, benefits or social protection (international labour organization, 1Lo, 2002).

In most pre-industrial societies, domestic chores were relegated to women, leaving “heavier” labour such as hunting and plowing to men. This ignored the fact that caring for children and doing such tasks as milking cows and washing clothes also required heavy, sustained labour. The findings of Ekpo (2008) supported Witz’s (1992) demarcation strategy as male dominated all occupational sphere, controlling and directing the affairs of females. All those reveals female subjection in traditional African Societies.

Closing this gender gap constitutes achieving gender equality, which can be defined as a stage of human societies development, at which the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of individuals will not be determined by the fact of being born male or female, in other words, a stage where born men and women realize their full potential” (Lopez- Claros and Zahidi 2005, P.1). Based on above argument, the purpose of this research study is therefore to examine religion, occupation and education as agents of subordination of women in Akwa-Ibom, and the world at large.

The role of religion education and occupation the realization of this harmonious balance between all artifacts of life cannot be over emphasized. All over the globe the population of women is currently experiencing an exponential growth. The United Nations (UN) (2013) population projections put the world’s population at 7.2 billion people, with women constituting more than half of this number. This latest population report put it this way: ‘high population growth rates prevail in many developing countries, most of which are on the UN’s list of 49 least developed countries (LDCs).’ (United Nations, 2013: 9). The population projections went further to state: ‘between 2013 and 2100, the populations of 35 countries could increase at least five-fold by 2100’ (United Nations, 2013: 9). This trend of population explosion including that of women signals a turning of the tides of the global workforce from the male to the female; which has started and will likely continue.

This shift in the workforce further amplifies the indispensability of the womenfolk to the growth and development of the contemporary society. Regrettably, this major shift in the workforce from over reliance on men to inclusion of women has not yet effectively transformed the image of womanhood prevalent in many patriarchal societies, including images from ancient Africa. Examples are such images of women as inferior, weakling, subordinate, mediocre, dependent and subsidiary which have lingered into the 21st century, largely on cultural and religious bases. Ironically as suggested by Author (2001: 28), some of the negative image and stereotypes attributed to African women are not indigenous to Africa but are rather imported alien views foisted on African women while a few are typically home grown pseudo-gender concepts.

‘The negative portrayal of [Africa]/Igbo women’s status is indicative of a lack of understanding of the nature of the original egalitarian Igbo tradition …and a selective memory of [their] historical traditions.’ Author (2001: 28). The objective of this paper is to explore some of the ramifications of the phenomenon of women’s subordination to men in Africa and to highlight its educational implications with reference to development in Africa. To this end, the conceptual and theoretical frameworks are first established, the problem at hand analyzed in context, and the educational implications drawn out, with recommendations for amelioration

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Though not every religion is represented, the articles in this study address and interweave many such themes. They help point out the seemingly invisible yet critical threads associated with religion that shape a woman’s life; threads associated with self-understanding and self-definition. Religious ideals provide a haven of sorts for women through its glorification of traditional roles, among other ideals, in response to economic insecurity and the unattainable demands of modernization and globalization. – If women cannot succeed in the economy, they can at least be valued as mothers. Hence, understanding the role and impact of religion on women subordination in religion, occupation and education.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of women subordination in religion, occupation and educational sector. But to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective;

  1. To ascertain the effect of women subordination on the growth of Nigeria educational sector
  2. To examine the relationship between women subordination and occupation achievement of women
  3. To examine the occupational effect of women subordination
  4. To examine the role of women in religious growth in Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

  1. H0: there is no significant relationship between women subordination and occupation achievement of women
    H1: there is a significant relationship between women subordination and occupation achievement of women
  2. H0: women subordination does not have any effect on the growth of Nigeria educational sector
    H2: women subordination does have an effect on the growth of Nigeria educational sector

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of education sectors as the study seek to explore the importance of women in the educational religious and occupational sectors, the study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further studies, the study will also be useful to student, teachers, researchers, academia’s, student’s and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature in the subject matter.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers women subordination in religion and education. But in the cause of the study there are some factors that that will limit the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms


A woman is a female human being. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. The term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as “women’s rights“.

Women Subordination

The refusal to allow women to be educated was part of society’s subordination of women to men. The act subordinating, or of making dependent, secondary, or subservient.


Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements


Occupation or job, one’s role in society, often a regular activity performed for payment


Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc.
  2. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.
  3. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to examine the cause’s women subordination in religion, occupation and education.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given.

In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of women subordination in religion occupation and education.

5.2 Summary

From the above discussion it is clear that in our country women are victims of subordination (e.g. under male domination), exploitation (e.g. unequal pay, low wages), oppression (e.g. violence). The issues of son preference, discrimination against girls (e.g. food distribution, burden of household work, lack of education, freedom and mobility), dowry, violence against women (e.g. wife-battering, rape), unequal wage, discriminatory personal laws, the use of religion to oppress women, the negative portrayal of women in the media, all of these patriarchal practices exist.

5.3 Conclusion

Having examined some aspects of the socio-economic and political subordination of women in 21st century Africa, there is every reason to conclude that the inferiorization and demonization of women is not very much different from a new form of slavery. Despite the spirit of hard work displayed by most of these women (especially the rural women), they are still faced with domination and discrimination in every facet of life, and are often subjected to demoralizing acts against their own will. These acts of subordination go a long way in creating an atmosphere of disillusionment, low self-esteem and self-pity among some women, thereby subjecting them to a continuous life of fear. The effect of all these on education is not only diminishing returns and subsequent stagnation in Africa’s educational development, but also an overall impediment to the politicaleconomic and socio-cultural transformation of Africa. There is therefore need for enlightenment for women and other stakeholders to take proactive measures to re-examine and redress the continued subordination of women.

5.4 Recommendation

Haven completed the study; the following recommendations were proffered by the researcher;

Thus, to raise women’s position, it is urgent to protect women from religion, occupation and educational subordination. It is patriarchal ideology which makes us feminine and masculine, which assigns different roles, rights and responsibilities to women and men. But those socalled ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ qualities are human qualities and not specific to either men or women. Since all works are done by both men and women, there is no reason to differentiate works on the basis of sex.

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