The Challenges of Women Empowerment in Nigeria

Education is a potent tool in the emancipation and empowerment of women. The greatest single factor which can incredibly improve the status of women in any society is education. It is indispensible that it enables women not only to gain more knowledge about the world but helps her to get status, positive self esteem and self confidence, necessary courage and inner strength to face challenges in life. Apparently it also facilitates them to procure a job and supplement the income of family and achieve social status.

Educated women can play an equal role as men in nation building. Therefore, the is no denying fact that education empowers women. In spite of the forceful intervention by international women groups, feminist critics, constitutional guarantees, protecting laws and sincere efforts by the government at all levels through various schemes and programmes to uplift the plight of women, education and women empowerment is still an enigma for variation of reasons. The 2003 and 2005 UNESCO report indicates that literacy among women is only 54% and Nigeria is still at the risk of not achieving the Education For All (EFA) goals.

The growth of women education in the rural areas is still very low. This obviously means that there is still a large number of women folk who are illiterate, weak, backward and exploited. Gender inequality is re-enforced in education which is proved by the high percentage of men who are educated compared to the percentage of their female counterparts. This paper views the reasons for gender inequality in educational system, recommend that women themselves should develop negotiative skills and rise to the challenges of assisting themselves in a competitive society and conclude that there is obvious inequality against the girl child in enrollment, attendance and completion rate in all levels of education in Nigeria especially the northern part due to variety of cultural and religious factors. – Florence Undiyaundeye.