1.1 Background to the Study
Attaining equality between women and men and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women are fundamental human rights and most countries values. Yes, women in almost all part of the world frequently suffer violations of their human rights every day of their lives, and understanding women’s human rights is not the main priority of most countries. Attaining the level of equality between women and men requires an elaborate understanding of the ways by which women experience discrimination and are denied equality so as to develop the proper approaches to eliminate such discrimination (UN 2014)
The term gender is derived from the Latin noun, which means kind or group. Gender today is used as a grammatical notion to categorize word into male and female, gender is also used to indicate the different and unequal perceptions, views, roles, relevance or rewards in which a society assigns to the two different sex. Discrimination happens to both the male and the female in different situations, most especially the female, or women group. This act of subduing women has been an inherent tradition, which is continuously active and attached to its devastating ability. The society has been dealing with the problem of building a fair, just and impartial arrangement among a different set of people, the mainstream agenda of development is challenged through; how to enhance the role of women in politics and governance. There is no human society where women are not discriminated or sidelined. Women are an entrenched, global pandemic (Anyalebechi 2016).
Agbalajobi (2010) is of the opinion that the cultures of different societies are based on subduing women to men and undermining their self-esteem. Women are naturally associated with domesticity according to Abiola in Lanre (2003), Gender inequality still remains pervasive in different dimensions of life, nature and the extent the discrimination vary considerably across different countries and regions in the world. In Nigeria, even in families. Male children were trained not to participate in some domestic chores like cooking, sweeping, fetching water and firewood, they are exclusively for women. Agbalajobi (2010) is of the opinion that main factor that leads to discrimination against women has its roots in the natures and tradition and culture of our societies which celebrate men as being unique, stronger and fit for the public space while women are feeble and weak meant to stay within the confluence of the private space.
Anya (2003) is of the opinion that the practice and belief of the society and the internationalization belief system make women see politics as something out of their league. Anya (2003) is of the opinion that most society sees women who go into politics as rebels and prostitutes, this belief system hinders women from participating in politics. Actually, the tradition or cultural beliefs in Nigeria as a typical male-controlled society see every women as property of her husband who has the authority to decide the actions in which the woman will take, the decision of the wife joining politics or been active in politics will be decided by since the tradition has given the headship and authority of the family to the man. In the concept of inequality and subordination of women to men, there is no relationship, therefore women are like slaves that must work to enrich and serve their husbands and masters, who the tradition has ascribed the pillar of the family and the key to continuation and retention of the family name. Ogunabayo (2011) added that the key to any marriage lies in the hands of the males, that is why many sons after the death of their fathers try to push away their mothers or their female sibling from the property and also traditionally the woman has no custody of the children from her marriage in the events of divorce, making the women an object of distortion and of unimportance to the society. Vividly, in the cultural and marriage institution choice of life partner, female children are mostly denied the right to choose their husbands, some are even forced into early marriage, and into the life of any man whether she loves him or not. More so, traditionally some society practice polygamy while some cases resulted in progeny syndrome, i.e. those families that are without a male child are deprived of some rights and privilege in the society. This tradition, however, enhances polygamy and the concept of inequality and subordination of women to men.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Nigeria women are faced with so many challenges which include gender inequality, high rate of poverty and illiteracy among Nigerian women due to some religious and cultural beliefs. In an interview, former Gov of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu stated that Men likes to be the dominant character in relationship, and the women find it very hard to know their place, some men even expects the women to even beg for what is rightfully theirs, even though gender equality can be achieved in Nigeria but the country has a very long way to go. In contemporary Nigerian society, the role of men and women are socially constructed in such a way that the women occupy an inferior position in the scheme of things. There are different challenges and preconceptions that prevent women from partaking in social and political activities or even to own a property, the society sees women as an object to be owned and used any time. For instance, women are not given the opportunity or allowed to bail somebody out of the police cell. Before the arrival of the British or colonization in Igbo land, women are forbidden from going to some section of the market most especially where they sell meat since the culture forbids them to eat meat and egg because the elders of the land believe it will motivate them to steal. Therefore, cultural norms are unfavourable to the womenfolk. Women are not even allowed to have equal access to politics or education like men, their quest to participate in active politics is restricted. Afolabi (2003) specifiable states that most women in Nigeria are illiterate despite the facts that they constitute half of the country’s population, most parents prefer training their male child, therefore the girls’ education is not pertinent as they are expected to marry, bear children and stay at home to nurture their children and the young girls are to nurture their siblings and to be married off at tender age. It is against this problem the research aims at assessing gender inequality and rights of women in Nigeria