Background to the Study
For quite some time in the history of mankind, women have not been accorded much recognition by any standards. According to Essoh and Oluwabamide (2005:24), there seems to have been a serious conspiracy against the women folk. For example, in AD 856 a world conference was held in France to consider whether or not women were indeed human beings but created to worship man. Akpan cited in Essoh and Oluwabamide(2005). Also, at another instance, a follow-up conference was held in Rome to determine whether women had a soul which could go to heaven so as to be taught religion and asked to worship God.
In Plato‟s ideal state, Plato posited that “women are to be given the training opportunity like men in education, sports, governance, military, etc”. According to Plato, equally books and other educational materials available for children are to be censored. This is to give moral undertone to educational pursuit as well as the development of a just state. On the contrary, Aristotle, Plato‟s student vehemently condemned Plato‟s position of equality of women folk. Rather, Aristotle believed that nature has unreservedly made man superior to women. In other words, a woman in all ramifications does not have autonomy of character and of position (John 2009:150)
Hence, Aristotle maintains that the courage of a man is in commanding while that of a woman is in the in the kitchen where she takes absolute dominion and authority. Similar to this, Adeniran (2008) states that in the last five centuries have been carefully structured by varying historical processes. Outstanding gender and racial categories emerged during this epoch as two fundamental axes for exploiting people and stratifying societies (Oyewumi 2004). Globalization, being the hallmark of modernity enables the creation and imposition of Euro-American cultural hegemony throughout the universe.
Consequently, male-gender as an essential part of foreign ethos became enshrined in culture of modernity. In the quest of understanding African realities and indeed state of gender relation in Nigeria, this global situation for knowledge has become imperative. At the beginning of colonialism rigid boundaries about everything including gender perceptions were imposed on the mind of Africans.
Thereafter, the significance of women had to be limited to meeting the sexual needs of men working in the field, carrying loads, tending babies and preparing food (Hammond and Jab blow 1992:150). Also, the discriminating colonial ideology of domesticity as exemplified by the practice of what is called “housewification” provided yet another springboard for women educational imbalance in many part of Africa and Nigeria inclusive. As such, the attainment of overall human development is being hindered by this unevenness in educational accessibity across gender division (Abdullahi 2000).
In Nigeria, numerous societies have cultural restrictions that keep women as subordinates, that is, there exist some way of preventing women in all spheres of life (Alapiki 2010). Besides this widespread discrimination against women, some cultural factors had
contributed in no small measure to lack of interest in education on the part of women, from the outside world and physical separation of women at religious services.
Due to this, women tend to have less education and job experience to prepare them for exalted positions. This makes most women appear less qualified than men when nominations for job are considered. Women have been debased and dishonored by the belief that every woman is supposed to consider motherhood as the principal purpose of her existence. She is supposed to produce children, cook, mend, wash clothes, take care of men and be subordinate to male authority (Alapiki 2010). In other words, a woman in Nigeria is expected to play second fiddle and take low status. The arrangements which make women and women‟s issue invisible or marginal have also influenced Girl child education. In traditional Nigerian society, the education given to girls was different from that given to boys. The boys right from their early days were made to follow their father‟s trade while the girls go after that of their mothers (Mezieobi 1992).
From the foregoing, one can deduce that some women are not given equal educational opportunity as their male counterparts, the women ended up handling down to the girl-child the act of preparing the females to be women through teaching them to cook, take care of their husbands, housekeeping, child care and child rearing (Mezieobi 1996).
Hence, the central problem of this investigation is to examine the influence of socio- cultural practices, unfavorable political conditions, colonial practices as well as economic factors which restricted women education in Nigeria and the effect on the Academic Performance of the girl-child in Secondary Schools in Uyo local Government Area.
Statement of t Research Problem
For quite some time now, unequal educational accessibility has been working against women‟s socio-political empowerment in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the roles assigned to women by the colonial policy of domesticity which emphasizes domestic education for the women folk have made gender imbalance to be sustained in Nigeria in general and Akwa Ibom state in particular. These inequalities have been encouraged further by unpredicted changes of missionary education and other male gender privileging colonial literature.
Furthermore, the political culture that has emerged from the colonial orientation has been very unfriendly to women. It reflects gender inequalities in men and women roles and levels of access to state power, resources and organization (Mama 1997). Specific development policies targeted at women‟s education and socio-political participation have been very ineffective in the country.
Also, unhealthy state controlled development has indeed aided to wash any independent feminist initiative ever geared toward women educational progression in our society. Nigerian women‟s access to schooling is still being restricted due to their unfair workload within the household division of labour. Across various geopolitical zones in the country, a greater percentage of school-age girls are needlessly out-of-school as compared with the ratio applicable to boys of the same age grouping.
Hence, the statement of problem of the study is in view of all these hindrances which have forced women to be relegated to background in our society. What does the future hold for a girl-child who is studying now in post primary (in terms of her academic performance) in Schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Objectives of the Study
Nigerian women have problems in the political, social, economic and educational domains of national life. This is due largely to the high rate of women in Nigeria. In some cases, customs, tradition ties and religion combine to influence women education negatively.
Hence, the objectives of the study are to:
Examine the influence of socio-cultural factors on women education with focus on academic performance of the girl-child in secondary school in Uyo Local Government Area.
Assess the effect of colonial educational policies on the women education with focus on academic performance of the girl child in Uyo Local Government Area.
Evaluate the influence of political factors on women education with focus on academic performance of the girl child in Uyo Local Government Area.
Assess the influence of economic factors on women education with focus on academic performance of the girl child in Uyo Local Government Area.
Significance of the Study
This study is meant to inform, educate, sensitize and enlighten the general public, government and policy makers on the importance of female education towards achieving national development.
It is meant to educate parents on the importance of sending their female children to school.
The study aims at reminding the government that they have a part to play in ensuring female education in Nigeria. In fact, it should be enacted as a law that females should be given compulsory education in Nigeria.
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.