Chapter has its tentacles rooted deeply all-over the

Chapter 1

1.1.Background
to the study

Gender
inequality is as old as man itself, it is not something that started in Nigeria
or any other specific country for that matter; it can be dated as far back to
beginning of culture and religion a time when women were looked upon as the
weaker sex (in which they still are) and the men dominated in all areas. Gender
inequality is the perception that men and women are not equal and this unequal
treatment arises from the socially constructed roles and attributes for both
sexes, this ideology presents that since men are superior to women they should
not be opened to equal opportunities, chances or experiences.

Gender
inequality is not subjected to just Nigeria or any particular country, it has
its tentacles rooted deeply all-over the world; especially in countries that
are patriarchal in nature- which is a significant feature of a traditional
society- such as Nigeria; that is, countries that a structure of a set of
social relations with material base which enables men to dominate women
(Makama, 2013). Not only is Nigeria patriarchal in nature, it also runs on the
belief system that the best place for a woman is in the ‘kitchen’ and that is
where she should belong, this mentality was confirmed by President Muhammadu
Buhari, when he affirmed that his wife belongs to the kitchen and “the other
room” at an international press conference. This belief brought about the
misrepresentation of women’s right from the family level to the society at
large (this day, 2017)

The
patriarchal nature of Nigeria has skilfully sets the parameters for women’s
structural unequal position in families and markets by permitting illegitimate
gender terms in inheritance rights and by tacitly allowing domestic and sexual
violence and sanctioning differential wages for equal or comparable work
(Makama, 2013). Tradition, culture and religion have dictated men and women
relationship for centuries and entrenched male domination into the structure of
social organisations and institutions at all levels of leadership (Ipadeola,
2014).

Victimized
at each level, women traditionally have restricted access to education, ownership
of land and assets in Nigeria. It is disturbing and saddening to know that
women are also denied equal treatment in inheritance rights, human resources
development and sustainable  economic
growth (Gregory, 2017). It is consequently troubling that at once they are
looking for equal treatment and participation in issues that concerns them and
their families; some respected traditional rulers who ordinarily should have a
better understanding of the issue are making utterances that are entirely
unhelpful (Maria 1990).

The
south-western Nigeria is known as the Yoruba land in Nigeria it consist of six
states which are: Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states. The Yoruba
people are known for their rich social and cultural heritage that has been in
practice for centuries even before the arrival of colonialism in Nigeria. The
Yoruba people are viewed as intellectual and highly respectable people; it has
even been argued that it to be part of one of the most civilized people in the
world and the evidence is seen in their culture and general way of life,
ranging from their gestation, manner of greeting, their governance and also
their religious beliefs (Newsbreaker, 2015). 

 Some laws have been put in place to protect
the inalienable rights of humans and laws enacted specially for the protection
of women’s right both nationally and internationally and Nigeria is party to
these treaties that are to protect the rights of women. Some of these laws can
be found in engraved in the very institution of Nigeria; The 1999 constitution
of Nigeria as amended in 2011, Universal declaration of Human Right (UHDR) 1948,
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) 1979, The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and so on

·        
Article I of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UNDHR) provides: “All human beings are born free and equal in
dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act
towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

·        
Article 2 of the UNDHR also
re-emphasises the equality of human persons as follows: “Everyone is entitled
to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without
distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status.   Furthermore, no distinction
shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international
status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it is
independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of
sovereignty.

·        
Article 2 of African (Banjul) Charter On
Human And Peoples’ Rights re-enacted the aforementioned provisions of the UNDHR
on equality of human beings, which African countries including Nigeria adopted
as follows: “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights
and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without
distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language,
religion, political or any other opinion, national and social, origin, fortune,
birth or other status.”

·        
 Section
42(1) of the same constitution states further that: A citizen of Nigeria of a
particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political
opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person be subjected to any
form of discrimination

It
is all the more disheartening that in this age and time, the Nigerian Senate
has been found wanting in its role to help achieve these new goals of promoting
gender equality. In September 2016, a watered down version of the Gender and
Equality Bill passed a second reading in the Senate, and was referred to the
committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters. The first bill put
forward six months earlier, and which included equal rights for women in
marriages, divorce, property ownership and inheritance, was voted down. That
bill was rejected because members of the upper arm of parliament said “enacting
a law to accord women equal rights with men was un-African and anti-religious”
(Newsbreaker, 2015).

Gender
equality is not just a human rights issue, it is essential for the achievement
of sustainable development and a peaceful, prosperous world. Therefore,
circumscribing the access to opportunities that ultimately empowers women and
girls is counterproductive. Women are not the objects of pleasure of men or
property to be used and disposed of. Indeed, women have the same intrinsic
worth as men. Therefore any custom that seeks to treat them as inferior to men
or treats women as the property of their husbands cannot and should not stand
(Maria, 1990).

However,
marginalisation on the right of women is a reoccurring problem in this
community with various reasons, one of them been that the woman would move to
her husband’s house and have a change in name; for this reason she is
discredited from her right to inheritance of valuable property.

1.2.
Statement of the Problem

The
advent of the repressive colonial administration coupled with the African culture
and custom reinforced this disease of nature of gender inequality, carving its
way through the societal structure, political culture and orientation has been
regrettably maintained and sustained by the conflicting counterpart of
patriarchy. This flaw has caused conflict on the social roles men between
women; resulting to women having the greater share of this flaw.

The
chronic existence of this problem is as lethal as virus itself transmitted from
generation to generation under the legacy of culture and religion. From the
onset the women have been treated as second class citizens in which they are
denied of their basic human right under the guise of tradition or the
masquerading of culture especially among the Yoruba. The underrating of women
not only affects women but also men too because they view themselves as
superior beings and as such think that they can get away with whatever they do.
Also, the new wave of feminism has obstructed the main purpose of gender
inequality making it seem like feminism should lead to female superiority and
male inferiority rather than the equal opportunity for both sexes and not one
gender’s dominance over the other. Finally, human right is right entitled to
all humans not segregated for a special set of people therefore why should
there be need for women’s right when human right is clearly sufficient for the
men; it should also be sufficient for the women

1.3.Research
Objectives

The
main objective of this research is to help understand the concept of gender
inequality and highlight ways in which balance can be maintained between both
genders.

The
specific objectives of the study are:

1.      To
differentiate between gender inequality and modern day feminism

2.      To
examine the extent of the marginalization of women’s right

3.      To
unveil the ripple effect of gender inequality

4.      To
empower women while maintaining balance between both gender

 

1.4.
Research Questions

The
research questions are:

1.      What
is the difference between gender inequality and modern day feminism?

2.      How
and to what extent has the women’s right been marginalized?

3.      What
are the ripple effects of gender inequality?

4.      How
can women be empowered without obstructing balance?

1.5.Significance
of the Study

This
research focuses on the inequalities or discrimination that women face
especially in the south-western part of Nigeria known as the Yoruba community
in the country. The findings in this study will help us examine the society as
it was before, as it is now and as it ought to be for the future generations to
come if certain amendments are made or not. This research findings would assist
women not only in south-western region of Nigeria to create an awareness on the
laws put in place to protect their right as humans regardless of their
biological features or their socially dictated characters and also help use
those laws to their advantage when infringed upon.

This
research also would serve as an eye opener to the other things that are
affected by the discrimination of women’s right in Nigeria as a whole; it would
also explain to us how to balance things in the sense that there is going to be
equality between both genders and not female supremacy at one end and inequality
for the men at the other end. The research would help understand the concept of
inequality in other not to confuse it with feminism especially the extremist
feminism theories. It would also give us an insight on the concept of equality
in Nigeria and give a glimpse of what Nigeria would look like if that idea is
put to place. 

 

1.6.
Scope of the Study

This
study will be conducted to determine the status gender inequality in the
south-western region of Nigeria during the pre-colonial era, colonial era, and
military regime and the Jonathan administration.

1.7.Research
Methodology

This
study is limited to Lagos and Ibadan. The reason why the south western part of
Nigeria has been singled out as the geographical scope for this research is not
because this issue cannot be found in the other zones but for the reason that
this part of Nigeria is known to be one of the civilized part of the country
and also they hold themselves in high esteem when it comes to education but
with all these enlightenment there are still cases gender biasness. It is a
qualitative study that would be descriptive and the researcher would be making
use of both primary and secondary sources such as books, journals, internet
sources and so on.

1.8.
Limitations of the Study

The
significant barrier that may confront this work will be in the region of time
it supposed to be covered. The time allocated for this research may not be
enough because of academic, spiritual and extracurricular programs and
activities that are mandatory and must be attended in the duration of time
allocated for the research.

1.9.
Operational Definition of Terms

Gender inequality:

 Gender inequality can be regarded as the
unequal treatment or perception of individuals on the basis of gender. It
arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles as well as
biologically through chromosomes, brain structure, and hormonal differences.

Human right:

 Human rights are the basic rights and or freedoms
that all human beings are entitled to irrespective of their sex, religion, ethics
etc. whereby the exercise of these rights should not be encroach on.

Patriarchy:

This
is a system that is ruled by the male; they are considered the head and have authority
over women and children. Basically it is the dominance of men in the cultural
and social system.

Feminism:

This
is a social theory or political movement which argues that legal and social
restriction on women must be removed in order to bring ‘equality’ to both sexes
in all aspect of public and private life but in truth clamours for female
dominance as opposed to male dominance.

Ripple Effect:

In
sociology, ripple effect means how social interactions can affect situations
that are not directly related to the initial interaction, and
in charitable activities where information can be disseminated and passed from
community to community to broaden its impact

References

Anonymous
(2017, January 5). Gender inequality in Nigeria. This Day, Retrieved from https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/01/05/gender-inequality-in-nigeria/

Gregory,
T. (2017, September 14). Gender inequality in Nigeria. The Sun, Retrieved from http://sunnewsonline.com/gender-inequality-in-nigeria/

Makama,
G. (2013). Patriarchy and gender inequality in Nigeria: the way forward. European Scientific Journal June 2013
edition vol.9, No.17 PDF file, Retrieved from https://eujournal.org/index.php/esj/article/view/1161/1177

News
breaker Publishers (2015, September 29). Gender inequality in Nigeria. Newsbreaker, Retrieved from http://newsbreakers.ng/gender-inequality-in-nigeria/

Ipadeola,
P. (2014). Public/Private Dichotomy in Pre-Colonial Yoruba Society and Gender
Inequality in Sports in Contemporary Africa: Towards a Conscious Gender
Neutralisation in Contemporary Sports. Middle-East
Journal of Scientific Research 22 (8) PDF file, retrieved from https://www.idosi.org/mejsr/mejsr22(8)14/8.pdf

Maria,
R. (1990). Women in Pre-colonial Nigeria. African
Postcolonial Literature in English, retrieved from http://www.postcolonialweb.org/nigeria/precolwon.html