Read NIGERIA'S FIRST REPORT text version







APRIL 2004



1.1 Nigeria is a West African country with a population of about 120 million and an annual growth rate of 2.8% spread over 350 ethnic groups and two major religions ­ Islam and Christianity. The Country is divided into 36 States with a Federal Capital Territory and 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The States are grouped into six geopolitical zones as shown in the table below:

N igeria - Six Geopolitical Zones

S o k o to

Za m f a r a K e bb i

K at s i na K a no

J i ga w a

Y obe

B orn o


K a du na N i ge r B au c h i Go m b e


A da m aw a Kw a r a O yo E k it i O s un O gu n La go s O nd o E do En u g u An a m b r a E b o n y i



F CT N as s ara w a

P la t e a u


Ta r a b a K og i B en ue

T o t a l P o p u l a t io n - 1 2 4 m ill io n ( a p p o x )

D e lt a

I mo A b ia

C r o s s R iv e r A k w a I bom 2 00 400 Mi l e s

N o rt h W e s t

N o rt h E a s t

N o rt h C e n t ra l

S o u th W e st

S o u th S o u th

So ut h Eas t

B a y e l s a R iv e r s 200 0


NIGERIA'S GEOPOLITICAL ZONES Name of Zone South West South East South-South States within the Geopolitical Zone

Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo Asia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Rivers North Central Benue, FCT, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau North East Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe North West Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa,, Zamfara


1.3 The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development was created in 1999 by the present administration from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development established in 1995. However, on April 21 2004, the Youth Development Department was moved to the Presidency, leaving the Ministry with the new name, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. The Ministry's mandate is to advance the cause of Nigerian women and children and is therefore responsible for the formulation of policy guidelines, programme planning and execution and the provision of specialized services on the needs and aspirations of Nigerian women and children. 1.4 Nigeria endorsed the outcome of all four United Nations World Conferences on Women since 1975 including the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (NFLS) in 1985 and participated at the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women and thereafter committed herself to the promotion of gender equality. In this regard and for the purpose of evolving grassroots participation in the implementation of the Platform for Action (PFA), the States Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development were created in the thirty-six (36) States of the Federation and a Women's Department in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. 1.5 These State Ministries in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs work towards translating the Beijing PFA into local action for the benefit of Nigerian women. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs ­ the National Women Machinery - is the main source for operationalizing gender mainstreaming, which is one of the strategies for achieving the national development goals of gender equality and equity. And as part of the new mechanisms for gender mainstreaming, the Ministry has identified Gender Desk Officers in line Ministries and Agencies. 1.6 In achieving its mandate, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs collaborates with government, non-governmental and international organizations in programmes development and implementation. Collaboration with government Agencies involves line Ministries and Parastatals concerned with women development and these have yielded various interactive initiatives. Similarly, the Ministry works with various UN Agencies and organs such as the World Bank, UNDP, UNIFEM, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNECA, UNIDO, WHO, ILO, etc. whose technical and financial assistance have been of tremendous help in executing the Ministry's functions with regards to women.


1.7 It must be acknowledged that other agencies, particularly Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have pursued the empowerment of women at different levels, benefiting from the impetus provided by the various Conventions and Treaties signed by Nigeria. They have subsequently remained active and have played a catalytic role in the implementation of the Beijing PFA and the African Plan of Action (APA). 1.8 As a follow up to the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, the PFA was simplified and translated into some widely spoken Nigerian languages and distributed nationwide. National, Zonal and State post Beijing workshops were held based on each critical area of concern to facilitate greater grassroots understanding and participation in the implementation of the PFA. The Beijing +5 Outcome Document was also distributed to all State Ministries of Women Affairs and was later discussed extensively at the meeting of all Directors of Women Affairs during the 2001 Annual National Council of Women Affairs and Youth Development. Programmes were developed and implemented in line with the needs of the States. 2. Introduction 2.1 The Constitutional obligations for the promotion and protection of the rights of women are basically found in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The rights of women can be categorized into those rights that are personal to women, such as the right to safe maternity, to adequate health-care etc., those rights that women have by nature of being human beings, and those rights that are written down in legal instruments that may or may not be specific to women. 2.2 The natural laws that women derive by their human nature are found in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Strictly speaking, a woman who has reason to believe that her right has been violated can sue for the violation of that right. For example, if a widow is subjected to inhuman treatment, she can sue for the violation of her human dignity or in cases of disinheritance, violation of the right to freedom from discrimination. The facts however do not support this position of law as other issues of access such as access to courts, access to finances, access to services arise which rob women of enjoyment of these rights. 2.3 The International obligations for the promotion and protection of the rights of women arise from Nigeria's commitment to various instruments. The most important of these instrument today for Nigerian women are the Convention on


the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Nigeria signed in 1985, ratified in 1989 and its Optional Protocol adopted in 1999, the Beijing Platform for Action, the African Plan of Action and the Beijing +5 Outcome Documents. The CEDAW document needs to be domesticated into our local laws for women to benefit from its protection. 2.4 The present government's political commitments to gender equity are commendable, though slow in process. With the advent of a transition from military to civilian rule, the issue of women's marginalization from formal sphere of decision-making has come to the fore with renewed vigour. Women organizations have engaged in various forms of gender activism, including advocacy, mobilization, sensitisation, rallies, consensus-building, coalitionbuilding etc. around issues that span constitutional reform, such as, the multiple forms of violence against women, engendering public policy, to mention but a few.

3. 3.1

What has been done Policies

3.1.1 A National Policy on Women approved at the highest level of government and adopted in July 2000 provides for affirmative action to increase to 30 percent the total women representation in the executive and legislative arms of Government as well as the political party hierarchies. It contains goals, objectives and implementation strategies in eleven sectors of women's lives. Sectoral comments are in the areas of education, science and technology, health, employment, agriculture, industry, environment, legal reforms and legislative protection, social services, politics and decision-making, media relation and publicity. 3.1.2 The policy is another expression of government's commitment to the development of all sectors of the population and to the institutionalisation of processes, which will pilot the Nigerian society towards social equity, justice and a much-improved quality of life. The policy is a direct activity of Section 17; subsection 2 Chapter II of the Constitution, which desires equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law for every citizen. 3.1.3 Other policies that impact on women's lives are the Population Policy, the Food and Nutrition Policy, the Water Policy, the Policy on Nutrition and Household Food Security, National Adolescent Health Policy, the Women in


Agriculture Policy, Women Education Policy, Reproductive Health Policy, National Policy on Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (1998), the National Poverty Eradication Programme, Transport Policy, Policy for Development, Unity, Progress and Self-reliance all of which have the power to impact positively on women and girls' rights if well implemented. 4. Legislations

4.1 Legislations exist which aim to protect and promote the rights of women. Most of these protections are found in the Penal Laws - the Criminal Code and the Penal Code. Some examples are the penalization of rape, trafficking in women and girls, sexual assault. The penalties however, most times trivialize the gravity of the offences. 4.2 The dangers inherent in most legislation however are that more often than not they are double-edged swords cutting those they seek to protect. For instance, the practice not supported in the language of the laws is the refusal to grant women their children allowances off their taxable income. 5. Administrative Steps Taken

5.1 Administrative steps taken that would protect or promote the rights of women include: i. The establishment of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as catalyst for the promotion of gender equality and equity and monitoring of the implementation of women's issues ii. The establishment of organizations such as the National Human Rights Commission with a female Rapporteur to further strengthen the legal protection of women, Legal Aid Council and the Public Complaints Commission all of which are yet to be fully tapped into as useful resources for women The existence of Gender Desk Officers in some key Ministries and Agencies, e.g. Education, Agriculture, Health, Information, Employment Labour and Productivity, Civil Service Commission, National Planning Commission, etc.






Women and Poverty

6.1.1 In Nigeria, women's continued reduced access to increasingly scarce resources remains a major cause of the feminisation of poverty. They are particularly affected by the fierce competition over scarce resources, in particular, land and the means of livelihood. This has led to an increase in female-headed households struggling to survive, with very little capacity to take advantage of the new economic opportunities. 6.1.2 Nigerian women account for more than 60% of the agricultural labour force, contribute up to 80% of the total food production but only 27% of the micro credit provided by Community Banks and NAPEP are accessible to them. Also 27% of women have benefited form loans at low interest rates and waiver of collateral. Measures put in place to ensure women's economic and social empowerment include: · Establishment of skills acquisition centres in all the states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja · Pilot projects on Modern Bee farming in 10 States by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA) in collaboration with International first Aid Society (IFAS), · National Economic Policy engendered and targets set for women's economic advancement; · Initiation of accounting for women's work in the GDP by National Planning Commission · Advocacy and sensitisation workshops and training have been carried out towards engendering National Budget · Establishment of micro-enterprise programmes which have more potential in generating re-investable resources and sustainability. · Most banks have designed their bank loan system to accommodate the needs of women entrepreneurs 6.1.3 As part of government's effort to integrate gender perspective into poverty eradication policies, Nigerian women have been identified as key role players in the implementation of the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). The Ministry of Women Affairs is the focal point for women's participation and partnership. The VVF patients often ostracized by their husbands


and families are trained and provided grants for economic independence, which facilitates their reintegration into the society. 6.2 Women Education and Training

6.2.1 The literacy Gender Parity Index (LGPI) remains about 0.8%. Although the women adult literacy rate declined from 44 to 41%, only little progress has been made in eliminating the wide gender gap. Further desegregation of the literacy figures on zonal, sectoral and age-wise show consistently higher literacy rates for males. The higher the education level, the less the percentage of girls compared to boys. The gender gap in educational enrolment is higher in the Northern States with average of about 21% and 1.8% in the Southern States. 6.2.2 Nevertheless progress has been achieved in women's and girls education and training at all levels and measures taken to remove gender biases from education and training. In most of the Northern States, laws have been enacted to discourage withdrawal of girls from school for marriage. Some schools are established specifically for girls and some serve mid-day meals to encourage girls' attendance in the school. About 70% of the Northern States provide scholarship at all levels for female students. The girl-child education and the adult and non-formal education programmes are still in operation in all the States. 6.2.3 Furthermore, in its effort to reverse the decline in the quality of education, the government launched Universal Basic Education (UBE) to provide free and compulsory education at both primary and junior secondary levels. This measure has encouraged girl-child education in the country. Donor agencies (UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNFPA and others) have played important roles in supporting the betterment of women's education, especially at primary and secondary levels. They also support training on gender awareness in all areas and aspects of life. 6.3 Women and Health

6.3.1 Nigeria's population growth going through demographic transition was fuelled by a high fertility rate of 5.2 in 2002. The population size is largely influenced by individual's reproductive behaviour such as higher value placed on male children. Nearly two thirds (64%) of births are considered "high risk", that is having a child too young before 18 years of age; two old after 34 years of age, too close together, less than 24 months apart, too many when birth order is 4 and above. All these contribute to a high infant mortality rate of 75 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality rate of 140 per 1000. Government's efforts through


provision of (most of the time) free family planning service have not yielded expected results. 6.3.2 HIV/AIDS epidemic has assumed centre stage in Nigeria with 5.9% median prevalence rate at the national level (2002). The rapid progression of the pandemic is having a devastating impact on the healthcare system, households and the economy. There is still considerable variation across zones and States. The pandemic is influenced by social and economic factors, which include lack of information, illiteracy, poverty, polygamy and low status of women in the society. In view of the patriarchal system, women are often less able to negotiate safe sex due to their lower status, economic dependence, fear of violence and fear of insisting on safe sex practices.

Key population Indicators in Nigeria Total population in millions Contraceptive prevalence rate Unmet need prevalence rate Total fertility rate Girls 15 ­19 who are mothers Crude birth rate per 1000 Infant mortality rate per 1000 Under ­ 5 mortality rate per 1000 Life expectancy at birth (male) Life expectancy at birth (female)

Federal Ministry of Health 2002

118 9% 18% 5.2 22% 41 75 140 52 53

6.3.3 A National Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (NACA) with membership drawn from the executive, legislature and judiciary was put in place by the Federal Government to create awareness on the scourge. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs is a key member of the Committee. The Committee is also replicated at the State and Local Government levels. The Ministry conducts training for cadres of HIV/AIDS prevention and counselling. Efforts have been made to socialize condom usage, creating awareness through the mass media and distributing brochures. NGOs also are conducting same. 6.3.4 Government has taken some measures on adolescent health by approving the National Curriculum on Sexuality Education. There are also a number of policies in the health sector that are relevant to reproductive health. Foremost among these


is the National Health Policy and Strategy (1988, 1998) which emphasizes Primary Health Care as the key to the development of the Health Care Delivery System in Nigeria. 6.3.5 The government also provides pap-smear tests and encourages breast selfexamination for all women for detecting and preventing reproductive illnesses. Several NGOs are advocating both activities. The mass media is playing a role in informing people of issues related to women's reproductive health and some provide hotline services. 6.3.6 The Federal Government formulated the National Food and Nutrition Policy in Nigeria to deal with major nutritional problems with a view to reducing under nutrition, especially among children, women and the aged, and in particular severe and moderate malnutrition among under-fives by 30% by the year 2010; reduce micronutrient deficiencies, particularly Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD), Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) and Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) by 50% 0f the current levels by the year 2010. 6.3.7 Despite the increased attention, the health of women is undermined by multiple factors, which include lack of access to health services in the sparsely populated areas where they live, inadequate sanitation and nutrition and low levels of education and information. Harmful Traditional Practices continue to plague the health of women compounded by violence. Essential obstetrics care remains insufficient. Maternal mortality rates are still unacceptably high, that is, 704 per 100,000 live births. 6.4 Discrimination and Violence Against Women

6.4.1 Violence against women is a multifaceted problem and its manifestation is varied, perpetrated by the State, community and family members. Nigerian women are discriminated against and this is institutionalised in patriarchal ideologies, repressive laws and age-old customs, which manifest in poverty, the high rate of female mortality and the increase in various forms of violence. This include rape, forced pregnancy, kidnapping and sexual torture, maiming, acid bath, dowry related violence, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women. Sexual harassment and intimidation at work often reported but not documented, trafficking in women, violent nature of Nigeria politics, etc., are widely recognized acts of violence against women. The `family' is the prime place where most of the crimes are committed.


6.4.2 Inadequate understanding of the root causes of all forms of violence against women and girls hinders efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls. There is lack of comprehensive programmes dealing with the perpetrators, including programmes, where appropriate, which would enable them solve problems without violence. Inadequate data on violence further impede informed policy making and analysis. 6.4.3 The phenomena of women trafficking and child labour migration have manifested in the society. The causes can be attributed to economic, social, political and demand factors. Although, women experience the effects of trafficking individually, there are wider implications for all women in terms of violation of human rights, image, health, confidence and self-development. 6.4.4 Even though there are no manifest discriminatory practices against women in recruitment and employment, the reality is that Nigerian women are far from enjoying equal rights in the labour market. For instance, though there is no disparity in taxation for male and female workers, due to the patriarchal nature of the society, women are subjected to proof of their custodianship of children and dependants. This is based on the misconception that women are not breadwinners and therefore not responsible for the maintenance of children and their family at large. 6.4.5 Another evidenced discrimination is in the employment of male and female in that spouses and families of men in management levels are entitled to medical treatment sponsored by the employers while the same treatment is not applicable to spouses and families of women in the same management level. There is also gender discrimination in the appointment to strategic and sensitive positions in sectors like immigration, armed and national security forces, peacekeeping operations, international postings, protocol duties and appointments into presidential committees. 6.4.6 Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees every male and female the same fundamental rights; but certain legal provisions and procedures tend to undermine this equality. Some of these are: · Section 353 and 360 of the Criminal Code Act (CCA), of Southern Nigeria make indecent assaults on females a lesser offence (misdemeanour) while similar assaults on males are felonies.


· Section 55 of the Northern Nigeria Penal Code (PC) allows for chastisement of the wife by her husband. · Nigeria's Evidence Law requires corroboration in sexual offences. It is well known that all sexual offences except indecent assault have women and girls as victims · Procedurally, the Criminal Justice System is not protective of women victims of sexual offences. This has given rise to low reporting and prosecution of sexual offences 6.4.7 In view of government's inability to provide adequate protection for victims of violence, the onus for alleviating violence falls on the shoulders of NGOs. What further makes it difficult to provide such adequate protection is the insufficient data due to lack of research on the causes and consequences of violence within and outside the home further made more difficult with nonreporting and proper documentation of incidences. 6.4.8 There has been increased awareness of and commitments to preventing and combating violence against women by women organizations and NGOs. Crisis and counselling centres have been established and some women organizations and NGOs have provided support services to women victims of violence. Progress is being made particularly regarding the more general acceptance of the existence of discrimination and violence against women and the raising of the awareness in the society. It is however certain that much needs to be done to prevent the problems, to change mentalities, to strengthen women and for the proper implementation of the law and the protection of the victims. Other measures taken to eliminate discrimination and violence against women include acts like the following: a. Very recently, the court of Appeal amply demonstrated its competence and effectiveness by declaring three customs in Enugu and Anambra States as discriminatory against women and violating of women's rights and human dignity b. Passing of the Act legislating against Trafficking in Women and Children c. Establishment of a National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking of Persons and Other Related Matters. d. Existence of safe houses for victims of domestic and sexual violence in 3 States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) representing about 16.2 percent of the States of the Federation.


e. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development initiated the establishment of Gender Desks at all the Police Stations in the country. However, due to financial constraints no monitoring visits have been implemented; f. Police Officers have been sensitized and awareness created on the Beijing Platform for Action, African Plan of Action and CEDAW at a 2-day national workshop held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; g. Legislative measures criminalizing the practices of Harmful Traditional Practices including widowhood practices and Female Genital Mutilation; h. Legislations prohibiting early marriage (Kebbi, Niger States); Retention in schools and Against withdrawal of Girls from schools (Kano, Borno, Gombe and Bauchi States); i. The Federal Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing and taking steps to repeal penal code provisions and other related laws that discriminate against women. The FMWA after due consultation with other stakeholders submitted interventions in the following areas: · Wife chastisement; · Wife inheritance; · Wife succession and property inheritance j. Establishment of Legal Aid Council by the FMWA, which provides free legal counsel to women; k. Setting up of Family Law Centres in some States By coalition of NGOs and CBOs to assist aggrieved women in the pursuit of their rights in the law courts; l. The results of the National Survey on Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) conducted by the FMWA in conjunction with United Nations Development System have provided data for legislations to review such practices. Also a National Baseline Survey on Vesico Vaginal Fistula is currently in progress. m. A Bill on Domestic Violence Against Women submitted to the National Assembly by a group of NGOs supported by FMWA is receiving attention; n. A national women's rally demanding zero tolerance for violence against women for the 2003 general elections was held in 2002; o. A National Coalition on violence against women was formed by eleven NGOs with the major objective of identifying trends, issues, forms and prevalence of violence against women in Nigeria. It is with a view to harnessing resources and individual initiatives to address the problem. The Coalition has its designated focal points for information spread across the country.


6.4.9 Despite these gains, socio-cultural attitudes, which are discriminatory and economic inequalities reinforce women's subordinate place in society. A coordinated multidisciplinary approach to responding to violence, which includes the health system, work places, the media, the education system, and the justice system, is still limited. 6.4.10 In January 2004, Nigeria defended her 4th and 5th CEDAW Periodic Report in New York before the 23-Member Committee on CEDAW. The Nigeria delegation to the defence meeting was lead by the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Youth Development. The CEDAW Committee commended Nigeria for the detailed combined report, which adhered to the guidelines for report writing and appreciated her numerous efforts in implementing the provisions of CEDAW within a challenging multi-sociocultural environment. 6.5 Women and Armed Conflict

6.5.1 Peace is inextricably linked to equality between women and men and development. In recent times, Nigeria has witnessed armed conflict and other types of conflict continue to cause serious obstacles to the advancement of women. One of the manifestations of systematic violence against women has been in times of ethnic and civil conflicts, where women and girls are among the most vulnerable. References can be made to the Odi, Sagamu, Ogoni, Ife-Modakeke, Zaki-Biam clashes, repression of women's protests in oil-producing Niger-Delta region, oil-pipe bunkering and vandalization and other inter ethnic and religious crises. 6.5.2 Displacement compounded by loss of home and property, poverty, family disintegration and separation and other consequences of ethnic/civil conflicts is severely affecting the population, especially women and children. Even though women are discriminated against, no one disputes their capabilities and strengths, particularly at the time of crisis, to renew life. 6.5.3 The FMWA has at various occasions advocated that human rights should be made the focus of Nigeria's political agenda. It continuously calls and demands for harmony by all parties, to be more patient and to restrain from armed violence in order to create a secure environment and reduce military interventions into civil problems.



Women and Economy

6.6.1 The participation of women in the labour force is constrained both by their generally inferior educational status and by what appears to be discrimination against them. Women's full and equal rights to own land and other properties are not recognized yet in legislation. The importance of a gender perspective in the development of a macro-economic policy is gradually being integrated into the economic system. Many women still work in the rural areas and the informal economy as subsistence producers and in the service sector with low levels of income, little job and non-existent social security. 6.6.2 In Nigeria, women's contributions to the economy are rarely acknowledged because of discrimination and gender inequality. The failure to acknowledge their contributions perpetuates and reinforces barriers to their equal rights to access economic goods and services. The present economic situation has worsened the existing obstacles to development, aggravating the feminisation of poverty. National and State budgets are still largely gender-blind. However various measures have been put in place to improve women's economic status, which includes: i. The newly introduced National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) policy that provides for effective integration of gender equality into its process. The NEEDS policy requires that gender equality and a gender perspective is mainstreamed in planning and budgeting processes, as well as adequate financing of specific programmes for securing equality between men and women The ratification of ILO Convention No. III concerning the prohibition of discrimination in women's working status and position. Both the Government and NGOs have issued a pocket book containing labour rights so that women workers are treated equally. Despite this, discrimination is still found in many States of the Federation. Women in Power and Decision-making



6.7.1 Despite general acceptance of the need for a gender balance in decisionmaking bodies at all levels, a gap between de jure and de facto equality has persisted; only very little improvement in the level of involvement of women in decision-making and still a long way to go to the minimum 30% limit. There is however token representation in the political sphere, indicating a gradual


improvement from what obtained about two decades ago. For instance, at the 1985 national election there was one female out of 95 Senators; in 1999, three female Senators out of 109 and 12 female Members of House of Representatives out of 360. 6.7.2 Nigeria women are slowly making their presence felt in politics and decision-making. At the 2003 general elections, there were two female presidential candidates out of 30. With the outcome of the general elections two female Deputy Governors (Osun and Ogun States) emerged out of 36 States; 3 female Senators out of 109 with improvement at the House of Representatives, which now has 24 female members out of 360. In Ogun State, the only female member of the State House of Assembly is the Speaker of the House. As in the last government, there are 6 appointed female cabinet ministers, with two of them manning the Federal Ministry of Finance. An action worth noting is that in Enugu State, there is an existing law that there must be at least a female member of the State House of Assembly (See table below for summary of women's representation). Table of Women's Representation in 1999 and 2003 General Elections S/N Position No of Available Seats 1 109 360 36 990 No of Women & No of Women & % of Total in % of Total in 1999 2003 0% 0% 3 2.8% 3 2.8% 12 3.3% 23 6.4% 12 0% 1.2% 0% 3.8%

1 2 3 4 5

Presidency Senate House of Representatives Governorship State Houses of Assembly

Source: INEC Elections 2003

6.7.3 The percentage of women receiving honour and heroism awards is only 5% and in the armed forces there are about 9% women representation. In addition to the Ministry's effort in pursuing policies and programmes aimed at according women their full rights to participate in the economic, social and political affairs of the nation, other bodies set up towards the advancement of women include: · The establishment of a National Action Committee on Women in Politics (NACWIP) charged with the responsibility of mainstreaming


women into active political participation through advocacy, mobilization and fund raising activities · Establishment of the National Consultative and Coordinating Committee (NCCC) made up of gender experts and NGOs, and also the National Technical Team of Experts (NTTE) comprising Gender Desk Officers from sectoral ministries and agencies. They are to monitor the implementation of CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action and African Plan of Action and ensure gender mainstreaming in all sectors. Due to financial constraints, the two bodies are yet to be replicated at the States level · The National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC) with a Special Rapporteur on women and child rights attesting to promotion and protection of women's rights; 6.7.4 The summary of women elected and appointed into political decisionmaking as at 2003 is as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. 6 Female Ministers 9 Female Presidential Assistants 2 Female Presidential Advisers 3 Female in a 109 Member Senate 24 Female in 360 Member House of Representatives 38 Female in the 36 States' Houses of Assembly 5 Female Ambassadors out of 86 2 Female Deputy Governors out of 36

6.7.5 However, compared to the situation four years ago, more women have been appointed into Committees and Boards as well as the judicial and executive arms of government, particularly as political advisers and Assistants. This is the result of aggressive lobbying, advocacy and sensitization by women organizations that have been critically involved in influencing decision making in political and public life at both the national and community levels. Donor Agencies and NGOs were also engaged in strengthening political institutions as well as providing support for women's involvement in politics. 6.7.6 The initiatives and programmes aimed at women's increased participation in decision-making are being hindered by: · Entrenched harmful cultural and religious attitudes and practices


Violent nature of politics Patriarchal political system/Male preference in politics Misconceptions about women in politics and public life Disadvantaged economic status of women Religious leaders still provide powerful constraints Lack of human and financial resources for training and advocacy for political careers · Community efforts to empower women in politics are still inadequate. 6.8 Institutional Mechanism for the Advancement of Women

· · · · · ·

6.8.1 As stated earlier, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the national gender machinery is situated at the highest level of Government and replicated in all the 36 States of the Federation. With the approval of the National Policy on Women, the FMWA has been working towards securing sectoral commitment to the implementation of the policy and gradual institutionalisation process of mainstreaming gender. These include the establishment of Sectoral Gender Desk Officers, the introduction of Women in Development (WID) Officers at the 774 Local Government Areas to facilitate co-ordination of women's development across the sectors. 6.8.2 The National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), a Parastatal under the FMWA has also contributed to gender studies in the country. Its present effort is geared towards generating indicators for monitoring; sex-desegregated data, policy analysis, and qualitative and quantitative studies of gender equality. 6.8.3 Constraints · Inadequate budgetary allocation; · There is still lack of awareness among sectoral ministries in terms of the importance of development that are gender sensitive; · Monitoring and supervision systems have not worked due to lack of funds and ignorance of development sectors of their responsibilities · The number of technical analysts in every sector who understand gender equality development is insufficient; 6.8.4 Inadequate financial and human resources are the main obstacles confronting the Federal/State Ministries of Women Affairs and WID officers that could advance the cause of women. This is further exacerbated by lack of gender disaggregated data and insufficient understanding of gender equality and gender


mainstreaming among government structures. The sectoral ministries are equally affected. Even though about 80% of the sectoral partners are seen to be implementing the National Policy on Women, only about 5% of these partners have informally entrenched gender mainstreaming in their programmes. 6.8.5 The FMWA in her effort to promote sectoral responsibilities for gender equality and equity meets with sectoral representatives especially the officers who participated at the ECA Abuja and Tangiers, Morocco training. In view of the current multi-sectoral approach towards effective implementation of gender development programmes, the membership of the group was expanded for a wider reach to relevant sectors. The new composition is as follows: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. xi. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA) Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMA&RD) Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) Federal Ministry of Education (FME) Federal Ministry of Industry (FMI) Federal Ministry of Commerce (FMC) Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (FMINO) Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity (FMEL&P) National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) Civil Service Commission (CSC) National Planning Commission (NPC) National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)

6.8.6 The challenges encountered in executing the monitoring and evaluation programme by sectoral partners are as follows: · Lack of capacity building · Members comprise of officers with insufficient gender expertise and without authority for decision-making within the public sector · Lack of political will · Lack of funds 6.8.7 In view of the above challenges, the Committee recommended the following as the way forward:


· Advocacy/Sensitization visits to leadership of sectoral partners to garner political commitment and support · Regular meeting of partners to share experiences and best practices · Capacity building for staff of FMWA and sectoral representatives · Ensure integration of gender awareness into sectoral programmes or activities by providing a thirty to sixty minutes talk on gender concepts and mainstreaming. This is a means of breaking the ice · Ensure continuity of roles for Gender Desk Officers through proper briefing and documentation of reports · Involve Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (FMINO) in all sectoral programmes for promotion of awareness and sensitization · Replicate the National Sectoral Committee at the State and Local Government levels 6.8.8 Greater efforts will be needed to sensitize policy makers so that gender impact analysis is incorporated into the development of economic and social policies. **Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Organogram attached.


Human Rights of Women

6.9.1 While there is an increasing acceptance of gender equality, discriminatory legislation as well as harmful traditional and customary practices continue to cause a threat to the enjoyment of women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Some of the constraints are: · The ratification of some international conventions are not known or understood by law officers and their agents, hence they are less sensitive to the application of women's legal protection; · The implementation of monitoring mechanisms for ratified conventions has been ineffective · Many policy makers assume that training on gender equality perception is only for women · Powerful socio-cultural values that have not been adapted to the modernized era.


6.10 Women and the Media 6.10.1 The number of women in decision-making positions in publishing firms is about 17.8% with more in the private sector. Bias against women remains in the media. Negative, violent and/or degrading images of women, including pornography, stereotyped portrayals etc. have increased in different forms, using new communication technologies in some instances. Poverty, illiteracy, the lack of access and opportunities, lack of computer literacy and language barriers, prevent a lot of women from using the information and communication technologies, including the Internet. 6.11 Women and the Environment 6.11.1 The Government supports gender perspectives in programmes related to environment, but not much has been achieved. The FMWA and some organizations have progressively criticized actions that damage the environment. There is still a lack of public awareness about environmental risks faced by women and of the benefits of gender equality for promoting environmental protection. Women's limited access to technical skills, resources and information, in particular in rural areas due to among others gender inequality, have impeded women's involvement/effective participation in decision-making regarding the sustainable environment. 6.12 The Girl Child 6.12.1 The increased awareness of the needs of the girl child has not yet resulted in sufficient provision of necessary information and services. Despite the legal protection, there is increased sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of the girl child. The girl child continues to be faced with harmful traditional practices and attendant problems such as early marriage often leading to Vesico Vaginal Fistulae (VVF). 6.12.2 The survival and full development of the Nigerian child appear far from being realized with increased rate of violation of the right of the child to life, education, health, and good nutrition with the attendant poverty and high morbidity and mortality rates. The emerging issues of HIV/AIDS scourge, child labor, trafficking and prostitution, increasing conflicts and excruciating impact of the debt burden on the nation's economy combined to threaten the future of the Nigerian child. With the domestication of the Child's Rights Convention, it is believed that the future of the Nigeria children would be better, especially with the


recent measures taken by the government to specifically address the girl child. The measures include: · The Revised National Policy on Education (1998) encourages girls to embrace technical education; · The Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, though not restricted to girls, provides for compulsory education for all children from primary to junior secondary school level. It has special emphasis on dismantling cultural and other militating factors to girls' education plus incentives for girls' education. · States' laws and edicts on development of the girl child; · States' laws against girls' withdrawal from school for marriage. · Establishment of States Task Forces for development and promotion of the welfare of the girl-child; · Establishment of Unity Schools for girls in each State of the Federation. 6.12.3 Vibrant NGOs have also sprung up to address the needs of the girl-child particularly the handicapped and vulnerable children. 6.13 The Youth 6.13.1 Today, due to poverty, many Nigerian youth are unemployed, underempowered, disillusioned, poor and often willing to attempt taking their destiny in their own hands. As a result, the society has become witnesses to a new culture of religious and ethnic violence, cultism in schools, a rising tide of armed robbery, disrespect for constituted authority, etc. The youth that are the foundation of any society, the very population who must define the future, are impatient, restive and yet are eager to become useful even against all odds as members of the wider society. 6.13.2 To reduce this problem, a National Youth Summit was held in February 2001, which evolved new National Youth Policy addressing prevailing youth issues in line with United Nations and Commonwealth Youth Policy standards. 7. Challenges

7.1 The following summary of persistent or new challenges constitute a national framework for the identification of further actions and initiatives to overcome obstacles and to achieve the full implementation of equality.


a. Changing values and attitudes within Nigeria society and public life that perpetuate systemic discrimination against women; b. Insensitivity on the part of policy-makers to gender issues c. Low-level participation of women in decision-making d. Combating the spread of HIV/AIDS e. Institutionalising gender mainstreaming strategy broadly within government f. Misconception and non-acceptance of affirmative action as a strategy to enhance women's participation in decision-making at all levels g. The high proportion of women and youth who are living in situations of absolute poverty h. Improvement in the data collection systems to provide gender sensitive indicators in all sectors i. Gender training and sensitisation for all parliamentarians and policy makers'


Emerging Trends a. The need for the involvement of women at various government policymaking levels has been recognized by all b. Strengthening intersectoral linkages c. CSOs and NGOs are being recognized as key stakeholders in the development process of the country d. Collaborative efforts between governments, CSOs and NGOs in addressing political, social and economic issues related to women are taking place e. Data desegregating on gender perspective is being accepted as an essential act at National and State levels for a more gender balanced planning f. The need for more women professionals is being recognized.

9. · · · ·


Absence of total political commitment for women's development; The absence of gender desegregated data and limited training in data collection; Lack of capacity building; Very low budgetary allocation to both the National and State Women's Machinery; · The inadequate sensitisation of the male populace; · The lack of awareness of and commitment to gender issues generally;


· The inter-ministerial committee lacks the effectiveness required for the implementation of agreed actions because members are often not at a level of authority necessary to influence the decision-making process in their ministries; · The level of violence against women, hinders their participation as peace builders 10. Conclusion

10.1 Despite the constraints and challenges, significant strides have been achieved, but there is still much to be done to implement the actions specified in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Commonwealth Plan of Action for gender equality. Progress is slow, but with the new structures in place to realize the goals of gender equality and equity, Nigeria remains committed to helping her women realize their full human rights and an enhanced quality of life.




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