Inequality in terms of power relations between men and women is a subject of immense concern for scholars and researchers. This is because inequality persists in spite of policies designed to ensure women’s empowerment. Women are seen as deputies of men today, they are still being forced into prostitution, marriage, hard labor, and terrorism. Women and young girls are kidnapped and denied educational opportunities. Although, the economic status of men and women are similar in the world of work in the twenty-first century, yet, it is still not equal as some women receive lower employment incomes than men and they carry out a larger share of unpaid work in the home (Ponthieux and Meurs, 2015). Women are sometimes prevented from accessing employment opportunities due to their susceptibility to maternity leave among others. It is quite unfortunate that these incidences are recorded in the 21st century in spite of an enormous number of women who have distinguished themselves in different fields of endeavor over the years.
Indeed, discrimination against women in Nigeria manifests within and outside the home. For instance, a significant number of women in Nigeria, which might include highly placed women, are exposed to domestic violence. At the social level, especially with regard to the ongoing democratic dispensation, fewer women are nominated for political appointments. According to Ejumudo (2013), laudable efforts have been made in Nigeria to reduce the incidence of gender discrimination in order to ensure gender equality and human dignity. The National Policy on Women was replaced with the National Gender Policy to curb gender inequality problems in Nigeria. However, a carefree attitude to gender variables posed a lot of problems to the policy.
Gender-blind and gender-insensitive orientation of the first two decades of development planning in Nigeria persists to date and is militating against women’s empowerment despite the interest and attention given to women’s empowerment in the millennium development goals and sustainable development goals. The situation of women is worsened in rural areas where negative attitudes and beliefs about women’s participation in socio-economic development are culturally entrenched. Development experts and planners have conceptualized different ways of improving women’s status in society to ensure women’s empowerment at all levels. This is because women’s empowerment is a key to sustainable development (Lohani & Aburaida, 2017; Ajayi & Adebayo, 2022).
The need for women’s empowerment cannot be overemphasized because women are key to sustainable development. Unfortunately, Nigeria is still struggling to achieve sustainable development in spite of the contributions of international multinational, bilateral, and non-governmental organizations to development strides in the country. This is due to the increasing level of poverty, unemployment, and conflict with little or no corresponding growth in basic infrastructure and social amenities (Ajayi & Adebayo, 2022).
Women empowerment epitomized by equal access and rights to economic resources among others as expressed in SDG goal number 5 (Gender equality) is essential for the realization of other sustainable development goals. An investment in the empowerment of women will go a long way in speeding up the process of achieving a series of targets attached to sustainable development.
Ajayi, O.A; and Adebayo, A. (2022). Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. Revista Universitara de Sociologie XVIII (2), 10 -18.
Danjuma, Muhammad, & Alkali (2013). Factors Militating Against Women Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction in African Countries, IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 13 (6), 47-51.
Ejemudo, K.B.O (2013) Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Nigeria: The Desirability and Inevitability of a Pragmatic Approach. Developing Country Studies 3 (4), 60.
Lohani, M; and Aburaida, L. (2017). Women Empowerment: A key to Sustainable Development. The Social Ion 6 (2), 26 – 29.
Ponthieux, S. and Meurs, D. (2015) Gender Inequality. Handbook of Income Distribution 2A: 983. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-444-59428-0.00013-8