Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Skill Acquisition, Capacity Building and Women Economic Empowerment: A Case Study of Women Education Center, Birnin Kebbi

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Skill Acquisition, Capacity Building and Women Economic Empowerment: A Case Study of Women Education Center, Birnin Kebbi

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Lack of vocational training has been considered as the bane of the economy of many African countries particularly Nigeria. The indispensable role of women in any development process calls for eradication of gender related barriers and women empowerment at all levels. This study examined the impact of skill acquisition and capacity building on women economic empowerment with reference to the activities of Women Education Center Birnin Kebbi. A sample of 225 respondents was selected from a population of 452 graduates due to time and cost constraints. A descriptive survey was conducted using a structured interview. Two null hypotheses stated were tested using spearman rank correlation coefficient at 0.05 level of significance. The findings revealed that there is a low positive correlation between skill acquisition and women economic empowerment and a high positive correlation between capacity building and women economic empowerment. However, while the relationship between skill acquisition and women economic empowerment was not significant, the relationship between capacity building and women economic empowerment was significant. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that government should invest more on human capital development particularly on women, increase expenditure on instructional materials and infrastructural facilities at vocational training centers, improve by assisting trainees with capital to start business. Finally, women should be allowed by their guardians to learn functional skills to improve their economic status and avail themselves the opportunity offered by government to get functional skills. This will go a long way in attaining the MDGs.

Introduction

The existence of gender related barriers like cultural beliefs, educational disparities etc affect the economic potential of women and have adverse effect on national development. Evidence has shown that women in African societies have been categorized as inferior to men, their image is built from childhood to be subordinates to men through gender stereotype and myth, and as a result, they are not given equal opportunities with their male counterparts in the public realm. Certain segregations and marginalization still exist in spite of the efforts of United Nation and a number of NGO's on alleviating women discrimination.

For instance, the NGP (2006) states that Nigeria is highly a patriarchal society where men dominate all spheres of life, women are left in a subordinate position particularly at the community and household levels. Yesufu (2000) reports that out of a total potential labour force of 46,091,452 in Nigeria, the male potential labour force was 22,415,777 (49%), while the female potential labour force was 23,675,975, (51%). This means that the number of women who could work and are not working is higher than that of their male counterpart.

Also the Draft Report of Cross River State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (CR-SEEDS) launched in February 2005 reports that, while the male literacy rate in Nigeria was 70%, and that of their female counterpart was 48%. This means that the illiteracy rate of the female sex in Nigeria is higher than that of the males.

This scenario is typical of Birnin Kebbi town where one finds high rate of young girls who drop out of school, divorcees who are illiterates and widows who undergo untold hardship due to lack of economic independence. This has limited the ability of women to contribute maximally to development process.

In realizing the vital contribution of women to national development, government at all levels in the country has over the years put in place various measures aimed at empowering women economically such as Better Life for Rural Women, Family Economic Advancement Program etc. In spite of the above, the state of economic empowerment of women in Nigeria in general and Kebbi State in particular leaves much to be desired. …

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